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, April 7, 2010

Officially eliminated

Tonight's game between our hometown heroes and their Freeway Faceoff rivals, the Los Angeles Kings, could have had a lot more at stake. It could have been uglier, it could have been nastier... especially considering these two teams had just competed at the Los Angeles Staples Center, the Ducks barely eeking out a win in the shootout.

Had the Vancouver Canucks been successful at winning their contest against the Colorado Avalanche, a win for the Ducks tonight could have kept their postseason hopes alive. But the Canucks lost about half an hour before the Ducks did.

I suppose in the end, it's probably better this way. The Canuck loss signalled the official elimination of the Ducks from the 2010 playoffs. We fans couldn't blame our boys when they let yet another three-goal lead slip away in the second half of tonight's game.

Although, that doesn't keep yours truly from being upset at the coaching staff for instructing (or allowing) our boys to simply attempt to protect a lead once they'd established one early on. Why do we always do this? Why come up so big, just to let it all frustratingly slip away with ineffectual puck-dumping maneuvers, lack of forechecking, and no pressure on the puck? We let the other team come back, we encourage them to take shot after shot on our poor goaltenders, we challenge them to get past our defensemen... and more times than not, they do.

Before the Kings won in the shootout, we fans were treated to goals from Jason Blake, my boy Bobby Ryan (who finally beat his goal tally for last season), and two from Teemu Selanne.

It was actually an awesome game up through the first half.

Having suspected our hometown heroes would be ending their season early this month, yours truly followed the subplots that had developed during the season. I would cheer for two-point wins, of course, but I also rallied behind the Finnish Flash's endeavor to break the big 600 club. Of course, he made this happen before the end of the season.

We would also see him tie and eventually break his childhood hero's 601-goal record. I will back-post pictures from those games, as the touching tribute is definitely something worth documenting. Ducks fans held their heads high as one of their most notable Ducks was honored for creating hockey history.

Speaking of Selanne, another subplot that yours truly found remarkable to watch unfold was the development of a wonderfully productive scoring line consisting of Selanne, Saku Koivu, and Jason Blake. Towards the end of the season, these boys could not be beat. Every shift held a possible goal-scoring opportunity. We fans had waited all season for that magical Saku-Teemu chemistry, it's a shame we won't see it continue in the postseason.

Perhaps next season? Murray, that's your cue to MAKE SURE Saku gets re-signed and Blake stays on this line.

There are three games left on the Ducks schedule, two away and one at home next Sunday. I will follow up Sunday's fan appreciation game with my exclusive interview with Bobby Ryan, and perhaps track the playoff games.

After all, playoff hockey is an entirely different animal.


BuckyHermit said...

But judging by how consistently this team has been inconsistent, it's not exactly surprising.

I'd actually be shocked if this team DID make the playoffs.

My Zimbio
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