The off-season is still boring! I know the big question is "Is it October yet?" but I'm beginning to ask "Is it freakin' September yet?" I'll take training camp over this repetitive news cycle (I'm looking at you, Kovy) any day. As seems to be the theme this off-season, I'm getting my hockey in off-and-on weekly doses. This past week was no exception.
First, we start with the introduction of the Joffrey Lupul Goal Counter. I'm beginning to think that people believe I WANT to post a picture of myself in a bikini on AC. Oh they are so wrong. When I made the original prediction, I was going with what I knew - Lupul has a difficult time saying no to non-hockey related activities. I'm an analyst by trade, so it was easy to conclude that I would be safe predicting that a healthy Joff wouldn't reach 35 goals.
Even my buddies at The Copper & Blue ran with their analysis of the goal counter, pitting the thought of me in a bikini versus their strong dislike of the former Oiler. Dude! They included a poll! Yeah, that's a great one for the self-esteem, but alas, I do love those boys in Edmonton. They took Ryan Whitney off our hands (thank you jeebus) and gave us Lubo.Well, the Fates were somewhat on my side this week. It was announced that Lupul is battling the blood infection once again and he would not be ready for training camp. Like I've said before, I wouldn't wish a blood infection on my worst enemy because that's pretty damn scary. I have to wish Lupul all the best in the hopes that he beats the infection once again...so he can start playing and become trade bait in the future. If he's not a Duck and scores 35 - no bikini!
Later on in the week, another Jen-prediction came true, but on a somewhat sad note. Paul Kariya will not be donning a Ducks uniform this season - as I've been saying all along. Unbeknownst to me, PK was suffering from post-concussion syndrome and has decided to take off the next season (Ok Arthur, and other fan-boys out there, I know it's possible he could sign mid-season). Although the guy did break my heart in my teenage years, no one wants to see a career end on something like this. He was the reason I fell in love with my team. Paul Kariya was my first athlete crush (JTT was my first celebrity crush). He meant the world to me, so of course I was crushed when he left to Colorado (no matter the reason ). I hope that PK is able to recover and end his career like any great player should - on the ice - yet, I still doubt it's in a Ducks uniform.
On Saturday, I dragged Kristin to a charity hockey event at Anaheim Ice called The Fedorin Cup. Proceeds from the game, auctions and casino night go to the fight against cancer. Because I am poor, I could only afford the $10 each tickets to the game, and not the super expensive casino night. Anyhoo, what made me want to go to the game? The Ducks that would be playing, duh. At first, it was billed as only Teemu Selanne and Todd Marchant playing. Then, as news started trickling it, Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf were announced as participants. Hmm...I wonder which player I was most excited to see? Probably, recent Crunch signee Joe DiPenta from the 2007 Cup team...hehe. My buddy Phil from DTV was the emcee. For a while, every time he spoke, Kristin giggled and start yelling "Jen Neal-EEE". People thought she was crazy. I sure did.
Ok, back to the game. It was Team USA versus Team Canada. Team USA had B-Ry, Marchant, Mike V. (as in the guy who beats up other Ducks fans for Scott Neidermeyer's stick), Jason Blake and from Switzerland, Luca Sbisa. OH! The cool part was Guy Hebert behind the bench as the coach. He looks EXACTLY the same. Next, Team Canada took the ice with Getzy, DiPenta, Dustin Penner (remember him?), former Mighty Duck Jason Marshall, and Pronger...Sean Pronger, also a former MD. There were other people there, but they were mostly people who bid on the opportunity to play or random former minor league players. Notice who wasn't on the ice for either team? Teemu! No idea why he wasn't there. My guess is that he's in a hyperbaric chamber back in Finland.
The game itself was pretty bland. Getzy scored a couple times. Bobby had a hat trick. Most of the NHL players played against each other on the top line, except for Sbisa. I have no idea why, but he ended up playing with all the Joe Schmoes. Kinda made me laugh. It ended in a shootout with team Canada winning 12-11. I will give it to Getzy, he tried to stir things up by tripping Bobby and jawing with him, but to no avail. It was great to see Getz back on skates. Every time he turned, I was watching that ankle. He's got that stride back, even if he was at a fourth of the speed. Needless to say, he looks amazing in more ways than one ☺
As far as Bobby, I expected the fans to be a lot more vocal. When he was first announced, there were a few shouts of "sign a contract!!" but nothing more than that. Frankly, I was disappointed in our Ducks faithful. So, after Bobby scored his hat trick, and it was somewhat quiet in the rink, I did the classy thing. I started chanting, "Four more years!" It didn't catch on. One guy shouted, "Sign Bobby. Sign" after me. Bobby probably heard us, but why would he care? I'm pretty sure after I yelled, a light didn't go on in his head saying, "Oh! What am I doing?! I should sign a contract immediately! That random blonde chick in my Team USA jersey thinks it's a great idea!" C'est la vie.
And finally, today was my first ever fantasy hockey draft for my team, The Magicians' Alliance. Somehow, I got the first pick in the draft and I went with Ovechkin. The rest of my team is as follows: Ryan Getzlaf, Saku Koivu, Dustin Penner, Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne, Chris Pronger, Shea Webber, Brooks Orpik, Kevin Bieksa, Dustin Byfuglien, Mike Fisher, Mikko Koivu, Pascal Dupuis, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Antti Niemi. Niemi doesn't have a team as of right now, so I might have to drop him. Honestly, I have NO IDEA what I'm doing. I could be the worst fantasy hockey manager in the world. This should be an interesting season.
And finally, Friday was the birthday of one of the nicest people on the planet, Anaheim Ducks' blogger Adam Brady. He made me laugh when I was ridiculously nervous hosting DTV. For that, I am forever grateful!
September 18th is only a few weeks away...