Season Opener: Anaheim Ducks @ Dallas Stars

Final Score: ANA 2, DAL 4

HOCKEY IS BACK!!!

So yeah, that was mostly a good game. The Dallas Stars are right back at it with their classic heart attack style of play. The first period was pretty terrible. We’re falling into an unusual pattern where we are getting significantly outshot. But despite that, Stars still scored first (on the first shot of the game, no less), and led the entire game. Once the boys got their legs back, it was an easier game to watch. Shout out to Niemi, for playing pretty spectacularly. Especially towards the end of the game when the Ducks were throwing everything they had at him. Let’s hope this dude sticks around.

Casual observations:

Penalties, man. On the bright side, the PK is looking pretty good. Thank you Jordie Benn for allowing the team to test that during your double minor…(which happened after the Captain found himself in the box as well)

On the flip side, the Power Play was downright atrocious. It’s literally the first game of the season, I get that, but I’d rather not go back to the same feeling of dread from last season when we went on the PP due to short-handed goals. It got better as the game progressed, but that was scary.

Our new guys seem to be fitting in quite well. So I am still pretty bummed about Janmark having to miss most, if not the entire season. But if our concern was a lack of scoring depth, I think we’ll be ok. Cracknell and Korpikoski flexed a bit of scoring muscles in their Dallas Stars debut (can I just say I am liking Cracknell more and more?).

Our defense has a new look. The blue line is looking a bit bigger these days. Stephen Johns continues to impress, and the pair of Johns and Oduya is still looking solid. Meanwhile, Ruff used this opportunity to do some experimenting with our other defensive pairs. The game started with Benn-Klingberg, and Hamhuis-Nemeth. Let’s just say that didn’t last past the first period. I particularly liked the Nemeth-Klingberg pairing, but we’ll see what happens when Oleksiak returns to the lineup.

Also, being the season opener, we got to see all the new video presentations along with the team introductions. All I have to say is the production team nailed it, as usual. They also used the opportunity to honor the police officers killed during the attack in Dallas this summer. Two of the families of the slain officers participated in the ceremonial puck drop to a standing ovation. It was incredibly emotional. Kudos to the organization for that. 

1 down, 81 to go. We’re buckling in for a long season, and at this point everyone is on even footing. Well except Auston Matthews, who is already ahead in goal scoring… But like I said. It’s a long season, and anything can happen. All I know at this point, hockey is back, baby.

Stephen Johns sporting the badge on his helmet to honor the police officers killed in the attack this summer.
Adam Cracknell during the post game show.

Stuff is Happening! (or it will be, in a couple of days)

So lets take a quick moment to recap important dates that are coming up this month and early October. The hockey season is right around the corner! I’m so excited! I can’t stop using exclamation points!

  • September 17th: The World Cup of Hockey kicks off
  • September 23rd-25th: Training Camp in Cedar Park

– Caitlynn and I will be making the drive to attend, so hopefully we’ll have some interesting content, plus some new photos to share. We will also be attending the scrimmage the last day of the camp.

  • September 26th: First pre-season game against the St. Louis Blues at the American Airline Center.
  • October 4th: Pre-season game against the Florida Panthers at the AAC
  • October 5th: Pre-season game against the Colorado Avalanche at the AAC
  • October 7th: Frozen Fury in Las Vegas (against the LA Kings)

-We will be attending this (for my birthday!), and are looking forward to getting a good look at T-Mobile Arena, where the new Vegas team will be playing. You better bet we will be documenting everything we can.

  • October 13th: SEASON OPENER AGAINST THE ANAHEIM DUCKS!!!!

So really, once the final weekend in September hits, we’re going to be a bit busy. But it’s the best thing ever.

 

 

Team Profile: The Anaheim Ducks

Congrats to the Ducks for being based off of a kids movie…at least in name. But seriously, the Ducks are a very young team that has found success pretty early on in their existence, which, after reading about all of these expansion teams, I now know is not the norm.

Here’s the summary:

  • Located in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference
  • Founded in 1993
  • Located in Anaheim, CA
  • Arena: Honda Center
  • Owner(s): Henry & Susan Samueli
  • GM: Bob Murray
  • Head Coach: Randy Carlyle
  • Captain: Ryan Getzlaf
  • Minor League Affiliate: San Diego Gulls
  • Stanley Cups: 1

Being a young team, they don’t have much in terms of history. But here’s an outline:

This team was founded by The Walt Disney Company. As is required for expansion teams, a hefty entrance fee was paid by Disney to the NHL, with more than half going to the LA Kings since they would be sharing Southern California. The team was indeed named after the Disney movie, The Mighty Ducks.

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Interesting to note, the Mighty Ducks broke records due to their successful debut season as an expansion team, matching the Florida Panthers, who were also an expansion team founded the same year.

1995 saw the arrival of Teemu Selanne from the Winnipeg Jets, ushering in the Selanne/Kariya era. This led to the Ducks making their first post-season appearance, making it to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs before getting eliminated by the Detroit Red Wings, the eventual champions.

During the 2000-2001 season, Selanne’s drop in production, among other issues the team had, caused the Ducks to trade him to the San Jose Sharks at the trade deadline. However he would come back a couple of years later as a free agent (in time to win the Stanley Cup with them).

In 2003 the Ducks made it back to the Stanley Cup playoffs in what would be an amazing, yet crushing run. They made it to the finals against the New Jersey Devils, only to lose in game 7. Notable points throughout this run:

  • The Ducks swept the Red Wings in the first round, eliminating the team that had knocked them out of contention their last post-season appearance
  • During their series against the Dallas Stars (booo), the 4th longest NHL game in history was played; the Ducks scored in the 5OT to give them the series lead
  • In the Western Conference Finals, goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere would post 3 consecutive shutouts against the Minnesota Wild. He let in one goal the entire series in the eventual sweep.
  • During the Stanley Cup Finals against the Devils, Rob Niedermayer faced off against his brother, Scott.
  • The Ducks managed to force a Game 7, but lost 3-0. Giguere was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for his heroic post-season performance, becoming the fifth player in history to win the trophy as part of the losing team.
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Giguere being presented with the Conn Smythe Trophy

In 2004, as the League headed towards a lockout, Disney sold the franchise to Henry and Susan Samueli, who pledged to keep the team in Anaheim. The “Mighty Ducks” was dropped from the name, and they officially became known as the “Anaheim Ducks”.

The Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007, defeating the Ottawa Senators. This would be their 3rd playoff appearance in franchise history, becoming the first California team to win the Stanley Cup Championship.

The Ducks have managed to make a couple of post-season appearances since then, and have remained at the top of the standings pretty consistently, however they have not managed to make it far into the playoffs since their success in 2007. This past season they were eliminated in the first round by the Nashville Predators.

Notable Players:

  • Teemu Selanne
  • Paul Kariya
  • Chris Pronger
  • Scott Niedermayer
  • Jean-Sebastian Giguere
  • Ryan Getzlaf
  • Corey Perry
  • Ryan Kesler

Despite my general disdain for the Ducks, I do admire them for the success they have had in their relatively short history. This team seemed to have skipped over the struggles that most expansion teams have. This past season ended on an extremely sour note, leading to the firing of head coach Bruce Boudreau (giving him the opportunity to go to the Minnesota Wild, so thanks a lot, Ducks), so it will be interesting to see how the team responds, especially since they decided to bring back Randy Carlyle, the guy that led them to their first Stanley Cup.