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

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ducks at Phoenix, vs Coyotes

I wasn't at this game (wish I was!), but it deserves a post because:
- it marks the end of a 6-game Ducks losing streak
- it marks the end of a 7-game Yotes winning streak

And, most importantly, it marks Bobby's second NHL career hat trick!!!

Here's what he had to say to Arizona reporters after the game:

Ducks gave the Yotes a sound beating, 6-4. Come back home and show the Kings similar treatment, Ducks!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ducks vs Edmonton Oilers

When a team on a losing streak comes into town, you want to think, "Oh hey, easy two points for us," right? Well, when your team is the Anaheim Ducks, it isn't that easy.

Remember what happened less than a month ago against the New Jersey Devils?

Or last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs??

Unfortunately yeah, I remember those too. I was at both of those games and it stunk. Nevertheless, you hope your boys remember those stinkers just as well, and you hope they try their hardest not to let history repeat itself.

And you look at the little things to make you happy, like Dan Sexton being recalled from the minors

Sexton: "Don't get all up in mah grill, yo."

The first period started well enough. Ducks outshot the Oilers with 19 shots on goal compared to their 4. And they made good plays. Ducks also got power play chances. Teemu Selanne was scratched thanks to groin issues, otherwise I'm pretty certain we would have converted on at least one of those opportunities.

What nobody counted on was the hot goalie. Oilers' Devan Dubnyk frustrated my Ducks to no end... and filled my camera with shots like these:

Dubnyk blocking a puck with his elbow

Dubnyk blocking a redirect from Jason Blake

Dubnyk pouncing on a puck just outside the blue paint

And another save (see the puck?)...

And another (see the puck?)...

Dubnyk left no rebounds on many of his saves. Our boys had some of the best goal attempts I've seen in a while, so it wasn't as if they played poorly. There were plenty of players left sniffing for stray biscuits after many of those attempts, but they came up empty. Honestly, I think it took the wind out of our boys' sails. It certainly took something out of mine. And it raised the confidence of the Oilers.

They would take the lead with two goals in the first half of the second.

In the second half, Ducks got a lucky bounce when Theo Peckham received a penalty for delay of game. The puck actually flew through a camera hole which, in my opinion, isn't technically over the glass. But hey, we'll take it.

No more than eight seconds into the ensuing power play, Bobby Ryan would finally get one past Dubnyk

And 22 seconds after that, Saku Koivu would tie it up.

Unfortunately, there would be no further Duck goals. At least, not into the Oiler net. Corey Perry's empty-netter crossed 200 feet to land squarely into the opposite net. Some would say it was the icing on the cake, finishing off a completely awful third period. The Ducks had checked out. No more urgency, no more brilliant shot attempts on goal, not even in the final minute after Jonas Hiller had been pulled for the extra attacker.

Me, I'm glad that ex-Duck Ryan Whitney's close-range empty net bid missed the net, which prompted an energized round of "Whitney sucks" from a group of raucous fans in the section next to me. It was pretty funny. At least we could be reminded that we got Lubomir Visnovsky from the Oilers for that guy.

It's the little things, people. I'm getting used to finding silver linings.

At least Andy Sutton is back...

Let's file this one with the others under F for "forget about it."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ducks vs Pittsburgh Penguins

At least for tonight, I certainly hoped so!

I understand that the 2009 Stanley Cup champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins, would be playing only one West Coast game this season. Unfortunately for Duck fans, it was at our Ponda.

Not that we don't appreciate having Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in our building, quite the contrary. Personally, I was looking forward to seeing Malkin on the ice live, as he had suffered an injury prior to last season's contest and didn't swim with the rest of the Pens at the Ponda. But since we'd be the only West Coast stop on the itinerary, every friggin' Penguin fan in California showed up at the game.

Evgeni Malkin, one half of Pittsburgh's dynamic duo

Lubomir Visnovsky playfully teasing fans during warmups

I honestly believe we Duck fans were outnumbered. It definitely sounded like it; the cheering post-Pen goal seemed to be much louder than the cheering post-Duck goal.

Thankfully, there were fewer Pen goals than Duck goals.

On the bright side, our boys showed up ready to rock. They gave us something to cheer for, we could be damn proud of the team that took the ice that night.

Corey Perry trying to deflect a shot past goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury

With the first period ending with zeros on the scoreboard and SOG slightly favoring the Ducks (7-5), you could feel the tension in the air. I knew that whoever scored that first goal was going to blow this game wide open for his team.

Who else would that player be but Bobby Ryan?

Opening the floodgates, Bobby's goal was followed by one from Ryan Getzlaf and one more from Saku Koivu before the end of the second.

The boys celebrate after Getzy's goal

Saku ended a scoring drought after having started the season with two goals in as many games

Teemu Selanne assisted on Saku's goal

Non-expert game observations:
- It's good to see Cam Fowler back out there again. A testament to his skills, we could say he's one of our top defensemen. Although, that's not exactly a compliment to our other defensemen...
- The game was a very physical one overall, but Bobby in particular dished out some major hits. Check out this one for the highlight reel. The clip was shown repeatedly on the jumbotron, and we fans ate it up.

- This was Teemu Selanne's 1200th NHL game. The Finnish Flash looked spectacular, doing everything except getting a goal. Personally, I would have loved to see his efforts rewarded.
- I was also hoping for more rookie magic. Nick Bonino and Kyle Palmieri were back out on their line with veteran Todd Marchant.


- I've always liked Palmieri and was excited to see him pot his first NHL goal in the previous Ducks game. It would have been nice to see him get his second before Matt Beleskey and Dan Sexton come back from IR.
- Jonas Hiller was sensational tonight. He left a number of rebounds, but his mates were good about cleaning those up. I still believe we rely a little too heavily on Hiller night after night, but as long as he's still looking strong out there, hopefully we have time to improve.

Sidney Crosby, the other half of that dynamic duo

Pens would get on the board twice at the hands of Captain Sid, but our Ducks clung to their lead through the third period. There was so much energy in that final period. Players pushed themselves to the limit, fans held their breath between bouts of screaming.

Heck, it was like playoff hockey! Our boys fought hard and they EARNED their win, the first consecutive win this season. And it was worth being there for every thrilling moment.

Ducks celebrate their hard-fought win with Jonas Hiller

Let's get number three, boys, this Sunday against the Nashville Predators.

My Zimbio
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