From time to time, I get requests to talk about the Ducks. Sometimes it's blogs, like ESPN Dallas or the New York Times Slap Shot blog. Sometimes it's radio, like WCWP in Long Island last year. More often than not, it's other SBN sites. I got my second request of the young season yesterday from In Lou We Trust for the Ducks next home game, and I have to say that it's interesting to get questions from fans of another struggling team.
For Anaheim's 40 shots against per game, the Devils are sporting a 5% shooting percentage. For the Ducks' still sub-500 record, New Jersey has only one regulation victory through 9 games played. So there was a palpable sense of despair in the email I got from Fisch (and I call him Fisch to keep up the illusion that SBN operates out of a
treehouse n office where we all meet at the water cooler), especially when he concluded by asking me what my hopes were for the Ducks after the first month of games.
It's pretty clear what Randy Carlyle's hopes are. The head coach is currently engaged in the quixotic business of getting more out of his players than they're giving him. He's shuffling them, skating them and wielding a punishing pencil (which had Jason Blake practicing on the fourth line yesterday according to OCR, perhaps for missing the prudent play against the Red Wings). Ultimately, I'm sure he hopes to get just a little more toothpaste out of the tube than he got out of last year's squad using, let's be honest, the same tactics.
I suppose the question of 'hope' is an illustration of how helpless fans are. They take their sports teams as they find them, with no direct control over what they do. And when faced with a poor start or a prolonged slump, they ask themselves when the team will turn it around. They hope for that saving grace, and for some teams, it never arrives. The Ducks were one of those teams last season.
So already this season we've dragged out the slow start statistics, the 'if the Ducks were more disciplined' argument, the 'Randy Carlyle up to his same shuffling tricks and should probably be fired' story. I suppose it's Anaheim Calling's job to give you the OSB%. It was .629 through 40 games two years ago, .396 through 48 games last year, and the Ducks are 3-4 (.429) when being outshot so far this season. Hope? I guess I hope the deja vu ends there.