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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Random Pacific Questions: Should the Ducks be Feared?


Of all the teams in the Pacific Division, I fear the Ducks the most. San Jose may have won the division last year and Dallas may have made it to the Conference Finals, but neither team would scare me as much as the Ducks in a series. Think about this: the Ducks played a quarter of their season without Scott Niedermayer and maybe 2/3 without Teemu Selanne; they had to trade their 2nd-line center to free up cap space; they had Todd Bertuzzi on their team; their 2nd best offensive player was injured for the last part of the season and the playoffs; and their captain was suspended for attempting emergency amputation on some asshole's foot.

And they finished 4th in the conference.

They weren't realistically going to go very far in the playoffs because they didn't have time to mesh last year, but that won't be a problem this season. The Ducks were the 2nd best defensive team in the league last year and losing Mathieu Schneider won't affect that ranking too much. They had trouble scoring last year but have added Brendan Morrison, Bobby Ryan, Teemu for the whole season, and a healthy Ryan Carter (who I thought was pretty awesome before he broke his wrist last season). More importnantly, they've dumped both Doug Weight and Todd Bertuzzi, 2 slow, bumbling forwards that were kind of embarrassing to watch. And of course, they still have the 2nd best young forward duo in Southern California in Getzlaf and Perry.

A lot of people get seduced by the Sharks or the Stars because they were the teams that made headlines last season. They've both added some pretty good pieces and will both likely make the playoffs, but if I'm another team in the NHL I'm praying that I get one of those teams instead of Anaheim in the playoffs. I think some people may be sleeping on the Ducks because they're eventually going to be average once Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne finally retire, but right now they're still incredibly talented. They have the best defense and the best goaltending in the division, two dynamic offensive players, and a shutdown line that could stop George Clooney from scoring. Fear the mallard, friends.


Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, I don't know why people are so quick to forget the Ducks.

The scariest stat by my eye is the defensive numbers once Scott Niedermayer rejoined the team. In the final 48 games, the Ducks allowed 88 goals (no shootouts). That projects to 150 for a full season.

Last year, Detroit allowed 179, the fewest in the league. That's a huge difference, and it figures to even get better as famous non-backcheckers Bertuzzi and Weight hit the curb.

Of course, it is probably the last kick at the can for Burke, Niedermayer, Selanne, maybe even the whole Pahlsson line, etc., so it's not a long-term menace, but for one more year at least, it's going to be one tough team to score on.

Gautham Ganesan said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa. The best goaltending in the division? I know as a Kings fan your definition of "goaltending" is rather jaded, but I'm pretty sure anyone would take either Nabokov or Turco over Giguere.

Earl Sleek said...

I'm pretty sure anyone would take either Nabokov or Turco over Giguere.

Depends on who's asked, I guess. But still, see the variety of answers from last week's question on the topic.

I don't know if Giguere's that crazy a choice. He did have the best GAA and Sv% of the three, and has actually seen the Cup Finals from something other than his television.

RudyKelly said...

JS Giguere, underrated. I never thought I'd see the day.

Kirsten said...

I'm kind of hoping we get a rematch with the Ducks in the playoffs.

I don't know who to pick to win the division, but I don't mind randomly picking someone for that division, the Hockey Gods can crash their anger down on the Pacific for my daring to predict as much as they want.

I say Joe Thornton will get his shit together and the Sharks will win the division.

Earl Sleek said...

I'm kind of hoping we get a rematch with the Ducks in the playoffs.

Oh jeez, I really don't think I'm ready for that rematch just yet. Can't I just enjoy memories of Wild futility for just a few more years?