Not fair. Koivu Is at least a foot shorter. - Jeff Gross
"That shit cray" - Kanye West
Popularity is a funny thing when it comes to sports. As a society, we like to build teams up (San Jose) and then tear them down just as fast (San Jose).
The 2013 Ducks are now the polar opposite of themselves from the previous season. In 2011-2012, around November-December, the disaster that was the Anaheim Ducks saw the ousting of the team's long time coach, the hiring of a players coach and the circus of trade rumors involving everyone on the team (except for Corey Perry). After 16 games, this group of Ducks were 6-7-3 and the most popular girl at the party.
The East Coast and Canadian media couldn't get enough of the surprising debacle in Anaheim. I have no idea why they were so surprised, it's not like they didn't predict this exact scenario. The fire sale didn't happen and the Ducks started to improve greatly, going on a crazy tear, losing only three times in the month of January. As the team got better, the spotlight began to fade. The team crapped out to close the season but the attention wasn't so great.
Flash back to the present. After 16 games, the 2013 Ducks are 13-2-1. They currently sit at the top of the Pacific Division with a Scott Niedermayer-worth of points (27 - get it?!). San Jose sits eight points behind at 19. Chicago decided to be scary good this year leading the West overall with 33 points; the Ducks are second.
Where's the attention now? Exactly where is should be, somewhere else.
It's focused on the loss of Evgeni Malkin to a likely concussion. It's focused on the continuing drama of Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo in Vancouver. It's focused on the Kings being 'right where they want to be' to make a post season push all the way to trophy town.
I fully believe in an East Coast versus West Coast bias. (East Coast writers are just jealous of the weather.) For the first time maybe ever, I'm OK with Anaheim being left out of the spotlight. Think about it, any sort of failure (like the god-awful penalty kill) is less of a talking point by the media and the players aren't being questioned about it endlessly. The goaltending tandem of Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth aren't pressured to be Vezina winners every game because they don't have fans breathing down their necks.
Dare I even say it: this team is kinda good.
For now, enjoy being the best kept secret of the NHL. It takes the pressure off the team and makes games a little more fun. The Ducks will continue to show up when it counts (except for the first period of games).