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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

November – The month of the Ducks’ first loss (I think)

You know, as a blogger who really has no better skill than his ability to complain, the month of October has been a somewhat tough one for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic to see the Ducks march their way to NHL elitism, but the more the team continues to get points, the more I have to bite my tongue about problems I see with the squad.

Well, my bitten tongue has had enough! Here’s three issues that haven’t hurt the Ducks yet:

Bad news: Teemu Selanne hasn’t scored a goal in his last 10 games. Just for reference, the fewest goals that Teemu scored in any 10-game segment last year was 2. Then again, per Hockey Analysis, Teemu was the best offensive force in the NHL last year (given his linemates and opposition). Still, of the Ducks who have played all 12 October games this season, only Joe DiPenta trails Teemu in the goal-scoring department.

Bright side: Aside from the fact that we’re winning, the less Selanne is able to hit his undisclosed performance bonuses, the more money and cap space Brian Burke saves.

Bad news: The Ducks love their penalty box, giving their opponent (on average) an additional two minutes of PP time per game. In the last four games, it has gotten even worse, as opponents have enjoyed an average additional four minutes of PP time per game to work with. The last three games combined, opponents have enjoyed more than 5 minutes of 5-on-3 time, as well.

Bright side: Potency, potency. Over these last four games, Anaheim has still kept pace with its opponents (3 PPG for in 25:45, 3 PPG against in 42:03), despite the discrepancy in PP time.

Bad news: Ilya Bryzgalov can’t catch a break. Despite the fact that the Russian has better numbers (GAA 1.22, sv% .952) than the “league leaders” (Garon GAA 1.72, Fernandez sv% .942), the guy can’t qualify to be on the leaderboard because he’s only played 2 ½ games. This after being the best statistical goaltender in the last playoffs (GAA 1.46, sv% .944) (Ward GAA 2.14, Huet sv% .929). Oh, and as for the Ducks and their miserable-but-improving shootout history, it should be mentioned that Bryzgalov has yet to go to a shootout in his 34 post-lockout starts.

Bright side: Our second-best starting goaltender has been incredible also (GAA 2.12, sv% .928) against better competition.

BOTTOM LINE: Everyone say it together now: "Shut up, Sleek, and enjoy the results."


Rick said...

Nah, you have to look at the kinks in the armor. For me, it doesn't matter that Selanne isn't scoring because you need depth, but there are some nights when a go to guy is essential. I'm starting to think that guy may become Ryan Getzlaf sooner rather than later, though.

They need better discipline to stay out of the box (and that right there is a partial reason why Selanne isn't scoring as much--he's on the bench so much!)

Bryzgalov is doing fine. He's the backup. Putting him in is definitely something you don't do when you're winning too much.

This team looks damn good. I'd like to see one more top 6 forward who knows a little defense, and another veteran d-man to solidify the third pair a little bit. (Is Adam Foote available?)

Other than that, you can't complain. And just think: next year we get to check out Bobby Ryan.

andy grabia said...

Your forgot to mention Teemu's diving prowess. It seems it's the only thing he's still good at.

Hodge said...

Shut up Sleek!!

Miss. Scarlett said...

Yeah from where I'm sitting you have nothing to be concerned about. So yeah, shush :P

Drew said...

Yeah, Sleek. Can it! It could be much worse. You could be a Jackets fan like me.

Enjoy the winning, however it happens. Though if they could find a way to get Bryzgalov in the game more often, my fantasy team would appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

I'm with ya on the complaints. The team is doing well... but, as I consider it, they're doing only well enough. I'm not thrilled with nearly half of last month's games going to the OT/SO, esp. when I look at who the opposition was and most of them aren't among the more tough teams. What's it mean? Are they not playing their game, or are they simply not playing up to the level they should?

Personally, I feel there's plenty of room for improvement and that they should be continually, steadily solidifying their style. As it is, it varies night to night. Some guys appear passionate, others a little lax... is that their fault, or is it just the nature of the game? An off-night, a red-hot night?

November, the month the Ducks experience a regulation loss... sure, why not? But then again, if they can step it up to the level they ought to be at and feel they should be at (because, haven't most of the quotes been about how they're not playing their best hockey just yet? Then what are you waiting for?! Play your best hockey, now, as soon as possible, as quickly and perfectly as possible....)--maybe they won't experience that middle-column loss... yet.

Earl Sleek said...

Ain't I a prophet or something?

Issue #1: Selanne did score his second goal of the year last night (but then again, so did our old pal Vitaly Vishnevski, surpassing his last-year-total of 1).

Issue #2: Penalties kill the Ducks again (as opposed to the Ducks killing penalties). We gave up 3:06 in extra PP time and 2 extra PP goals.

Issue #3: Giguere got another start, and even though he did have stellar saves, he also surrendered four goals and "lost".

Bottom line: this team keeps escaping with points despite inconsistent play, so I'll pretend to like it.

Anonymous said...

I agree that there is always room for improvement.

Even OD said (in his first intermission interview in St. Louis) that the Ducks feel there are areas that still need improvement.

They are playing well, however after the last couple of games, not well enough.

Jordi said...

Stop bitching like a little girl and suck it up. We'll never win the Amazing Race with an attitude like that.

Anonymous said...

I amend my statement, the OD interview was in the Chicago game

Earl Sleek said...

We'll never win the Amazing Race with an attitude like that.

Oh crap. That comment made me spit out some coffee.

I'll work on my attitude, Jordi. You work on that ticket agent.