Oilers at Ducks Preview: What if the NHL Was a Boarding School?

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Stepping away from our regular preview format for a minute, let's take a humorous look as to what life would be like if every NHL team were a student at a dysfunctional boarding school.

Let's take a moment and do something completely different.

Let's take a stroll to an imaginary place where there is a beautiful boarding school filled with young, aspiring people studying and striving the best they can to improve themselves in hope of one day finding life's great success.

Or well, at least that's what the headmaster says.

In reality, 30 of these students are NHL teams and to be honest some of them are pretty useless. Some are fantastic, some are obnoxious, and still others are great for hanging up in the locker room by their underwear.

So if we were to walk into this boarding school, what would the personality of each of these NHL students be like?

Well I have a few ideas.

Pittsburgh

The huge kiss-ass who constantly wants all the attention and all the teachers love (Especially Prof. Pierre) and won't punish even if he does something completely douchey.

Philadelphia

The kid who's pretty dumb and constantly mad about it which makes for a hilarious show. Occasionally has his brilliant moments though. Usually pretty funny to watch so nobody really hates him too much except Pittsburgh for stealing his spotlight.

NY Rangers

The football team's star quarterback who everyone thinks is the bees' knees, but in fact is pretty stupid despite his potential.

NY Islanders

The geek who the high school quarterback constantly gives wedgies to in gym class.

Montreal

The kid from another country who is apparently from some important family so he absolutely will not shut up about his heritage and every single thing his family has done for the last hundred-plus years.

Detroit

That kid who will always be one of the top students in the class no matter how much he might struggle throughout the year. Everyone hates him because of his giftedness. Seems to have tons of friends who just suddenly show up wherever he goes.

San Jose

That kid who aces every single test the entire year with flying colors, only to have a major panic attack in exam week and fail spectacularly.

Toronto

That kid who's extremely rich so he thinks he's super popular but in reality annoys a lot of people. Constantly overthinks every single decision and often times fails because of it. His grandpa hates foreigners and isn't shy about it.

Vancouver

The kid who constantly thinks the teachers are out to get him and are giving him failing grades purely because they hate him. Once trashed the entire classroom out of sheer anger after missing a perfect score by a single point.

Calgary

The kid whose life is in shambles ever since his best friend of many years left him to have a chance at actually doing something meaningful in his career.

Boston

That kid who Calgary's best friend now hangs out with. Will most likely beat you up or shove your neck into a pane of glass for virtually no reason, but the teachers won't punish him for fear of him doing the same to them.

Edmonton

Calgary's roommate who's frozen in an ice block for 80% of the school year.

Florida

That kid in the back of the classroom who's pretty dumb and most of the class forgets he even exists most of the time. Ate paste in elementary school. Still does.

Anaheim

That kid in the back of the classroom who's pretty smart but most of the class forgets he even exists most of the time. Frequently convinces Edmonton to trade his cupcakes for Anaheim's stale chips at lunch.

Chicago

The kid who's both popular and brilliant, but can never seem to outsmart Anaheim at anything and this royally pisses him off.

St. Louis

Chicago's roommate who is almost just as brilliant but constantly lives in his shadow so he just longs for his day of glory.

Phoenix

That kid whose family is not very well-off. He's there only by the grace of a scholarship from the school's headmaster, but a lot of people wonder why the hell he was even allowed into this school in the first place. But nonetheless is still rather brilliant a lot of the time.

Colorado

That kid who was amazing at sports in junior high, but hasn't adapted to the new levels as he's gotten older. Once punched down a wall between his room and the one next to it.

Tampa Bay

That kid who has the tools he needs to be a genius, yet only can get his act together to pass a test about half the time.

Carolina

That kid who finished top of the class that one time nobody remembers.

Dallas

The hillbilly.

Minnesota

The kid who has been extremely boring to listen to for the last decade.

Nashville

That kid people only know exists because of his smoking-hot girlfriend.

Ottawa

That kid whose dad is secretly a complete cheapskate. Once missed out on acing his final exam because he somehow accidentally finished someone else's for them.

Washington

The kid who celebrates anything by setting off 19 police sirens.

Buffalo

The kid who should have been held back a year... or four.

Columbus

The kid who's pretty dumb and has constantly been picked on by everybody, but he's started standing up for himself and as a result he's actually become pretty funny, especially online.

New Jersey

That lazy kid who was awesome in the late 90's, but now costs his parents way too much money and has no goals or future prospects.

Winnipeg

The kid who nobody ever wants to visit because he literally lives in an igloo on the north end of campus.

Los Angeles

That fat, annoying as hell kid who thinks he's the coolest guy in the room. Thinks everybody loves him when in reality everybody hates him because of his insufferable attitude. Finally had one thing go right for him and now he won't shut up about it, continually shoving it in everyone's face as though it makes him better than them.

Or in other words:

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Oh yeah, there's a game tonight!

Anaheim Ducks vs. Edmonton Oilers

Keys to the Game: The Oilers are terrible. They're not dead last, but they're five points ahead of it... in 29th place. They are dead last in the Pacific Division and likewise in the Western Conference. In fact, if it weren't for them I think there would be no argument that the Pacific is the toughest division in hockey.

Can we just kick them out and put them back in the Northwest Division all by themselves? It's probably the only way they'll have any chance at winning anything.

But I digress.

What does all this mean? Based on their previous meeting, plus the two meetings with the Islanders, and the meeting with the Florida Panthers from earlier this season, I think it's safe to say that this means we're due for yet another infuriatingly slow start from the Ducks.

And that's not a good thing when you consider the surprising amount of talent that sits on the Oilers roster. If the Ducks aren't careful, they're going to wind up in a deep hole which they won't be able to climb out of. Their young guns Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov are no slouches and can easily burn you with their individual efforts.

Too bad they still have no clue how to play as a team. Or how to play defense.

Key to the game: Don't lose the game in the first period.

What Can We Learn From this Game: Coach Bruce Boudreau can't be happy with the way his team has started the last several games, or that the Power Play has been so stone cold lately. Last time out against San Jose, the Ducks snapped a dry streak of 22 consecutive chances without a goal.

These big weaknesses need to be solidified if the Ducks want to keep up their torrid pace through the second half of the season (which, incidentally, they did last game against San Jose; tonight is game 43).

Fearless Prediction: In a very ironic bit of foreshadowing, Justin Schultz gets crapped on by a duck flying overhead while walking in to Honda Center.

Stay tuned here for updates throughout the day (lineup news, etc.) and start commenting. We'll have a quick stats pack shortly before puck drop for the in-game comments to flow.

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