There was a good Bobby Ryan shift in Game 1. It was in the bottom six, and his linemates were displaying Golden Retriever blood, but I'm comfortable pointing to it as one good Bobby Ryan shift in the 21 he had.
According to the OC Register, Ryan is back on the top line in practice. And I think that's a good thing. Sure, he's had flashes of December Bobby Ryan, a player whose game belonged on a milk carton in a walk-in refrigerator somewhere in Outer Mongolia, but it was ultimately Corey Perry who laid down the trail of bread crumbs back to Ryan's offense, so why not put the kid back with the top shelf liquor? Of course, these are just line rushes, and Carlyle won't stay with anything that doesn't work, even if Ryan does play on the first line again. Still, worth noting, I thought. [Editor's Note: In the Game 1 intro video, when Ahlers says "one of the top lines in the NHL," I'm pretty sure they just showed a picture of Getzlaf and Perry's sweaters hanging in the locker room. Ouch, no?]
I had hoped that Sleek would continue Episode VI for tonight's game, but he emailed me this morning to say he wouldn't and that I should stop emailing him every week to see when the next installment is coming out.
At the game on Wednesday, a Ducks fan represented to me that Anaheim had lost every Game 1 in the 2007 postseason. That's not true. Not at all, actually. The Randy Carlyle Ducks are 2-3 losing Game 1, and undefeated when winning the opening contest.
But I wondered about the value of thinking something like that, thinking that home ice at the Pond hasn't been everything, or that there were players in this group that specifically remembered that home ice hadn't been everything, once upon a time. It's not a bad mindset to have, and I suppose it doesn't matter if you tell yourself a little white lie to get there. That's for the players, of course; fans should have the good sense to keep their facts straight, as what they're thinking has no effect on the outcome of a game.
But losing home ice advantage to open the series is usually when people start talking about the hole you're digging. You now have to win an away game. Lose the first two, and you're talking about the 2-0 hole, then the unicorn that is overcoming the 3-0 hole. It's quicksand.
For the Ducks, it may be nothing more than failing to show up for Game 1, failing to "execute," they said repeatedly. But the learning curve is steep in the playoffs, and the two series that Carlyle's Ducks have been able to emerge from a Game 1 loss are generally considered classics.