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Open Gameday Thread Ducks @ Sharks

Next Game

Anaheim Ducks
@ San Jose Sharks

Saturday, Oct 30, 2010, 7:30 PM PDT
HP Pavilion



Your Enemy: Fear The Fin

Complete Coverage >

There are a number of things I'm getting tired of reading about and talking about. First is whether or not Cam will play. They hoped he would be available for the road trip, but he had some lingering stiffness. It lingered long enough to where they were then worried if he was still in game shape. That's the story on the record right now, and I'm fine with it. He'll play when he plays, and the original, optimistic timetable has made it seem like he's been out for much longer than expected, when in reality, the moment he felt stiffness in his neck, he probably became a giant question mark.

The second thing I'm tired of talking about is the depth chart. Carlyle ran through the various permutations of his top two lines again last game, and I'm just annoyed at this point. That's not to say that this is the point where anyone should, objectively, find this practice annoying, but I'm just personally finding it annoying right now.

Look, even in Carlyle's happier, winning days, there was always an open spot on the wing for Getzlaf and Perry or Selanne and McDonald. Line shuffling isn't necessarily a sign of anything. And these days, he's not dealing with young players like Penner and Kunitz, so benching Jason Blake then restoring him to the second line isn't a sign of anything either; maybe that's the best way to coach a veteran.

The sign that I don't like is in the video above, where Carlyle can't come up with the canned response when Eric Stephens asks him if it's discouraging not being able to put together consecutive wins. Carlyle, who once matched his lines so well that he broke up some of the best Western and Eastern Conference trios in the NHL, now smells every bit of the desperation he once imposed on others.

That desperation is what makes a team like the Devils, a team that wasn't feeling very good about itself, suddenly feel very positive about its prospects. The Ducks look like a squad that will fold at the slightest sign of adversity, and that's probably because they do. You can call it 'adjusting,' but if you pulled a goaltender after every goal he allowed, I think that 'adjustment' would start to get to him.

I don't know if Carlyle's line shuffling is still good for this team. I do know that it is still a large part of a coaching plan that is not producing consecutive victories. And right now, the only thing it's doing for me is reminding me on a shift to shift basis that this team is flailing and losing. Annoying.