As I walked into Honda Center Wednesday night, I had a plan. I was going to pick a Duck and focus on him whenever he was on the ice and do my best to break down his game for you kind readers. That will have to wait, because before the first TV timeout Nashville was up 2-0 and the beer in my hand became the first of many. So instead it's the second installment of Duck U: RIV 101 - Nashville Predators.
I am a hockey addict. To support my addiction I have a full time job. While I'm there I do anything I can to immerse myself in the game; mostly this means piping a constant stream of hockey talk directly into my brain by listening to NHL Home Ice on my phone's Sirius/XM app. There usually isn't a whole lot of Ducks talk on the station, and when there is it can get repetitive. If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase "arguably the best line in hockey" ... but I digress. The Ducks/Preds game being one of three Wednesday and the pre-game chirping bought us some air time.
As the "War of Words" heated up, the game was hyped as a grudge match - a budding rivalry between two non-traditional markets and a rematch of last year's grueling playoff series (which nobody watched because Chicago was playing Vancouver). At first I was reluctant to admit it, but there does seem to be the makings of a rivalry between Anaheim and Nashville. They've played in the playoffs, the players clearly have a healthy distaste for one another and, I don't know about you guys but I have some issues with the Nashville fans.
There are two problems with this being a rivalry, though. First, is there isn't really any competitive balance. The Ducks can't seem to beat the Preds. Since the beginning of last season they've played 12 times and Nashville has won nine. Not only that, as a team they score a lot of goals against the Ducks. In those 12 games, the Preds have averaged 3.83 goals. For perspective, last year they averaged 2.57 against the other 28 teams combined.
The other thing working against the Ducks/Preds "rivalry" is that it's so petty and childish. It's only been a few months and I'm sick of it already. Wysh wrote about it. Eric Stephens wrote about it. Jeff Miller wrote about it. Adam Brady wrote about it. Jen wrote about it . Reader detroitsucks13 wrote about it. And now I'm writing about it.
With that kind of coverage you'd think it was some huge controversy eroding the very fabric of the game, but here's a synopsis:
- Getzlaf 10/30: Tootoo dives!
- Getzlaf 11/8: No seriously, Tootoo is a diver!
- Tootoo 11/9: That's my job, sucker!
- Trotz 11/9: The Ducks all take cheap shots away from the play! And they're whiners!
- Getzlaf 11/10: You're a stinky jerk-face!
- Trotz 11/10: I'm rubber, you're glue ...
I may have made those last two up, but they're not out of place. To make matters worse with all this whining, they're all legitimate arguments. The Preds dive all over the place, the Ducks get away with as much as they can, Getzy is whining and has more pressing issues to worry about on the ice, and Jordin Tootoo is a stinky jerk face. We went through all of this in the spring. It reminds me of Night at the Roxbury. I didn't like it in small doses. Why would I want to sit through 90 minutes of it?
Speaking of annoying things, I know I'm asking for it here based on the game thread comments but, why does every chant in Nashville's arena end with some variation of the word suck? I can handle a "Ref You Suck!" or even that stupid Addams Family song at Staples, but the Preds fans take it to another level.
"Hiiiiiilll-eeeeeer! Hiiiiiilll-eeeeeer! YOU SUCK!"
Thanks for clearing that up. I thought the sing song chanting of his name meant you like him.
Even after they score: "Yay! We scored! You SUCK!"
So ... You're better than someone who sucks ... congratulations? I don't get it.
It seems to be a really fun, unique atmosphere in Nashville and I'd love to go to a game there one day, but I just can't stand that aspect of the crowd.
Now that I've gotten myself all riled up about it, I can admit that there is some ground work for a rivalry between these two teams, but for now, with all due respect to Kevin Lowe and the catch phrase over at BoC, it's probably the most pathetic rivalry in the NHL.