‘Never Give Up’ Ducks
In the first seven games of this season, the Anaheim Ducks were held to only one win making it the worst start in franchise history. To make matters worst, the Ducks were shutdown offensively and were reduced to only six goals. Getzlaf, Kesler and Perry only have one point each in the past seven games. To top it off, the Ducks were shut out four of the seven games they played. They are now currently at the bottom of the Pacific division, which is unheard of since they won their division for three straight seasons.
It’s hard to believe that a team of this offensive caliber to be in this type of predicament. Despite a faulty powerplay (which is also inexcusable), they have one of the best offensive teams in the league. Adding Ryan Kesler into the mix in 2014, they became even more dangerous. With his help, they made it to the Conference Finals last season, but only to lose to the eventual Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.
This past postseason, the Ducks retooled and made some key additions to their lineup. They added Carl Hagelin after trading Emerson Etem to provide more speed and offensive skill. They also signed Shawn Horcoff and Mike Santorelli (he is currently the Ducks leading scorer this season with two points) to add veteranship. Finally, they added Kevin Bieksa from Vancouver (former teammates with Kesler) to add more toughness to the blue line.
Prior to the start of this season, the Anaheim Ducks were predicted to not only win the division and conference, but ultimately become the next Stanley Cup champion.
But if the Ducks continue to play like this, they will miss the playoffs altogether. Even worst, the team will be discredited as the team with the most offensive weapons but can only shot blanks.
Some people (including so-called “Ducks fans”) have already started to panic. Throwing away their jerseys and jumping onto winning teams’ bandwagons. Some are even saying that the franchise is slowly going through a demise and losing money (thankfully the Samueli family remains optimistic) in the process.
But the strange thing is: I’m not worried one bit.
As an Anaheim Ducks fan since ’93 and idolizing Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne growing up, I have seen every bump and hurdle this team has faced. Through trying seasons where they would be on the bottom of the totem pole and not make the playoffs, I still cheer them on. Whenever the team faced embarrassment and were mocked at, I still proudly wear my Mighty Ducks jersey. When they faced disappointment, whether it be losing in the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals against the Devils or losing in three game 7’s in the past three seasons, I stood behind them and gave them my support.
Most of all, I’ve seen this team in their best moments. Seeing Paul and Teemu emerge as one of the NHL’s dynamic duos, Kariya’s “Off The Floor, On The Board” moment and of course, seeing become the first NHL team in California to win the Stanley Cup in 2007.
I bleed purple (technically the proper color name was eggplant) and jade, and now orange and black. I live and breath for this team.
The fact that I heard fans dropping and throwing their jerseys is very disrespectful. Not just to the team and organization, but also to us fans who have been there since the beginning.
We stand by our team. No matter what.
In times like this, it’s every easy to criticize the coach for not doing his job. I will say this, we can’t put the blame entirely on Coach Boudreau. Yes, it is the coaches responsibility to set the proper formations, plays and give his team the inspiring words to help them play better. He’s been doing that since the joining the team in 2011.
With all the success he has had the Washington Capitals and the Ducks, it’s very difficult to blame everything on Coach Boudreau.
So I wouldn’t go around firing him just yet.
I feel that the team’s lack of motivation and drive to win is what’s causing them to fail this early in the season. Yes, I understand and respect the fact the team takes full responsibility for their poor play, but the thing is, you can only talk about accountability for so long in the press. Ultimately, it boils down to whether or not the team has learned from their mistakes and made strides to improve themselves.
The Ducks are a confident team especially in their offensive abilities and winning games when it matters (we were known for our “comebacks” last season). But I’m afraid that the pressure of winning has finally got to them. Most especially during the playoffs. In the past three seasons, the Ducks have lose three critical game 7’s in the playoffs. In 2013, they lost to the Red Wings in the Quarter Finals. In 2014, it was against the Kings in 2014 in the Semi-Finals. Most recently in 2015, it was against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Conference Finals. All of these were on home ice.
I can’t imagine what the team is felt after losing that third game 7 last season at the Honda Center, but I know that something like that could have dented their egos and made them feel less motivated.
The best thing I can say in times like these is this:
The team’s past failures is not an indication of what their future will be.
For those that believe the odds are against them, I’ll give you an example: our rivals, the Los Angeles Kings.
During the 2011–2012 season, the Kings were 3rd in the Pacific division and 8th in the Western Conference. They won their final game of the season and barely made the playoffs. Coming in, they were the least favored team to win the Stanley Cup. In addition to that, they were even shutout a league high 10 times during the season. The odds against couldn’t be greater.
But the Kings prevailed in the playoffs. They beat the first, second and third seeded teams in the Western Conference and were the first eighth seeded to win the Stanley Cup in NHL history. They never had home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
I hope that this would motivate the Ducks into winning again this season.
The Anaheim Ducks are a much better team now then they were before and we are more than capable of turning things around, but only if our players can let go of their past failures. This is crucial if the team wants to start winning games again. We just need to overcome this hurdle.
Offense: Keep on digging. Even if you have to take 100 shots a game.
Defense: Play tighter. Always clear the middle.
Goaltenders: Enter the ice with a clear focus. Be ready for anything.
Powerplay: Capitalize puck possession and move in unison. Take advantage of deflections and lucky bounces.
Penalty Kill: Stay in the zone. Protect the middle.
Most importantly, NEVER GIVE UP.
Remember, we are behind you all the way.
Let’s get to work, boys.