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

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ducks vs Dallas Stars

"Ducks have failed to show again"

This was my text to a fellow hockey fan during the second period of last night's contest between the Anaheim Ducks and the Dallas Stars. The game was half over, Ducks were down an embarrassing (yet not entirely shocking) 0-3, and most of the minimal "crowd" at the Ponda looked as disappointed as I felt.

Like rats jumping off the Titanic...

Through the first period and the first half of the second, our offense was nonexistent. So was the defense, for that matter. I noted way too much space between Ducks' D and oncoming Stars forwards. What happened to keeping them on the perimeter? What happened to knocking the puck away or blocking shooting/passing lanes? It was as if our defensemen forgot what they were supposed to be doing out there.

J.S. Giguere got the start in net but he, too, didn't look 100% in the game. The Stars took advantage of every odd-man rush, and Jiggy was out of position for most of them.

As much as I despise Stars' netminder Marty Turco, I have to admit he's a damn good goalie

It also didn't help that, for whatever reason, Ducks couldn't seem to buy a power play.

Sheldon Brookbank trying to light a fire under his mates by knocking fists with Stars' Krys Barch after the Stars go up 0-2 in the 1st

As valiant as Brookbank's fight was, he got in some great punches, our boys would remain off the scoreboard well into the second period. Joffrey Lupul took a penalty for tripping with less than four minutes left. Luckily, the Ducks PK stepped up to fight that one off and Ryan Getzlaf, with perfect timing, manages to fire the puck right to Lupes as he rushed out of the sin bin.

Lupes neatly completed the pass at center ice and sped off toward Turco. He stuffed the puck five-hole and, even though Turco actually made the save, his backward momentum from having to match Lupul's speed sends him and the puck into his net.

Yours truly breathed a sigh of relief as our Ducks headed into the second intermission with a goal on the board. At least we wouldn't get shut out.

And then, in the third, the team actually shows up. There's more energy on the ice and in the stands of the Ponda. Then, the unsung hero emerges.

*cue inspirational music*

My boy Bobby Ryan makes a play in front of the net, but loses the puck off his stick. New linemate Dan Sexton is also in the crease and flips the puck past Turco. It's only Dany's third NHL game, but he has given his team a fighting chance.

A rookie's favorite moment: his first NHL goal

I do remember stating, back during the preseason exhibition, that Dany and Bobby had a certain chemistry. I had even pondered the possibility of a scoring line built around the two wingers. With Teemu Selanne out for the next 4-6 weeks, I think a line consisting of Dany, Bobby, and Saku Koivu might do just nicely. How about it, Carlyle?

Either way, Dany continued to shine. He put a game-high nine shots on goal and dominated the ice every time he was on it. The energy inside the Ponda had become infectious. Fans fed off our boys and our boys fed off us. A majority of the third period was spent in the Stars defensive zone, and when the puck would enter the Ducks zone, our defense was there to keep things under control.

Why can't we play all three periods like this?

And then, with only a minute left in regulation, Dany comes up big again. His second goal, a shot that capitalizes on a mistake by Turco, ties the game up 3-3. Suddenly, we're looking at overtime.

Ducks continue OT with the same fervor they showed during the third. The Stars were all but caught back on their heels. Remembering our recent failures in the shootout, I prayed we'd score before the five minutes were up.

Luckily, the hockey gods were listening. With only a minute left in OT, Saku got his stick on the puck after a battle along the boards and took it up on a 3-on-1 rush. Converging on Turco, his first shot is blocked, but he catches the rebound and sends it over the leg pad for the win!

"Ducks win!!"


The celebration on the ice is nearly as big as the one in the stands. What an amazing comeback!

A very deserving Dan Sexton gets the first star of the game


My Zimbio
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