Over the past week, in the comments of the posts, I've noticed one theme (out of many) being repeated several times. Since the passing of the tread deadline on February 27th, the Ducks have sucked. This got me wondering, were they really playing for their playoff lives or playing to stick around in So Cal for the rest of the season?
On January 4th, Ducks GM Bob Murray made it clear that if the Ducks didn't start winning, people were going to start leaving. As those of us that have followed the team since Murray assumed the GM role from Brian Burke know that these threats are pretty standard when the Ducks put together a crappy string of games. After changing the coach, which was taking a longer time to adjust to, you can only assume that trades were next. The players had to realize the same thing and got their crap together for the first time this season.
From Murray's threats on January 4th and up until the day before the trade deadline on February 26th, the Ducks amassed a record of 17-4-4. This run gave Murray no reason to break up the team and cause a rift in the chemistry of the locker room. Following the trade deadline on February 27th and up through yesterday, the Ducks have gone 2-4-0. Was the pressure of everyone being on the trading block (for the most part) enough of a scare tactic to push the Ducks into performing? Now that it's no longer an issue and only a few players are playing for new contracts, are the Ducks elite content with their seemingly sealed fate?
The only people I would exclude from this assumption are Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry. Selanne doesn't want to go out on a low note. Perry lives for this game and knows that anything remotely short of his performance last season is unacceptable. Everyone else is up in the air. I realize it's a far fetched hypothesis, but it's definitely something to consider.
Tonight's game versus Dallas is going to be the indicator of how the rest of the Ducks want to finish their season. Either they are going to put out 75% effort and ultimately lose, or they're going to play like the trade deadline is still days away. I'd rather have them go out fighting than half-assing it the rest of the way.