After finishing a meal I slaved all-day over (this is no joke, I got up at 5 a.m. to start the turkey), I'm really ambivalent about the Ducks. In fact, if our game against Chicago hadn't become a sort of annual tradition where my parents go to a Ducks game with me, I'd probably swear off this game entirely to sink further into the beta testing for Star Wars: The Old Republic. [Ed. Note: Nerd.]
My personal distractions aside, the major news coming out of Wednesday's game against Phoenix (aside from that whole disappointing effort and loss thing) was Bobby Ryan's hip contusion. While Bobby didn't practice on Thursday, Carlyle told the media on Thursday that he expects Bobby "should be able to make a contribution" against Chicago.
Given the team's current slide, I can't for the life of me see why there should be any reason to hurry Bobby back into the lineup. His injury was obviously significant enough on Wednesday night to limit him to a season-low 10:32 of ice time (he was NOT benched, as some had hypothesized) and keep him out of practice the following day. You might as well give Bobby all the time he needs to fully recover and take this opportunity to experiment a bit with line combinations. Daniel has been pleading for a Devante Smith-Pelly audition on the big line all year and I think he deserves a chance. Hell, it seems that almost every other winger has seen a shift with the twins this year, and it might be fun to watch Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and DSP to take out their frustrations on Chicago.
I expect Honda Center to be about 50-50 in terms of Ducks and Blackhawks fans, and I really can't blame the Anaheim faithful for staying home or being shouted down. This team has given us almost nothing to cheer about for the past five weeks, and I don't anticipate things changing much against a talented Chicago squad that currently sits 2 points behind conference-leading Minnesota.
On the plus side, the Ducks' season skid began way back on October 21st during a home game against the Stars that my mom attended. This will be the second game she sees at Honda this year, and maybe returning to the scene of the crime will reverse the curse.
At this point, it's about the only hope I have left.