The fifth category for this year's Callie awards is perhaps one of parody, but likewise anybody who listens to the podcast regularly knows that when it comes to me, things are almost never all rainbows and unicorns. I can't heap some praise on this team (as easy as they've made it this season) without slinging a little bit of crap.
So thus this vote will be AC's "Razzie" of sorts, picking out the biggest, floppiest, crappiest game the Ducks played this year. And while there weren't too many from the first half, there have certainly been some awful ones as of late.
So while we as fans may be looking back on them now, let's hope the team has learned from these atrocities going forward and won't play nearly this bad come the playoffs.
And the nominees are...
"Season Opener" Oct. 2nd, 2013 6-1 loss vs. Colorado Avalanche
As wonderful as this season has been, it didn't start out as such. In fact, it started out almost exactly the opposite.
The Anaheim Ducks opened their season on the road (as is tradition, apparently) in Denver, where they were Patrick Roy's first opponent as an NHL head coach.
And they clearly were not told that the season was starting that night.
The Avalanche proceeded to dominate the game and flattened the Ducks 6-0 all the way until the dying seconds of the game when Jakob Silfverberg broke Semyon Varlamov's shutout bid.
The game is perhaps best-known however for Patrick Roy going Patrick Roy all over the glass divider between the benches. For those of you who had "one" in the "number of games before Patrick Roy loses his S*#@" office pool... congrats. You won.
This game likewise had all of the non-Ducks fan advanced stats people screaming about Anaheim's regression and how this proved straight away that the Ducks were a bad team. No doubt I was wondering a little bit if it was going to be a long season, but hey it was one game.
Likewise this also set up perhaps the greatest troll in the history of hockey upon their rematch later in the season.
"103 Against" Dec. 23rd, 2013 3-2 SO loss vs. Los Angeles Kings
"Oh this one wasn't so bad, I mean it was only a shootout loss!"
That's what someone who didn't see that game would be saying.
The reality is this was the most lopsided shootout loss I have ever seen in my life, and could easily have been 12-2 LA. And no that's not exaggerating it.
The Ducks surrendered 16 shots in the first period, 20 in the second, 10 in the third, and then five more in the OT session for a total of 51 on the night. They responded with a paltry 28 of their own in the same time span. But even worse than that, perhaps, is the statistic known as Corsi, in which the Kings obliterated the Ducks 66%-34%, including a team total of 103 shot attempts for.
The Kings are a pretty good possession team, granted. One of the best even. But there was no excuse for the Ducks to just fold under like that.
Ryan Getzlaf handed the first goal of the game to Jeff Carter by putting a pass literally right on his stick in front of Jonas Hiller, and then the Ducks allowed debutante Martin Jones to stonewall them what few times they faced him, including on all nine shootout attempts, giving him his first NHL win in his first start.
"Collapse in Big D" Nov. 26th, 2013 6-3 loss vs. Dallas Stars
Ever since they eliminated the Anaheim Ducks from the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Dallas Stars have been an opponent the Ducks have struggled with. The night of November 26th was no exception.
In a year where the Stars were supposed to struggle down near the bottom of the conference, the gritty, determined group of young players has surprised many people, including the Ducks on this night.
A game that started okay for Anaheim got a hell of a lot worse when yet another franchise record fell. The Dallas Stars got a goal from Cody Eaken at the 5:25 mark of the third period, Stephane Robidas at 5:50, and Ryan Garbutt at 6:18. Three goals against in 58 seconds, the fastest three against in franchise history.
At the time, the Ducks led the game 2-1, and came out of the collapse trailing 4-2. Antoine Roussel would add a fifth onto Anaheim's misery and Alex Chaisson sealed the epic third period catastrophe with an empty netter.
"Burned By Calgary" Mar. 12th, 2014 7-2 loss vs. Calgary Flames
Perhaps rather quietly, the Calgary Flames picked up their game in the latter half of the season. Predicted by many to be far and away the worst team in the Western Conference this season, the Flames have often been overlooked by opponents and lately the young team has been burning people (pun definitely intended.)
The Ducks added their name to that list in epic, despicable fashion when they came out flatter than the topography of middle America and got shellacked by the "lowly" Alberta team. Jonas Hiller was pretty crappy in net (as he has been lately), surrendering three goals on his first five shots to see his night end early. And the team did no better from there, surrendering four in the first period and a total of seven in the game, the most they've given up in a single game this season.
The Ducks were consistently outworked to every puck either loose or along the boards. The defense did very little in the way of effectively shutting down
We talk about losses like this being "wake-up calls" for a team to realize its humanity and likewise vulnerability, but Andrew Cogliano was a little more blunt about it, telling Lisa Hillary after the game "Well we played like S!"
Yes, Cogs, the Ducks certainly did.
"Zero At Home" Feb. 1st, 2014 2-0 loss vs. Dallas Stars
The first truly awful stretch of the season came for the Ducks immediately following the emotional Stadium Series win, where the Ducks proceeded to go 2-4-0 in the games leading up to the Olympic break. Perhaps the most frustrating of these games was an abysmal effort at home that resulted in an atrocious 2-0 shutout loss to the Dallas Stars. This would be the first time the Ducks would be shutout this season. The only other time would come just two days later when the Chicago Blackhawks would also march into Honda Center and blank the Ducks.
As for the Dallas game, the Ducks were held to just 26 shots in the loss, generating very little in the way of decent offensive pressure. The score effects didn't do much to seem to motivate Anaheim to push any harder.
And likewise the Dan Ellis jinx continued as the former Ducks netminder logged yet another win over his former club.
There isn't much else to say about this game other than "Ugh." And it's appropriate because that's the same feeling I had in my gut while watching this one.
"Four in Twenty" Apr. 4th, 2014 5-2 loss vs. Nashville Predators
Yesterday we highlighted a game where the Ducks scored four goals in a first period. Today we're highlighting two games where they gave up four goals in a first period. This is the second one of those games.
With a chance to put some distance between themselves and the San Jose Sharks for the division lead (which their lackadaisical post-Olympic stretch squandered away), the Anaheim Ducks met up with the pretty stale and non-threatening Nashville Predators.
And the Ducks made them look lethal.
Completely abysmal defensive coverage, and arguably the worst game Jonas Hiller has ever played combined for an infuriating first period in which the Ducks gave up four goals to the Predators, prompting Bruce Boudreau to most likely blow a gasket in the locker room.
And while the Ducks would fight back to make the game 4-2 in the second, Mike Fisher would put the game permanently out of reach by tapping in a rebound with absolutely no defense anywhere around him. And that wasn't even the worst part: the rebound came from a Shea Weber slap shot that rang off Frederik Andersen's mask. Andersen finished the period and didn't return to the game, meaning an abysmal already-pulled Jonas Hiller had to return to the net. Frederik Andersen hasn't returned yet, and Jonas Hiller is still yet to win since March 26th against Calgary, surrendering 11 goals in his last three appearances and getting yanked once.