Saturday, December 31, 2011

AVS GAMEDAY PRIMER: Anaheim Ducks, 12/31/11

The Good Guys: Are a little less "good" than they were two days ago at this time. Matt Duchene's knee injury, suffered on Thursday night against Phoenix, will keep him out of action for at least a month. Winger David Jones is expected to be back in the lineup sooner rather than later, but the loss of Duchene for a wicked January stretch that sees the Avs on the road for 12 of 15 games will put this young team to the test.

Bunch of Dicks: the Anaheim Ducks started the 2011-12 season by winning 4 of their first 5 games. Since then, the Ducks have gone on a wretched 6-19-6 stretch that saw Stanley Cup winning head coach Randy Carlyle lose his job. In his place, the Ducks hired jolly fat fuck Bruce Boudreau, who hasn't fared much better than his predecessor. A lack of depth beyond the Ducks' killer top 4 forwards, in tandem with the failures of Lubomir Visnovsky (NHL Second Team Allstar) and Jonas Hiller (Allstar Game participant) to duplicate their outstanding 2010-11 campaigns has conspired to leave Ducks fans in a FOWL mood, and has left fans and media members alike to make really bad foul/fowl jokes.

We Like: The recent resilience shown by the Avalanche. After showing themselves to be an extremely fragile team during their midseason collapse a year ago, and at times early in this season, the Avs have faced down adversity in the form of injuries to top 6 forwards Peter Mueller and David Jones. In addition, this is a team that seems to have recaptured some of the magic and enthusiasm of their 2009-10 playoff season behind veteran goalie JS Giguere, who will start tonight in his first trip back to Anaheim since he was traded from there to Toronto in 2010... Semyon Varlamov had another one of "those games" on Thursday against Phoenix where he's shown the flashes of brilliance expected of him.... TJ Galiardi has continued to be the grinding, agitating force he needs to be when he's at his best... Seeing old friend Shjon Podein on the ice (and scoring one of his patented greasy goals) during the Flyers/Rangers alumni game today.

We Don't Like: The idea of a team that's already sorely lacking in scoring depth lose it's most electrifying player during a key stretch of the season. Who's going to step up?... The idea that Teemu Selanne will end his illustrious career on this struggling Ducks team. Forget Winnipeg; wouldn't he look really good in a Bruins, Penguins, Blackhawks, or Sharks jersey heading into the playoffs? How about another chance in burgundy and blue, if the Avs are still in the playoff race at the deadline?

Randomly: Do you think Bobby Clarke's hockey pads smell like a colostomy bag?

Tonight's Hero: goalie JS Giguere makes a triumphant return to the city that saw him raise a Conn Smythe trophy and a Stanley Cup with a sparkling performance.

Tonight's Goat: It pains me to say it, because he's one of my favorite players to watch, but Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf has been playing a remarkably inconsistent game as his team has struggled. Watch for a matchup against Erik Johnson and Giguere to provide Getzlaf with another frustrating night.

Final Thought: Seriously, what genius thought this was a good idea?

Avs 4, Ducks 1

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