In praise of Bobby Ryan

In praise of Bobby Ryan
"The biggest thing is just his poise and his hands are unbelievable. I played with [Evgeni] Malkin and [Sidney] Crosby, and those guys are probably the two best in the league. Bobby's hands are right with those guys... He's a superstar in the making, it seems."
---Ryan Whitney, former Ducks defenseman

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings

Once upon a time, I dated an asshole. Well, he didn't become an asshole until two years into our relationship so, for the purpose of this little story, I'll refer to him instead as the ex that introduced me to hockey.

He was a Kings fan (hmm, what did I just say about becoming an asshole?), and he got tickets often for games at the Staples Center. Of course, I'd go. I'm all about free entertainment, but I never considered myself a Kings fan. I didn't feel any connection with this team, not to mention it was hard getting behind a team that kept losing!

One night, my ex told me we had tickets to see the Kings take on the Anaheim Ducks. We were late, as we always were. The game was already a few minutes in and the Ducks had already scored on the Kings. My ex was pissed. I was intrigued. Watching this cohesive team of modest players skate circles around the Kings... it was the beginning of a beautiful love affair.

And the best thing of all, they were Anaheim's team. I'd spent 17 years of my childhood living in Anaheim. I decided then and there that I was truly a Ducks' fan.

The Ducks went on to beat the Kings that night. My ex went home upset, not because of the Kings loss (that happened at most of the games we saw), but because he had to yell at me twice for cheering on the "wrong team." I went home smiling.

So maybe it's a fitting thing that I should start this Ducks blog with Tuesday and Thursday's hometown rivalry.

Tuesday's game saw the Ducks defend against the Kings at the Honda Center. My boy Bobby Ryan got the first goal in that game, assisted by Ryan Getzlaf and Chris Pronger. I think people are finally starting to take notice of Bobby. I know I've begun to pay particular attention when I see the lineup of Kunitz-Getzlaf-Ryan on the ice.

Good things happen when those three are skating.

The second period saw a lot of action, including a Kings goal during a 5-on-3 power play. Jonas Hiller was phenomenal nonetheless. Having been through so much with J.S. Giguere, I get a little protective of my favorite goaltender! Although, I do have to admit that Hiller's got some mad skills.

I'm glad our Ducks don't have to play against him!

The second Ducks goal happened during the third period, a doozy of a power play goal by Sammy Pahlsson, assisted by Scotty Niedermayer. And, at the end of the game, a final nail in the Kings' coffin by Robbie Niedermayer's empty net goal.

Speaking of Pahlsson, was he hot or what winning all of those face-offs? Ducks beat the Kings that night, 3 to 1.

Unfortunately, I think the Ducks celebrated Tuesday's victory a little too much. Our boys just could not get it together Thursday night when they played the Kings at the Staples Center. Yours truly attended an official Ducks viewing party, trying to share in a little Ducks love. But, as the score was a humiliating 3-0 against the Ducks by the middle of the second period, even the tasty barbeque chicken wings were getting hard to swallow.

I was hoping, praying! our Kunitz-Getzlaf-Ryan lineup would pull a miracle.

And wouldn't you know it, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus... and his name would be Bobby Ryan! My boy scored, count 'em, one, two, three goals in less than two and a half minutes to tie up the game. If you haven't seen his incredibly beautiful hat trick, click here. My friends, that shot will be replayed in highlight reels for seasons to come.

I wish the rest of the boys could've capitalized on this amazing opportunity to take back the game. I hate to admit it, but I was disappointed in the lack of passion in the other players. Bobby made those goals like a man truly loving the game... we needed a little more of that Thursday night, perhaps we wouldn't have lost 4 to 3.

And maybe we wouldn't have lost it in a lousy power play goal that the Kings scored when the Ducks had too many men on the ice.

Maybe next time, guys.


My Zimbio
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