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

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ducks vs. Red Wings, round 2 game 7

I don't have to tell you how huge this game is. I don't have to tell you that I've cleared my evening schedule to be home watching it! It's game seven, baby. Time to put these Wings away for good! I know I have a couple of games, plus a pretty cool Duck event, to cover here in these pages. My apologies, I'll go back and fill things in for the sake of completeness. But right now, a real time account of game seven. I'm hoping my Ducks will take the series here, but I'm kinda just happy that my boys have made it this far.

Cuz honestly, who would have ever guessed they'd be playing a game seven. In the post season. Against Detroit! I think the fans are just as happy as the players are because they were never supposed to have gotten this far.

The game starts with a burst of energy for our Ducks. My boy Bobby Ryan makes a couple of shots on net. He's looking good, maybe he'll finally get on the goal board tonight. The big line of Ryan Getzlaf/Corey Perry/Bobby Ryan are doing well, controlling the puck in the Detroit zone despite huge defense by the Wings. A James Wisniewski bid on the net would have been in except for a phenomenal save by Osgood.

Right off, Detroit gets a penalty... and then another. It's 5-on-3 hockey for our boys for over a good minute. And this is where our Ducks fail. If they'd only managed to score on this huge opportunity, but I think they took too much time looking for that perfect shot. The remaining amount of power play our boys have left sees a couple of good shots on net, but no goals.

Then Getzlaf gets a holding call. Wings come up blank on their first power play opportunity.

No delay of game penalty for the Wings encroaching the faceoff circle after Draper was kicked out. Should have been an automatic penalty against the Wings. Lucky break.

Penalty again for Getzlaf. The call was questionable. I see a tiny slash, something that isn't even worth the delay for a penalty, even if the Wings had committed it. I don't think I'm liking the refs much in this one.

The Wings capitalize on this power play, getting a goal off an over-glove redirection by Hudler. Poor Hiller. He's been doing so well, don't lose your focus! I'm trying to send good vibes through my tv. "Don't worry guys, it's just one goal. You can do this! Don't lose faith."

I'm glad for the end of the period. The failed 5-on-3 and then the couple of stupid penalties just seemed to sap the energy out of our Ducks. They need an intermission to regroup.

Aww man, at the beginning of the 2nd, Selanne loses the puck and Helm speeds it down the ice on a breakaway. Hiller couldn't stop it. C'mon guys, still 38 minutes of hockey to play, don't get discouraged. 2-0.

If I start to see them falling apart, I swear I'm turning off the tv.

Ugh, Duck penalty. Mike Brown comes up big on his penalty kill shift. Crap! Delay of game penalty against Frankie Beauchemin for swatting the puck up over the glass. Geezus. What was I saying about falling apart? Right after, Red Wing high-sticking penalty because Hossa clipped James Wisniewski. 4-on-4.

Teemu Selanne gives up the puck and gets smashed hard into the boards. He's down on the ice for a long time. There's blood, apparently the visor cut him on the nose. You'd think there'd be at least a double minor, with blood in play, but no. Just a 2-minute intererence minor. I'm really not liking these refs. Ducks on a 4-on-3, but without the Finnish Flash. C'mon guys, avenge him!

This is frustrating. Good shot attempts for our boys, but they just can't get one in.

At regular strength, too many turnovers in the neutral zone. C'mon guys, let's get a good puck possession and crash the zone. We need a momentum shift here.

Good attempt by Getzlaf with a wrister from the blue line. But Osgood tucks it away.

After multiple attempts to enter the Detroit zone, a beautiful play executed initially by Sheldon Brookbank out of the neutral zone to Ryan Whitney at the blue line, He fires it towards the net, and Ryan Carter, keeping Osgood busy, allows Selanne to catch the rebound and knock it in.

Less than a few minutes later, Detroit regains its two goal lead. And then, to add injury to insult (in this case), Hudler completely bowls over Hiller in the net. There's a goalie interference call made, but I'm afraid of what the damage is to our netminder. Hiller looks shaken, but he's back up and ready in his crease as our boys take their fourth power play of the game.

Our boys avenge on the power play! Selanne takes it into the slot, passes to Chris Pronger who slaps it towards the net. Perry is there, and chips it home. Sweet!

C'mon boys, one more! Clear the zone, let's go! Our boys are up and fighting at the end of the second, fueled by some excellent plays and chances. Almost a shame the period has to end. But they need the intermission rest, and they can come back in the third feeling good. They're trailing only by one, the score is 2-3.

Ducks have good energy going into the third, but you can tell both teams are tired. I'm feeling pretty winded myself. The adrenaline is seriously trashing my stomach.

Lots of grinding along the boards. I want to see our boys deeper in the Detroit zone. They get whistled offsides a few times as they try to advance. Grr.

Finally, Bobby gets his due and nets the equalizer!! Beautiful play!!! Perry battles to keep the puck in the Detroit zone. Bobby chases it around the net and it's passed in quick succession one, two, three, four times. The final pass is from Perry to Bobby on the other side of the crease, and he pops it in as he's passing the net. Now it's anyone's game.

Ok boys, one more. Argh. Ducks penalty?? It's a horrible call on Selanne for not doing anything. Two minutes for lacing his skates backwards. C'mon Hiller, hold strong. We need this power kill! Yes! Marchant comes up big time.

C'mon boys, you can do this. You're tired, but so are the Wings.

My hands are shaking. Six minutes left in regulation. I have to say, even if our boys lose this one, I'm very happy with how they've played. Lots of heart, lots of grit. And tons of great hockey in this game seven. I'm dying here, but I love it!

Three minutes in regulation and the Wings manage to score. NO!!!! I thought you weren't supposed to push the blocker with the puck under it. Anyway.... c'mon guys, let's pull a miracle. You can do it.

Oh my god. A missed call on a high-stick on Wis. Shit. Bad calls. And that bad goal, ugh. Where's Brad Watson when you need him?

And that's it.

But you know, this was an amazing run for a team that wasn't even expected to make the post-season. They fought hard and they fought well, and I have nothing but pride for my Ducks.


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