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

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ducks vs Toronto Maple Leafs

I have a coworker whose father has been a Ducks season ticket holder since day 1. He doesn't go to games anymore, but he still has his seats which get divided up by various family members at the beginning of every season.

My coworker graciously allows us to buy occasional seats at face value. Tonight's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs (aka the Anaheim Ducks of Toronto) is the first of six that I'm splitting with another coworker. I chose this game for one reason: Matthew Lombardi. Haven't seen Lombo live on the ice in almost two years (he spent last season with the Nashville Predators and, thanks to a concussion he received in early October, he missed all of his team's games against the Ducks).

And I was stuck with tickets to every Predator-Duck game.

So now Lombo is with the Leafs and he's recovered from that concussion. BUT, he suffered a shoulder injury last week and has been out on IR. ARGH.


One of these days, Lombo, I WILL see you again.

At least reason number two for getting this game was still valid: my seat buddy is a big Joffrey Lupul fan. Loops didn't leave the Ducks on a good note so we're expecting him to pour the heat on tonight.


It's amazing what kind of season Lupul has had with the Leafs. He went on record and exposed the cold reception he'd received from Coach Carlyle upon returning to the Ducks' lineup after his back surgery and blood infection. We knew he'd have plenty to prove tonight.

Please Loops, have mercy

Lost, also, in the Lupul trade was promising rookie Jake Gardiner. I'm still upset about that, the kid had major potential

Leafs goalies, rookie Ben Scrivens and veteran Jonas "The Monster" Gustavsson

Of course, we'd get The Monster tonight

We badly need a win. The Ducks are on a six-game losing streak and you can feel the tension on the bench. The boys started the game determined, and we even scored first.

Ducks celebrate after Francois Beauchemin's winning rocket down the slot

Playing aggressively the entire night, Lupul threw his weight around as he checked and pushed Ducks on their way back to the bench

Rough night for Sheldon Brookbank who took a puck to the face and got tripped and run over behind the net

Once the Leafs started scoring, a dark cloud came over the Ducks' bench. It was as if the players were collectively saying, "Oh dear God no, not again..." You could see the disappointment on their faces, in their body language, in the lack of energy.

It was heartbreaking.

Feel free, Ducks fans, to print this one out and fit it to your favorite dartboard, punching bag, etc...

Honestly, and this is just my opinion, I'm not a GM or coach nor do I ever want to have that kind of job hanging over my head, but I don't believe anyone on the bench is hearing Carlyle anymore. He was remarkably quiet during this game. I've previously seen him yelling, barking orders, planning plays during commercial breaks and the like. Tonight's game was different.

On the other hand, I loved how assistant coach Mike Foligno would pat guys on the shoulder after they got off the ice. He would lean his head to them and give them a few words when they took a seat back on the bench. Whether it was encouragement or constructive criticism, it just looked like a connection with someone who cares.

This is the guy I want to be our head coach. Look what he did with our PK, imagine what else he could do.

Our boys look lost and disheartened. They need guidance.

Teemu Selanne deserves better in his final season

Bobby Ryan: I guess I'm the pink elephant in the room...

Corey Perry's absolutely beautiful top shelf snap shot goal was easily lost in the Ducks' defeat

I don't know, Ducks fans. Something needs to happen, and I really don't believe it involves trading off our multiple-year 30+ goal scorers. But that's just me.

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..."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ducks vs Detroit Red Wings

Another loss. Not much else to say, just some pictures to share.

Check out Dan Ellis' new mask, inspired by the Ducks tradition of honoring one of our soldiers at every home game

Newly acquired off waivers from Calgary, defenseman Niklas Hagman. (Please save us?)

Corey Perry in his usual spot next to the opposing goaltender, waiting for pucks to tip in

Captain Ryan Getzlaf concentrating at the faceoff

Pavel Datsyuk, the one Red Wing I can't hate because he's just so damn silky smooth

My Zimbio
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