If the game before the players' closed-door meetings with Randy Carlyle was atrocious and evidence of how this Ducks team has no passion, then the game after was clear and convincing evidence of the contrary. The goals didn't always come from battles won, but the Ducks were winning battles on the ice. And after Ryan Getlaf left with a cut to the forehead, some very interesting line shuffles proved successful-- shocking for a team whose chemistry has seemed so fragile this year.
The tongue in cheek question here is 'why not have these meetings after every loss?' but there is some uncomfortable truth to that, as the effects of these heart-to-heart's have worn off in the past. Daniel, do you think this session of grievance airing will have a lasting effect on the rest of the Anaheim season, or do you think it's just a matter of time before the team gets back to the recent vintage of Ducks hockey?
The Ducks haven't proven that they can play well night-in and night-out. Until they do, I'm going to assume that the inconsistency is going to return. Hiller stood on his head tonight, but he shouldn't be counted on to do that every night. It's a miracle that the Ducks only gave up one goal considering how often they were shorthanded and how many shots Jonas Hiller saw.
Another thing to consider is Getzlaf. Until we definitely know how he is, there's an outside chance that Carlyle will have to do more line shuffling. We all know how much he loves that, and how well it works out for us. These sessions are nothing new, and every time the Ducks win a couple of games only to go right back to disappointing lackluster efforts. This organization is inconsistent from the GM down. When it comes to positive streaks from the Ducks, I choose to take a wait and see attitude. I give them credit for a solid effort, but at some point we have to stop giving out tee-ball trophies.
I think we're all looking for the indices of lasting improvement. And this is a very attractive story. Imagine if it was just a communication breakdown. Imagine if in just the second of these meetings this year, after several players have gotten healthy and acclimated, this team found its groove through a cute little rap session. I can practically hear the Liev Schreiber narration.
Unfortunately, the story of this team for the past season and a half (arguably longer) has been the open defiance of the standard storyline. Thankfully, I haven't heard the words "turning point" this season, though Brian Hayward must have said it more than a dozen times last year. And that's because, with normal teams, you expect them to learn, to improve or even just to reach a rock bottom. This has not been a normal team.
So, yeah, I can't expect any kind of lasting improvement. I'd love to point to things-- Bobby Ryan isn't alone in his optimism I'm sure --but at the end of the day, this team has shown the indices of lasting improvement before . . . and they've shown the ability to regress and recoil to the same mailed-in performance that prompted a wake up call.