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, November 26, 2011

Ducks vs Chicago Blackhawks

Something different for this post?

No, we still lost.

But I'm going to do a little something I don't do much of around here anymore, and that's write. It's been hard to do much posting... I mean, it's always hard to write about losses. But this season's string of losses (the last time we won one was 11/11 and I was out of the country that night) has gotten even the most faithful of Duck fans frustrated.

Is it the players?

Is it the coaching staff?

Is it the head coach?

Is it the GM?

Or any combination of the above? The answers are probably in the locker room, at every intermission, at every practice, after every game. But we fans are pretty much in the dark, with only our own speculations and rumors to go off of.

And the rumors have been kinda nasty. Maybe a key player will get traded off. Maybe a bunch of young talent will go with him. Maybe a majority of the team will be disassembled before the coaching staff is touched.

I've heard rumors that Bobby Ryan may be on the trading block, with Toronto and Buffalo interested. Ugh. If that happens, either Toronto or Buffalo will be getting a new fan, much the same as I've followed center Matthew Lombardi from Calgary to Phoenix to Nashville, and now to Toronto.

But who's to say?

All I know is that I've seen too many games where the same tired, unconfident team takes the ice. I've seen too many dump and chase maneuvers fall flat. Too many leads lost when the offense disappears and the defense fails to achieve. Too many players waste their skills on plays and styles that don't suit them.

And it's so hard to see this happen.

I feel so horrible for Teemu Selanne, who came back for one more year but might not even see a postseason. This is no way for Selanne to end his career. I feel horrible for the goalies, who might put in a perfect game save the fact that they cannot score all of the team's goals in addition to protecting their nets. I feel horrible for the young guys who are trying so hard, but whose development is undoubtedly being stunted by everything going on around them.

And I feel horrible for us fans who paid to helplessly watch this happen night in and night out.

Please, comments are welcomed.

Ellis: "Dude, you don't EVEN know the half of it..."


Jonathan S said...

Its the players just not playing a full game we get caught standing around and we stop the fore check the coaches are getting the right plan to players they are just not executing there game plan

Denise said...

"And if you've never heard that silence, it's a God awful sound"- Matchbox 20, "Kody".

I put that quote there because I think it's extremely relevant to how we, the fans, feel right now. We are, as you say, left in the dark right now, and the silence from Murray et al. is deafening, to say the least. Silence is acceptance, and that, to me, is disheartening.

That said, the more I watch this team play, the more I think it's a result of a system that just isn't working, especially with the how this team is built. The "dump and chase", while it worked during the Stanley Cup run, doesn't work for a team that has smaller, speedier, more skilled players. Other teams have figured it out, and make sure they take away any potential chances the team has. The Ducks play their best against teams that don't play a puck possession style, nor a trap style- see Chicago, Vancouver, and even (as much as this pains me to say) LA for styles that work with the Ducks' abilities. Those have been the most exciting games to watch, as of late, the losing notwithstanding.

The players can only shoulder so much of the blame. Are they playing lazy? Yes. Are they playing not to lose? Yes. But is that entirely their fault? They can give the same standard lines in the post-game comments: "We need to play a full 60 minutes," or "It's up to the guys in this room," because, publicly, they aren't going to disparage the coaching staff or upper management when it appears that it's the players who will go before the coach, as has been seen time and again. But I can't help but wonder if the players are playing the way they are to effect change, one way or another; that is, I can't help if they secretly are playing this way to prove that the system (and the message) just isn't working anymore. Players are wasting their skills on plays and styles that don't suit them simply because they are told to play a certain way.

Historically under Carlyle, the team has had slow starts to the season, but it has never been this bad. Carlyle never seems to shoulder any responsibility for the teams woes, placing the responsibility squarely on the players. Look at other, more successful coaches, and you'll see that in times of desperation, they redirect the blame onto themselves, and try to come up with another plan to fix some of the problems (In my mind, I'm thinking specifically of Bruce Boudreau). Carlyle takes no responisbility, and instead, forces a system that just isn't working anymore. I may sound redundant here, but that's only because it's a common thread when examining all the issues.

I also believe that the loss of some people in the locker room (Todd Marchant, he of Destiny is Heart, Sacrifice, Passion) and Jason Blake, to a degree, have hurt the team chemistry tremendously. Sometimes, it's not a player's contribution on the ice that's the most important.

I think blowing up the team or trading key players at this point, while is probably the most likely scenario, is, at best, short-sighted. I say it's time for Carlyle to go, install Foligno as head coach for the remainder of the season, and see how the team responds. If that doesn't work, THEN start the process of reworking the team structure.

But it has to be sooner rather than later, if for no other reason than for Teemu Selanne. That man gives his heart, sweat, blood, tears, and soul every night, and he is deserving of a much better send-off than what is happening right now.

Chris (aka Ducks54) said...

Beautifully said, Denise! I agree with many of the points you've made here. The loss of veteran leadership in the locker room is glaringly apparent and, while Getzlaf might be the captain, I'm sure he's no Todd Marchant in the locker room (we couldn't expect him to be, he's too young).

I also wonder how Foligno would handle matters if he were head coach, especially considering how effectively he improved our PK. Or having a coach who teaches and encourages rather than barks orders (a la Bylsma or Tippett). With a young group lacking in veteran leadership, a little nurturing would go a long way.

Whatever the explanation, the future looks bleak. One thing is for certain, the roster is going to be very different by the end of the season. I don't see veterans like Koivu or Blake or Lydman staying with the Ducks, nor do I see Murray keeping many of the younger talent (ie. Sbisa, DSP, Bonino, etc) safe from being made as examples and traded/waived.

My Zimbio
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