Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ducks Gameday—Scattered advice from a tired blogger

Vancouver Canucks (35-24-10, 8th in west) at Anaheim Ducks (39-25-8, 4th in west)

Here's how the season series with Vancouver has gone thus far this season:

G1: Ducks allow the first four goals, lose 4-0.
G2: Ducks allow the first three goals, lose 3-2.
G3: Ducks allow the first two goals, lose 2-1.

So how about this time, the Ducks try scoring first (or at least, second)? I've got this wacky theory about the Canucks in that they're damn difficult to come back against when it comes to multi-goal deficits. An early lead might prove fruitful. It's sort of an untested theory at this point, but I'd sure like to see the Ducks give it a try tonight.

I suppose the Sharks and Stars are the target now, with first round home ice being the reward for catching one of them. I've always thought that home ice advantage was a bit overblown, however, and based on the Ducks' shootout lineup last night, the Anaheim coaching staff thinks so also. Here's the shootout lineup that they threw out there last night, which lost laughingly to Bryzgalov and his Coyote friends.

Todd Bertuzzi I actually did see Bertuzzi score on a breakaway against Nabokov this year, but it was in the same game where he had earlier failed on a penalty shot, so essentially it took him two breakaways to score. Bert's still got some hands, but let's not kid ourselves here. He doesn't willfully take shots during the game, what makes him any sort of candidate for the shootout? Bad call, Carlyle.

Todd Marchant This is wrong on so many levels (on every platform except NHL 07). Todd Marchant gets about 40 breakaways a year and scores on zero of them. He is the king of not scoring on glorious scoring chances (where do you think he got the nickname Stone Hands?), but rather will score goals like we've seen in the last two games: fluky bounce-pucks that leave a brown taste in goaltenders' mouths. Horrible call, Carlyle, especially when Stone Hands dropped the puck halfway to the net. Next time I see Marchant in a shootout, he'd better be the fifteenth shooter.

Chris Pronger Yeah, I think a lot of people saw Pronger in '06 become the first person to score a penalty shot goal in the cup finals, but few are clinging to that memory the way Carlyle is. C'mon, coach. He's wearing a frickin' jaw basket and you think it might be time to hearken back to beating Cam the sham Ward? Rotten call, Carlyle.

Look. The Ducks lose shootouts all the time, and I'm always very cool about it. I know that Anaheim has designed its roster around owning the boards, and thus they regularly seem out of their element in shootouts. And that's cool with me--boardwork wins in the postseason, whereas Dallas, one team that can be associated with shootout success, has yet to win a playoff round since the shootout was invented. Still, last night for the first time I really found myself livid, not necessarily at the shootout result, but rather in the manner and lineup that the Ducks decided to lose it. Since Carlyle took over the team, last night stands as the one time I can think of where the Ducks almost intentionally left standings points on the table. An odd time of the year for those sort of shenanigans, that's for sure.

I'll let it slide, but dear god Carlyle, if that's the shootout strategy, why not just let the opposing coach pick our shooters? Odds are, we'd probably have seen Marchant get stripped of the puck by an imaginary defender in either case.

Maybe more pressing is what I saw in regulation, which certainly was a mixed bag. Here's my advice: Bertuzzi or Weight needs to start firing some pucks on net, or these two have to be separated immediately. They are forming a huge hole on the 2nd line, and that's a huge chunk of salary to be paying guys to do nothing except feed Todd Marchant or Bobby Ryan (who can be double-covered since he's the only one who shoots). Try these top two lines: Bertuzzi-Getzlaf-Selanne and Kunitz-Weight-Ryan. Yeah, it sucks separating Kunitz from Selanne, but Weight and Bertuzzi both need to be played carefully, and frankly I just don't see them being anywhere near productive with each other. Maybe five years ago that duo would have worked, but that was back in an era when these guys willingly shot the puck. Now it's like pulling teeth, and I find both guys frustratingly easy to defend because of it.

Prediction: My dad and brother are at the game tonight, and I am not. Neither of them are particularly hockey fans, so I bet they see a yawner and I get to hear about how boring hockey is for the next six months. Ducks 2, Canucks 1. Goals by Pahlsson and Huskins. The game ends in regulation, causing Carlyle to shelf his alternate shootout lineup of O'Donnell, Sutherby, and May. Feel free to offer your own "worst shootout lineup" suggestion for the Ducks in the comments.

Go Ducks.

17 comments:

RudyKelly said...

I could see where Pronger and Bertuzzi would go, but the fact that Marchant went makes me giggle to no end. It's like he was trying to piss you off. If the Kings went into a shootout and featured a line-up of Handzus, Calder and Blake, I'd be apoplectic.

What would be a good line-up, something like Getzlaf, Ryan, and someone else?

Doogie said...

Was Gigure too busy in the net to take a shot? Jesus Christ.

Earl Sleek said...

What would be a good line-up, something like Getzlaf, Ryan, and someone else?

Unfortunately for the Ducks, there is no really good lineup that I'd be confident in; probably this stems from Burke's unwillingness to get any European forwards, so everyone who shoots is so darn predictable.

I'd say their best shot is somewhere in this foursome: Getzlaf, Selanne, Kunitz, and Ryan (Perry if healthy), though even now I can tell you exactly what two or three of these guys will attempt to do.

Was Giguere too busy in the net to take a shot? Jesus Christ.

Actually, the way Carlyle put together his shooters, I'm surprised he even let Giguere stay in the net. If you're going to throw a shootout like that, you may as well put Pahlsson in the net to further cement a convincing loss.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the way Carlyle put together his shooters, I'm surprised he even let Giguere stay in the net. If you're going to throw a shootout like that, you may as well put Pahlsson in the net to further cement a convincing loss.


We probably could have won is Giguere was shooting and Pahlsson was in net.

Ryan Schnieder

Mike in OC said...

It's kind of funny because when I first found out from the announcers who was shooting for the Ducks I might have had a glimps of what Carlyle was thinking. I thought to myself "can't do much worse than we have done in the past against Phx."

Crap! I hate when I am wrong.

After May's breakaway, here is a potential worse trio.
May, Marchant, and O'donnell

Earl Sleek said...

I thought to myself "can't do much worse than we have done in the past against Phx."

Yeah, I understand that shootouts have always been a pain for the Ducks, and there's bound to be some sort of desperation move, but jeez. Save this for a team that's actually unbeatable, not one that's just proven recently capable against the Ducks.

Maybe Carlyle was just trying to prove a point, though for the life of me I don't know what it is, other than "You want to see some real shootout suckage?"

BTW, Bryzgalov has now won 5 shootouts in his career, all with the 'Yotes. 3 of those wins have come against the inept Ducks, who have managed to score zero shootout goals in eight attempts. The Coyotes, meanwhile, have four goals in six attempts in those shootouts.

spade-in-victorhell said...

another garbage game...RC was too busy match lining..that the might duck forecheck was non-existent..( i know heyward said it later in the game i thought of it first motherfucker)

and whoever plans the PP stragedy needs to be fired...they do the same play every time..and the only shot they get is the middle point shot..they try feeding down low and get block or get shitty shooting angles etc...

and has there been more of an inept team when they have the puck behind the goal (gretzky's office) this goes for 5 on 5 and PP..

i agree also what the fuck is up with the 2nd line..and the shootout shooters....son of a bitch

Earl Sleek said...

I'm actually not that down on the PP. It hasn't scored much lately, but I think that's more a matter of bounces than strategy. My main complaint there is that Carlyle pretends that Pronger & Niedermayer are his only point options, when this team is flooded with capable pointmen.

Again, things would probably improve if more than two guys were willing to actually shoot the puck, but that's a problem that covers more than just the PP.

Maverik said...

I couldn't agree more with your line combinations of
Bertuzzi - Getzlaf - Selanne
Kunitz - Weight - Ryan.

I mean, what the HELL is Ryan doing on the fourth line? Isn't he the "call-up replacement" for Perry? And instead they promote MARCHANT!? I don't know what Carlyle is THINKING sometimes. I've never had any problems with Carlyle's coaching style before -- EVER. I think he's taking that for granted.

There's so much more I could complain about, but I'll spare.

My worst shootout combo -
George Parros, Todd Marchant, Joe DiPenta.

Morbo said...

I hate Bertuzzi with a the fire of a thousand suns. Lazy prick. Never thought I'd see a softer big man than penner.

Am I the only that thinks Sami would be awesome on the shootout? God would distract the opposing goalie with his pink cheeks, and score every time.

MetroGnome said...

Hmmm...how about:

Parros, Mowers, Bruno St. Jacques.

Maverik said...

metrognome - Mowers isn't a Duck anymore. He's playing for SC Bern in the Swiss League.

Earl Sleek said...

Sidebar: Jes at Fanhouse threw together a quick roundtable discussion around the question Can the Ducks repeat?, if any Ducks fans are interested.

I think my contribution represents like 80% of the discussion, so if anyone wants to add on to that, the comments are open over there.

Am I the only one that thinks Sami would be awesome on the shootout?

We're all thinking it, but you're the only one with courage enough to voice that opinion. Seriously, I think he'd be a decent option--I think the shootout generally caters towards European forwards, though I have no real data to back that up.

Daniel said...

As boneheaded as it was to actually PUT Marchant in the real, live, "this is for points" shootout, I found myself thinking of Todd when the shot of Brown writing out the card to hand to the ref. Carlyle was in the picture, so was Marchant. It had a "this is Phoenix, nothing happens in Phoenix" kind of feel. Then when Hayward announced the lineup, I wanted to be in many places at once. Marchant busts his ass in an un-heroing role of keeping George Parros a +0. Name a manly-er man.

Marchant deserved the chance in the shootout, but his own nerves got to him. He should have alley-ooped it and prayed.

If this would have been a come from behind, tie it up effort, they would have had a huge joke about it after.

Phoenix...

Earl Sleek said...

Marchant busts his ass in an un-heroing role of keeping George Parros a +0. Name a manly-er man.

Sammy, but I get your point. Still, I don't think it's proper to try to reward a guy by putting him in a shootout, especially if he's likely to fall on his face in the spotlight.

Heck, let him play when the opponent pulls their goalie, or part of the opening faceoff lineup--that's got to be more of a reward for Marchant than a shootout spot, I'd think.

Shootouts are a free standings point, waiting to be grabbed. I think the stakes are significant enough that there's better places to dole out "good citizen" rewards.

bdub said...

God would distract the opposing goalie with his pink cheeks, and score every time.

It's so true.

Earl Sleek said...

Todd Marchant gets about 40 breakaways a year and scores on zero of them.

Well damn. I suppose this is no longer true. Thanks, Roberto.