I was talking about the Ducks season (so far) with a friend the other day. He said something that resonated with me - this Ducks team is like a bad, yet comfortable, relationship. Even if you don't really understand what I'm talking about, you've probably been there.
You're dating someone that you weren't really sure about in the beginning. It was new, kind of fun, and a way to get yourself out of the house. However, you had zero expectations going into the relationship that this person was"The One".
Once Scotty retired, everyone knew the Ducks were facing an uphill battle just to build an OK defense. With Bobby Ryan's re-signing in the summer, the Triplets would be united on the top line to make up a majority of the team's scoring. Add that to a healthy Joffrey Lupul, and a strong showing from the Masterton Line, and one can only come to the conclusion that we would be able to score a lot of goals, even if we couldn't stop a lot of goals. Of course the voice in the back of my head knew that with all things the way they were going into the draft, we'd be lucky to slide into the playoffs in one of the bottom seeds. A woman should always trust her instincts, but I still hold out hope for a second Cup. This relationship couldn't be as bad as all my friends (the NHL media) said they were going to be, right?
Flash forward a couple months and you're still dating the person, more out of routine than actual feelings. You've had your ups and downs. There are days where he/she is the most amazing person in the world, and he/she reminds you why you've kept with it for so long.
Little Cammy Fowler has been such a bright spot. My past worries of his NHL-readiness are now distant memories. The actual defensive core is even more surprising. Luca Sbisa has finally found his game. Lubomir Visnovsky and Toni Lydman are towards the top of the league leaders in assists and plus/minus ratings, respectively. The Andreas Lilja signing ended up being a steal. Oh! And Jonas Hiller. (I write this after coming back from the Ducks 1-0 victory over the Sharks.) To borrow from Weezer, "My name is Jonas, and I'm carrying the whale (Ducks). Thanks for all you've shown us..." He saves the Ducks' collective asses time and time again. Then there's Corey Perry. One of the most hated figures in the NHL, so you know he's doing something right - just Corey being Corey. By far one of the more underrated players who is known more for his douchey behavior on the ice than his actual talent.
Then there are the days where he/she does the same thing that's bothered you all long.
Wow, what a let down Andy Sutton has been. Don't forget we've got Aaron Voros on the IR, a place he can't stay forever, no matter how much we hope that he does. It hurts my heart to say this, but Getzlaf has been less than spectacular. I don't think I've ever seen so many turnovers committed by a single person. Maybe they're just not that into Carlyle? To the fans, his contract extension was met with a mostly negative reaction. How could that not be expected after the mediocre result of last season, and the inability to keep Bobby Ryan on the same line an entire game? Beyond the coaching and the odd moves by the GM, the team struggles to find its identity/motivation/chemistry/mojo/consistency/groove/whatever. There are flashes of greatness only to be followed by sleepy, lackluster play. For the most part, we beat the good teams and get killed by the crappy ones.
Yet you stick with it, feeling that better days are ahead. Hey, he/she remembered your birthday after seeing all the posts on your Facebook wall. They didn't "forget their wallet" that night at dinner, either. That means they care, right?
Last night was the first game where I thought, "Holy crap. They can actually be really, really good for an ENTIRE game." Blocking shots (not with their faces), finishing their checks, planting themselves in front of the net, doing the work that needs to be done. Maybe I'm getting my hopes up. It seems like this time of year, we play the best the few weeks before the All-Star break, only to stink it up the rest of the way. Yet, I don't think they're going to let me down this time.
I've loved this team for so long, I'm not ready to quit on us. What am I going to do? Start dating the Sharks or Kings? Please. I'm not desperate or an attention whore.