The Ducks are entering the All Star break having won 10 of their last 13, including 3 of 4 on the road. Hiller is being mentioned in Vezina discussions and maybe should be mentioned in the Hart debate. Perry has been unbelievable. Teemu Selanne is producing more than a point per game, and Visnovsky is now the top scoring defenseman in the league, not that he'll get Norris consideration.
It's beginning to look like the inconsistency issues are a thing of the past. Still, Hiller sees an astronomical number of shots, and the Ducks have dissolved into a defensive shell that cost them a lead in Montreal and almost cost them one in Columbus. Arthur, do you think the Ducks have rounded the consistency corner, or will Anaheim fans have some infuriating experiences down the stretch?
Well, I don't want to jinx anything, but I think there's a good reason that discussion has turned to how well this team recovered from the Olympic break last year. Can this team stay the course? Will they lose momentum? These are legitimate questions because they've dropped the ball before.
As such, I can't really do more than, deep deep down in places I don't talk about at parties, hope that they hang on to the momentum they've built and hope that they stay the course. The nucleus of incredible things is there. The power play is clicking, and players are confident in creating shots without the distributive efforts of Ryan Getzlaf, you could even argue they're better for the extra time with the puck. Lines are finding shelter from the shuffle, and thus the chemistry that you wonder if they might have found if Carlyle had pocketed his pencil much much earlier.
It's a snapshot of success in a season that has seen a lot of failure in a lot of facets of the Anaheim game, but you hope that it's the nucleus of something much much bigger and better than the team has delivered thus far.
I think Anaheim fans will have some infuriating experiences down the stretch. But, I've come to embrace that fact as a Ducks fan. The Ducks have become consistent in their inconsistency, and I think that's a huge step forward. If they play poorly only once every 4-5 games, like they did in Toronto, then they can still pull together a very successful season. There's no telling what will happen as the season continues.
Getzlaf will be back after the break, Murray is probably going to make one good trade and one crazy one. But the Ducks have been less frustrating than they were earlier this year. That's a great sign going forward. I have high hopes that they can keep themselves entrenched in the playoff battle until the end of the year. They're going to have bad games, probably a good amount of them. But, if Hiller can save them from some of those efforts, and they can limit the times he can't, it will be a fun end to the season. What else could a fan want?