Kyle's Hand Shake Line: Giving Props Where Props are Due

Jeff Gross

I think I know what it's like going down the line after getting eliminated from a series like that now.

So the Wings got the better of us. I've said it many times over the past couple weeks, there's nothing to remind you of how much you hate another team like playing them in the playoffs. And yet despite the fact that Detroit is easily one of my most hated, the Ducks had a really bad habit of running into them. I say had because THANK GOD those entitled, diving schmucks they are bound for the comfy Eastern Conference so they don't have to travel. Good riddance. Won't miss them.

Gripes over, they played a whale of a series and it was entertaining right till the very end. So without further ado I have to give out some kudos.

- Elusive, pretty Kudos to Pavel Datsyuk, who made me figuratively pee my pants literally every time he was on the ice (note the correct usage of "figuratively" and "literally"). The guy lived up to his reputation in my mind as easily the best player in the world right now, even when he wasn't scoring. Every time he touched the puck he was dangerous. He picked off passes, he read plays, he made the solid decisions, and ultimately he played seven very strong games. Despite everyone making a big deal about how the Ducks had been shutting him and fellow stud Henrik Zetterberg down, both exploded for 7 and 8 points respectively, tops on their team. Datsyuk also won a huge battle in the faceoff circle, holding Ryan Getzlaf to only a 33.3% success rate. It was so easy for Detroit to clear their lines and make the Ducks chase the puck when they started play after play after play with the puck.

Ultimately in the battle of best players, Detroit's guys won, and boy did they win big in games five through seven.

- Gritty, under-appreciated kudos to Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall, who went head-to-head with what many considered to be one of the best duos in hockey and shut them down. Getzlaf found a way to get six points on the board, but fellow twin Perry only managed the aforementioned two, neither of them goals. Their constant frustration of the big line meant Anaheim's depth had to step up, and while it did, it wasn't enough to win the series.

- And lastly, extremely unwilling and bitter kudos to Jimmy Howard. While he wasn't diving around like a fish gasping for water when someone so much as skated within 30 feet of him, Howard stole a few of these games for Detroit. First and foremost, he had Corey Perry's number. Despite leading the team with 24 shots on goal, some of them so golden I'd dare say they turned pure platinum, Howard held him scoreless. Not only that but he caught so many of Perry's shots right in his stupid winged-wheel logo that no rebounds came out.

While his attitude and sportsmanship antics deserve nothing but the stinkiest, slimiest turds, mad props to his skill. I knew coming into this series he was a Duck killer. On multiple occasions during this series he wound up being arguably the biggest one.

Man, I can't imagine how hard it is to proceed down a handshake line after getting eliminated like that; it was hard enough writing this. I've lost regional championships and major national games on the collegiate level and it was easier.

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