07 June 2007

Anaheim Ducks - your Stanley Cup Champions

Really has a ring to it, eh?

various observations/notes:

The Ducks should've worn this abomination last night:

Gary Bettman - as always - couldn't resist a snarky opportunity to stick a little needle to his critics when on the red carpet (I realize I'm old-fashioned when I pine for the days where there were no on-ice wireless mics and announcements, but I always prefer to have an event or moment sell itself. Welcome to the 21st century, I suppose...) he rhetorically, arrogantly, and self-servingly stated to the crowd "well, I guess hockey is doing pretty well in California!" knowing that his ever-growing legion of critics has been on him harder than ever regarding ill-advised markets, etc. Bettman loves to be able to point out the last three Cup champions: Tampa Bay, Carolina, Anaheim.

Hard not to love the play of Scott Niedermayer, a Hall-of-Fame mortal lock. But I thought the Conn Smythe could - and should - have gone to Andy MacDonald, who I'm guessing a lot of fans had very little idea about before this series. He's a game-breaker and was a constant threat during the entire series.

Steve Smith now has historical company in one Chris Phillips:

Overall, Ottawa played a rather pitiful series. Sure they had their moments where they looked like the team that steamrolled through the second half of the season and through the first three rounds of the playoffs - much of last night's second period for instance. But there were many who simply failed to compete - none more in my book than Jason Spezza. Spezza never showed any creativity with the puck and repeatedly failed on the defensive end of his game. Aside from countless turnovers his listless and frankly contact-avoidance style of play left his teammates (mostly Daniel Alfredsson, one of the few Sens forwards who brought game) in the lurch. Spezza registered just one shot over the final three games and overall in the five-game series registered just two points - both second assists.

Although he was not the reason they lost, Ray Emery looked shaky throughout. Despite a few highlight-reel saves, his positioning is just awful and he has no idea how to control a rebound. From my observing him, he also seems to lose sight of the puck much more often than other goalies. I became a believer in Emery this year after his playoff flame-out last season. However, after this performance, Emery will have to improve if the Sens hope to repeat next season as Eastern Conference champions.

At any rate, congratulations to the Ducks. In no way were they a fluke champion, they either held the West lead or were within a few points of it all season, and crushed the high-scoring Senators team in five. With the young core of talent in Anaheim, they have a great chance at either repeating or getting back to the finals within the next few years.

And if Teemu Selanne decides to go out Lanny McDonald style and retire, what a great ride it has been.
From his never-to-be-duplicated 76-goal rookie season in Winnipeg to his post-lockout resurgence in Anaheim (88 goals in the past two seasons) over the past 14 years fans have been treated to one of the all-time greats. Congratulations to one of the nicest and classiest athletes to ever play in North America.

The NHL draft begins two weeks from tomorrow night.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bettman's such a jerk, and has totally ruined the league. It's time for him to go...