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. Tampa Bay Lightning

After a day of rest, I was hoping our Ducks were ready to start off their weekend with a winning webbed foot.

I drove up to Kings' territory for this game. Hey, I can't help it if my date lives in the wrong county. He's a decent guy though, so no faulting him. And, I'm turning him into a Ducks fan so he can't be that bad, right?

Walking to dinner right across the way from the Staples Center, my date and I felt the hostility. We donned Ducks hats, but I tried to stay low-brow. I love my Ducks, don't get me wrong, but advertising my loyalty to a team that had just gotten served at this very venue two nights prior... uh, not the brightest idea.

At least they weren't playing the Kings that night. Hell, I'm not THAT stupid!

Nonetheless, my date and I were paying customers. We got one of the restaurant staffers to turn a television over to the Ducks game. We watched as the Ducks proceeded to repeat the previous night's score pattern. By the time we're five minutes into the second period, the Ducks were shut out 0 to 2.

With the exception of St Louis (by the way, probably the smallest hockey player I've seen yet), the Lightning seem to be doing a lot of fumbling. Come to think of it, everyone is doing a lot of fumbling and falling and flailing. To the Ducks credit, I can say it's probably difficult to make a cohesive team out of a bunch of newbees. I mean, we're out some major players, and we've got guys on the ice who've probably never played an official game together. Hell, Matt Belesky got called in from Iowa to cover injured Todd Marchant with only 15 minutes to get his butt on the ice.

Later in the second period, finally, a Ducks goal by Andrew Ebbett, the second in his NHL career. And then two maddening attempts for Ducks goals, answered simply with a pipe "ping!" both times. The Lightning followed up nine minutes later with another goal. There was a glimmer of hope as Chris Pronger and Steve Montador shot goals within 12 seconds of each other, bringing the score to a 3-3 tie.

Looks like we're relying on our defensemen for goals. As for our star forwards, Corey Perry is still out on his fourth of four-game suspension, Teemu Selanne is still out with his lacerated thigh injury, and my boy Bobby Ryan is looking pretty tired after having spent a huge 20+ minutes on the ice the previous night. I'm not even sure what's the problem with Ryan Getzlaf. It feels like it's been ages since he's been in the spotlight. Could it be the fact that the Lightning are covering him like white on rice?

And when he finally does take the spotlight, it's for all the wrong reasons: fighting with a Lightning. It puts him into the penalty box during a time we definitely could have used him out on the ice, making shots on the goal. One more goal from the Lightning, and the Ducks are in a scramble to try to land one more to stay in the game.

I don't know if our boys are tired, or if they're just not used to playing with each other, or maybe a little of both... it just looks like there is so little energy on the ice, so many missed passes, so many sluggish shots on goal. Aiya, no more goals in those final eight minutes, and the Ducks lose it again, 3-4.


My Zimbio
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