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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Ducks Gameday—Pahlsson is god! (part ii)

Round Two, Game Four: (2) Anaheim Ducks at (3) Vancouver Canucks
(ANA leads series 2-1, JavaGeek ‘odds’: ANA 77%)

Occasional readers to this blog should know that I carry an unhealthy amount of admiration man-crush for Sammy Pahlsson, the Ducks' stopper-line center and, if there were any justice, Selke-award winner.

But did you know that opponents have not scored a power play goal against Pahlsson in more than six weeks?!!

Seriously. Read it again. The last NHLer (and I use that term loosely) to score a PP goal against Pahlsson was Rob Blake! Back on March 18th, in Game 73 of the season.

It's unbelievable, but in the 17+ games since then, Pahlsson has played 80 penalty-killing minutes (53% of Anaheim's time, including 3-on-5s) without surrendering a single power play goal.

And remember, this isn't just killing penalties for a disciplined team; the Ducks consistently have been among the most penalized teams in the regular season as well as the playoffs. This playoff year, the Ducks have spent some 68 minutes on the power play and 87 minutes shorthanded, yet Anaheim's power play is still outscoring its opponents' power play 9-3.

Doug Weight chooses the key player for Anaheim's postseason:

"It's easy to pick [Scott] Niedermayer and [Chris] Pronger because of how great they are and their respective résumés, stats and ice time they put in. But if you're looking for a player who can set a tone for a series, it's [Samuel] Pahlsson.

"I like him because he's an in-your-face kind of player. He's 6 feet, over 200 pounds. He's one of the most underrated checkers in the league. He's like Sean Avery, but without the physicality. He comes at you at an angle, never allowing you to get open ice. … He reminds me a lot of Guy Carbonneau. [Pahlsson] shadows and frustrates the opponent's best player. He's on them like glue."
Did I mention he's playing this year for $650k? And that he has as many points this playoff year as the Niedermayer brothers combined? Go get 'em, Sammy!

(More Pahlsson love: Pahlsson is god!, Pahlsson for Smythe!, Ode to Pahlsson)

Other than Pahlsson, there are only two Duck players born outside of North America: crazy Russian goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov and the Finnish Flash Teemu Selanne.

Teemu thus far has been pretty well-checked in the playoffs, particularly on the power play. Of the 9 power play goals the Ducks have scored, he has been on the ice for only 2 of them, and assisted on only 1, despite leading all Anaheim forwards in PP ice time.

I really shouldn't be that critical, though. He has been going against the regular season's #1 and #2 penalty-killing teams, and they certainly should be keying on him and his league-leading 25 power play goals. And Teemu is still getting it done at even strength; his 4 even-strength points and +2 are both team-leading.

Still, kudos to Chris Pronger for giving his annual 'superstar wake-up call' by high-sticking Teemu right below his right eye in G2. If you recall last year, Pronger challenged Ryan Smyth by knocking half his teeth out; this is no doubt a similar effort to toughen up Selanne for the playoff grind.

Sure I know that the scrappy Canucks could very well win tonight's game or even win this series—any team willing to sacrifice in front of a monster goalie is capable of that (see also: 2003 Mighty Ducks). But this is really a chance for the Duck to press its webbed foot across the orca's throat and lay its deathgrip on this series, and I think the boys got it in 'em.

Ain’t that right, Señor Baracus?

"¡Claro que sí, sucka!"

Prediction: Ducks 5, Canucks 3. A veritable explosion of goals. Duck goals by Perry, Kunitz x2, Pahlsson, and Shannon.

Go Ducks.


Anonymous said...

Other than Pahlsson, there are only two Duck players born outside of North America: crazy Russian goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov and the Finnish Flash Teemu Selanne.

If Don Cherry mentioned the fact that Anaheim only has three europeans there would be a PC lynch mob streaming to CBC headquarters with torches. Thank you Earl.

RudyKelly said...

Go Blake! That is all.

Wooster11 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wooster11 said...

If Don Cherry had his way, he'd consider the Ducks to have more than just 3 non North American players. He'd include the Duck's French Canadien players (Beauchemin, Giguere, and Caron)...

ughhh... Don Cherry... What an idiot...

Oh... and don't forget all those players that wear Visors, which the Ducks have a lot of.

Mike said...

Pahlsson was the man child in game three. Those kind of guys who quietly do the huge things right you just can't have enough of.

Just sucks YOU guys have him! Got a PP specialist you can part with for a few games??

Earl Sleek said...

Well, the NHL has announced its finalists for all the major individual trophies.

Pahlsson is up for the Selke, against Rod Brind'Amour (a poor choice, but probably the favorite) and Jay Pandolfo (a good choice).

Both Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger are up for the Norris Trophy, going against perennial winner Nick Lidstrom.

Go get 'em, Sammy!

RudyKelly said...

So Kopitar wasn't nominated for the Calder because of Jordan Staal...

I am seething.

Bethany said...

I can't believe Kopitar wasn't nominated...look at the team he was on...he had nothing to work with and he still did amazing. Stupid NHL.

Mike said...

Being a Sharks fan, I'm contractually obligated to hate the Kings, but Kopitar not being nominated is complete and utter horseshit. At least 4 reasons.

1. Pittsburg is synonymous with good young kids right now.
2. Part of the recognized Staal clan on NHLers. Aren't the other two brothers in the system now too?
3. Staal had a ridiculous number of short handed goals.
3. East coast bias.

Too many damn Mikes around here.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike,

I'd maybe tend to agree with you, but shorthanded goals are a plus in his favor, not a negative. In fact, all the PP points Kopitar got should be discounted.

The fact that an 18 year old came into the league and scored so many SH goals is huge. Look how few the whole Canucks team had this year!

Mike said...

Sorry Jeff, that post came out a bit garbled. I meant to say that those were the four reasons why Staal was nominated and not Kopitar. SHGs are a good sign for anyone.

But let's not overrate SH output. Kopitar had nearly 20 more points in 10 fewer games. I'm not sure that 5 SH goals (difference) makes up for that.

Also, not that you are making this argument, but I think a person's age should be irrelevant in Calder voting. The question is, which rookie had the best year? For me, the answer is clear- Evgeni Malkin.

Finally, are we sure that we want to say that PP points should be discounted? That opens a whole new can of worms. Should Crosby not win the MVP because over half of his points were on the PP? Joe Thornton actually had more even strength points. And Lecavalier in is in the mix now.

Sean Zandberg said...

Hopefully the Orcas chew the embed feet right off the Ducks and feed them to their offspring!

It's great to watch Pahlsson play on a more regular basis in this series. I am finally seeing what you've been saying about him. He really is that good.
Though nothing makes me more happy than seeing him take a penalty, as it takes his checking arss off the ice.

Anonymous said...

Sleek - I've already told you I want Sammy to by my unsung hero, but I afraid you will rip apart my blog, since you know everything there is to know about him.

Earl Sleek said...

adf, Sammy should be everyone's unsung hero.

Go nuts, I'll behave. :)