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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Ducks Gameday—Stage Five: Acceptance

Round One, Game Five: (5) Dallas Stars at (4) Anaheim Ducks
(DAL leads series 3-1, JavaGeek ‘odds’: DAL 87%)

My roommate and I will be back in Row B tonight to (in my mind, at least) bid farewell to the 2007-08 Anaheim Ducks, who at the very least gave us a lot to talk about this year.

It's really odd how at peace I seem to be with the situation; I certainly would be a lot more agitated if the series were tied. Now instead of nailbiting my way through a game with a series in the balance, tonight's game will fall a bit more into the "foregone conclusion" category. Even if the Ducks win, JavaGeek will still tell me they're bound to lose the series. That gives me the luxury of relaxing and probably enjoying myself a bit more, and I'll take it.

I certainly was much more of a wreck when the Mighty Ducks were down 3 games to 1 against the Oilers two playoffs ago, but back then it seemed a Cup was on the line. Now the Cup is still a ways away, and I dunno, I'm not pining or whining as hard as I used to. I can understand the players being emotionally tired; I'm also emotionally tired. I can understand the players being unfocused; I'm also unfocused. And I'm just a lazy blogger.

So I think I'm going to be pretty loose today; my plan is really to have a blast and enjoy the show, regardless of result. Win or lose, tonight is my send-off party for the Ducks. My chance to yell "One more year!" for Teemu and "Fuck retirement!" to Niedermayer.

Until that final whistle in that final game, they'll still be the champs. Let's see if they can stomp their way out of this one.

Side note to Brian Burke and the rest of Duck management: Pay attention tonight to the crowd at the start of tonight's game and how the players feed off the energy. I know it's desperation playoff time, but it's also a 7:30 pm start, a half hour later than usual, which in SoCal traffic is a gift from heaven. 7 pm start times probably gets the Ducks more east coast viewers, but it kills a lot of us who have to meet up somewhere before going inside. And it really kills the few of us who like to meet up, have a few drinks, then go inside. If I could have one (realistic) wish for the Ducks next year: go back to 7:30 pm start times. Start the game with a fuller house and I think the fans and the team both benefit.

[Late Addition: I totally forgot. I had a post planned last year in the event of an elimination game, and I never had to use it. I have a secret weapon that's good for three straight shutouts, but it's going to be painful: Sammy Pahlsson has to go back to Sweden. In 2003, Patrick Kjellberg left the Ducks mid-playoffs to go to Sweden, and the team responded with three straight shutouts over the Wild. In 2006, Jonathan Hedstrom left the Ducks mid-playoffs to go to Sweden, and the team responded with three straight shutouts, one against the Flames and two against the Avalanche. I hate to see Sammy leave as much as anyone, but that's Burke's fault. He should have been carrying a spare Swede on the roster just for this eventuality.]

Prediction: The Ducks feed off my calmness and decide to re-stress me by winning. Ducks 5, Stars 2. Goals by Selanne, Carter, Moen, Pahlsson, and Parros.

Go Ducks.


brokeyard said...

Parros? Really?

I agree though, after tonight's "we need two goals, but we'll let Dallas have two goals instead" game, I've come to accept that Game 5 is probably the end.

My playoff beard barely had time to grow.

Earl Sleek said...

Aw, why not Parros? If Sutherby can nearly score on a line with Bertuzzi and Weight, I figure anything's possible.

The Puck Kahuna said...

It's a playoff tradition for the people I go to the games with to eat those "hockey Puck" ice cream sandwiches during the second intermission. I sure am going to miss those sandwiches.

Earl Sleek said...

It's going to be shame, too, if DET, SJS, and COL advance. Unlike the last two years, this time it will be the Ducks' turn to blow a postseason Battle of California.

We'll see if there's any Disney miracle comebacks coming, but if not, we'll have to run a poll:

Who would have won an SJS-ANA matchup in 2006? 2007? 2008?

Likely, all we can do is guess.

Bryan said...

My problem is that in 06, at Game 5 of the Edmonton series, I saw a team that proved to be a legitimate cup contender and I had high hopes for the future. As I look now, I see a team that will struggle to make the playoffs in the future.

Earl Sleek said...

As I look now, I see a team that will struggle to make the playoffs in the future.

Oh, I'm not sure about that. Here's a team that did get the 3rd-most points in the west and 5th-most points in the league, and that was with a bevy of excuses (retirement, London, injury, suspension, Bertuzzi, and Mowers).

Nearly everyone important is signed next year, except Selanne & Perry, and while there probably will have to be some salary management, I don't know if it's going to be disastrous.

It's pretty easy to spot what this team needs--reliable top six talent--and it's got a lot of assets still to work with. With a more normal year next year, I don't think making the playoffs will be something I'm stressing over this summer, at least.

Grégoire said...

plus you've got lots of draft picks to stay competitive for a few years thanks to young talents, if you're lucky.

Black Dog said...

Plus you won the Cup last year.

Makes it a lot easier to relax I would say.

Ducks are not in awesome shape going forward but they aren't terrible either. Contenders as long as Pronger is Pronger.

I haven't counted them out yet though. If they came all the way back I would not be surprised.

RudyKelly said...

Should the Ducks look to add offense next year? I'm thinking of a player that would fill your needs nicely. Starts with an "A," ends with a "finogenov."

Earl Sleek said...

Plus you won the Cup last year.

Makes it a lot easier to relax I would say.

Yeah, there's a ton of that. I haven't been living and dying on these playoffs like I had been in years prior. "The Cup changes everything", I guess. I think it's just a bit soon; I'm still somewhat in swoon from last year, I think.

Starts with an "A," ends with a "finogenov."


Bryan said...

Aside from London, which I don't understand how that was an excuse, and Mowers, how are any of the other problems gone. In fact they are worse in that the retirments are more likely than last year to actually happen. The Ducks were not a playoff team before Niedermayer came back. And they were barely a playoff team before Selanne came back. I don't want to get into this stuff in more detail til the season is officially over. I was just saying how even though I had in both cases assumed they would be the last games of the season, I am going to this game a lot less optimistic than 06

Earl Sleek said...

Well, retirements if they happen this summer will be more definitive, and I think that will allow for more of a long-term replacement strategy.

We'll see how it goes, but there should be a lot less limbo next year.

Everyone tells me, btw, to expect Scott to really retire this summer, but I'll have to see it to believe it. I don't know why the expectation is that a guy who spent months on the retirement fence and couldn't pull the trigger is such an automatic lock to retire. He's still got another year on his deal, same as Rob, and I dunno--my expectation is that he'll play. Maybe I'm a fool.

If not, that's nearly $7M to spend, not the worst option either.

Bryan said...

It is more likely than last year, that's for sure, but then again it was too obvious that Niedermayer would be back and Selanne would follow.

Bryan said...

If I'm not mistaken, won't about 4 mil of that 7 mil be spent on Perry

Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, Perry will get his money, and it will come out of Niedermayer's money or Schneider's (if Scott returns, I think he's out).

Still, I don't know why that's a big cause for pessimism. It's clear Anaheim's been spending a ridiculous amount on their blueline, and it makes sense to swing the balance back to the forwards a bit.

Getzlaf & Perry are top-liners now. I can't say it's going to be that painful to pay them as such.

Cheechew said...

Those seats look awesome. You need to bring a sign to get on TV....maybe also one that mentions and maybe even promote the BOC....

Earl Sleek said...

Those seats look awesome.

Oh, they are, and this summer I'll retell the story of how I lucked my way into that group (certainly it's not because I'm rich or connected).

As for the sign, I dunno, I'm not huge into sign-making (I need two hands for my drinks). However, one project I have this summer is to make some BoC t-shirt designs to make available through PensBlog. Any suggestions are welcome.

Bryan said...

My point is not that Perry shouldnt get his money. My point was that the 7mil to play around with next year is not 7 mil.

Earl Sleek said...

Fair enough. I'll take a crack at the payroll later this summer.

My point is that it's premature to get worried about it, though. We don't know what the cap number is, the budget number is, whether Scott is planning on playing or not, or even if this season is over yet.

What we do know is that most of the core of the team is signed through next year, and even if that sucks, there's a ton of contracts that end after that. Both Niedermayers, Pahlsson, Moen, Beauchemin, O'Donnell, Schneider, Huskins, Bertuzzi, Marchant, May, and Parros (and even Burke and Carlyle) expire after next year, so even if it's the worst thing we've ever seen, it's not hugely long-term.

I won't stress about it today; that's for sure.

brokeyard said...

Hey so do you have season tickets or what? Or do you just get individual tickets all the time?

Either way that's got to be A) expensive and B) awesome.

Earl Sleek said...

I buy 3 games a year from a season ticket holder (there's a group of individuals who are in on it), and then he splits up the postseason by some weird process.

It's both (a) and (b), but it's on few enough games that I can afford it.

Bryan said...

If that's the case, how did u manage to score 2 postseason games.

What's weird is the 2 other people I split with opted out of the playoff games. Leaves me with a big bill, since you have to pay it all in full, but very weird.

Earl Sleek said...

If that's the case, how did u manage to score 2 postseason games.

Well, it's a bit complicated, but it was two seats each game (instead of the four from the regular season games). Also, my dad is in on these tickets, so technically I went on his ticket to G2 and my own ticket on G5.

BTW, I should have mentioned this in the GDP, but I didn't get to see the third period last night. What the hell did Teemu do to Turco?

brokeyard said...

Selanne had a lot of speed going and tried to go around the goal but ended up putting his hands directly into Turco's face, and with all that speed behind him, it was almost like a check, so Turco was slow to get up.

Anonymous said...

To Anaheim, From Dallas, with love.

I think it's a foregone conclusion that your precious Ducks will win tonight.

You guys obviously aren't familiar with the Dallas Sports choke action. Mavericks, Cowboys, Stars.... choke choke choke choke choke.

Itlan said...

I heard the cap will be $56mil or there about next year.

King Butter said...

crap..parros is a scratch...a loss is emminent

Mr. Plank said...

What a freaking period, that's some goaltending for ya. What was up with that bench minor at the end of the first? Hopefully that doesn't come back to bite the Ducks/linesman in the ass.

ps I saw your lucky green about fifteen times Earl.

Earl Sleek said...

Woo hoo! (or whatever the expression is these days)

Dammit, that win's got me a little stressed. Somebody tell me something depressing before I do something dangerous like develop a little hope.

Itlan said...

Nice call on the final score. And the back of your head is bigger than I imagined. Mine is too, so it's kinda like not an insult.

brokeyard said...

I always imagine bloggers as people with small heads.

Earl Sleek said...

I keep thinking of Spaceballs. "How come nobody told me my ass was so big?"

Daniel said...

That must have been an amazing game to be at. I have never seen a more physical game, I cannot imagine how the Stars are feeling this morning. The Ducks are probably bruised too, but nowhere near as much as some of those Dallas players.

This is reminding me of of the '06 playoffs against Edmonton. They looked like crap, then looked like they were going to storm back and win the series...wah wah wah.