*Looks around tentatively* Is it okay to talk about this? I sure hope so because I’m going to do it anyway (forgive me Hockey Father).
I know they probably needed it - and I’m sure the time off helped much of the team to recuperate from what was a considerably disgusting first half of the season - but damn…did that All Star break come at the wrong time, or what?
That really leads us to the obvious question that is on everyone’s mind: Can the Ducks keep it rolling after a week away from the rink? If ever we were looking for a test to see if this team has truly become what the month of January showed us, now is the time. On the other hand, it might be possible that the 8-2-1 record was simply a tease. Something to keep Ducks fans hoping and praying that the previous months of embarrassment were simply to test our faithfulness to the organization. While I’m sure some fans have jumped ship and completely given up on this season, now is when the real test of faith and determination kicks in. You know, that whole "dedication" motto they’ve been forced to shove down our throats for the past year.
If this means that every game on the calendar is circled with a fat red marker to indicate do-or-die, so be it. If that means that Jonas Hiller has to continue to play lights out hockey, I’ll be sure to continue to dislike the guy. If it means that only a healthy Jason Blake in the lineup is the key to success, I’ll personally take on the role as his bodyguard and start blocking shots for him (be weary, Blake is questionable for tonight’s game and therefore this will be all my fault). If it means Corey Perry only plays with a mini-stick for the rest of the season…awesome. And if it means Bob Murray has to go on another tirade of threatening to trade every player on the roster, do it!
So, where do they stand coming into this final run? The Ducks have 43 points in 48 games played (17 of those points came in 2012 alone). They’re 13th in the West, right behind tonight’s opponent the Phoenix Coyotes who’ve got 52 points in 50 games. The 8th and final playoff spot is currently being held by the Colorado Avalanche who have 55 points in 49 games. The bottom line is that this season isn’t a runaway for anyone, not yet.
When it comes down to it the team knows the whole idea of a post season is a long shot yet not completely out of the question. They realize it’s up to them to make the playoffs a reality. Maybe they needed the month of January to knock some sense into their brains, to realize the pressures of a February trade deadline and a season running out of track means stepping into high gear.
I really hate to beat you with a dead horse (yes, that is the hilariously disturbing yet incredibly incorrect use of that phrase as delivered to me from my bestie), but losing isn’t an option.