Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Per our yearly tradition (check the archives, we do this every year, honest), the staff here at Anaheim Calling have gathered for Thanksgiving dinner. Jen, despite doing little to none of the cooking, won't let us eat until we've properly given thanks.
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the hockey gods, the Samuelis and the relevant television partners for an 81-game Anaheim Ducks TV schedule. Easily my HUMBUWHAA?? moment of this season. The only non-televised game is a Tuesday afternoon contest against Buffalo four days before Christmas that I was probably going to have to catch on the radio anyways.
I don't know if this is exactly a must-see-TV season for the Ducks or if the TV rights they secured this year are a prelude to future complete or close-to-complete television schedules, but I also prefer not to, as Robert Burns would say, "guess an' fear." I'm thankful to have 81 televised games this season.
[muffled by a mouthful of turkey]
What am I thankful for this year? I'm a simple girl, so it's simple things.
For starters, I'm happy that Ducks aren't completely horrible. As of late, they have not been the best, but really, they're surpassing all expectations of their first post-Scott Neidermayer year. Really, who would have predicted a seven game point streak (six of seven games were straight wins)?
Next I'm thankful we don't have Ryan Whitney anymore, and have Lubo instead. Whitney was bad in our system, and when I met him at Casino Night, he wasn't all that pleasant either. Lubo, however, is a joy. Robby discovered that he's handsome, and I realized he's a great nonsensical interview!
I'm also thankful for having Saku Koivu on our team. He and Corey Perry could be tied for MVP thus far in the season. Saku busts his ass on the ice each game, and always talks to the press after. Can you imagine what we'd be like had he decided to stick it out in Montreal for the rest of his career? (Do me a favor and WRITE IN SAKU KOIVU for the All-Star Game.)
In an odd move, I'm thankful for something Bob Murray did. I am thankful that he was able to draft Cam Fowler 12th and didn't have to give up anything in the process. He's said repeatedly that he was willing to trade up to get Cam. Thank goodness he didn't have to sell the family farm to accomplish that goal.
Naturally, I'm thankful that Bobby Ryan signed a new deal, but I'll take it a step further. I'm thankful that he's been patient and played his game while Carlyle has moved him up, down, and center. He always ends back up on the top line, but until he gets back there, he plays lights out.
This sounds horrible, but I'm thankful that Lupul is still hurt. Why? Purely selfish reasons. I've lessened my weekly runs to compensate for homework and I am nowhere near bikini ready. And really, 35 goals after he gets back? Please. Not happening. (Hurry back Joff, keep these boys' dreams alive. XOXO).
Finally, I'm thankful for all our readers! Especially the people that read my posts regularly, and Arthur for letting me get a little wacky. A year ago, I could have never imagined my random musings would be up on an actual, legitimate blog. Pretty cool. Know what else is pretty cool? Knowing that two of the Ducks read the blog, and respond to my sarcastic humor (Lupul's tweet, Bobby's blocking me on twitter). So, I guess that makes me thankful for the First Amendment too, that allows me to call people douchebags without major repercussion. Be thankful that you were born with a sense of humor!
Have a happy Thanksgiving, you turkeys.
I'm thankful for Nancy, our usher at Honda Center. With Rebecca being severely pregnant this season (and yes, she waddles around like a penguin at this point), going to games has been an ever-increasing adventure. As season-ticket holders (of the full variety), we thought we might be able to get some official support from the Ducks' ticket reps. Naturally, they were only interested in offering us handicapped seats in our area if we paid the difference between our normal tickets and the handicapped seats (which of course, was twice the price of our seats). Enter Nancy.
Having met her during our first season in 409 last year, Nancy has always been a great usher. She cracks down on the idiocy without being unreasonable and she handles the groups in our section admirably. When we showed up for our first preseason games in September, Nancy gushed about our gestating Ducks fan. And she saw how Rebecca labored up the steps. Our season tickets are in Row P, so it's quite a hike from the bottom of the section up to our seats. It took all of about three games for Nancy to decide this was completely unacceptable. We told her about our lack of success with the Ducks' people and from that day, we haven't spent a single game in our seats. Even when we're a full group of four (with either our family or the friends we split the tickets with, who also happen to be pregnant), Nancy has graciously found us seats that were only one or two rows up from the concourse. While the seats are fantastic, what I'm truly thankful for is the kindness of our usher, Nancy. When the Ducks' staff let us down, she went out of her way to help us out however she could.
I am thankful for many things. Let's focus on 3.
1. I thank the New York Rangers for passing on Cam Fowler. Fowler, Gromley and Gudbranson seemed to be a consensus 3-5 on draft day. Florida went with Gudbranson at 3 and Columbus sent hockey writers everywhere into a tizzy by selecting Ryan Johansen. There was a run on forwards, and next thing you know the Rangers are picking 10th, and there are no premier forwards on the board. Who do the Rangers pick? Dylan McIlrath. I don't get it either. Dallas insisted on drafting a goalie, and even Bob Murray knew to get Cam Fowler. The kid plays 20+ minutes a night, and already has next level hockey sense. Cam Fowler is a top pair guy in the making. I firmly believe he is a gift from the hockey gods to make up for Bob Murray's often incomprehensible actions.
2. I'm thankful that Corey Perry has been the most consistent player on the top line. On any given night, Getzlaf and Bobby will stop moving their feet and stop going to the net; Perry will not. Agitators are annoying. It's their job. Agitators who drive to the net, take their medicine, and manage to put the biscuit in the basket are down right infuriating. Perry can stick handle in a phone booth, and has very quick hands. He's also a giant. More importantly, he's expanded his role on the team. He's becoming an important penalty killer and has the decency to turn the puck over in the opposition crease instead of in his own zone. Of the big 3, he's been the best. That's why he leads the team in scoring.
3. The Finnish Flash is the greatest player to don the Anaheim sweater. And he's worn them all. If the powers that be hadn't given him a lot of excuses to walk, and he would have been healthy, it would be Kariya. Still, it would be a lie if I didn't admit that Teemu was the reason I began following hockey seriously in the first place. I consider myself very fortunate that my favorite player has spent so much time with my favorite team. As the discussion over retiring numbers has occupied our boards occasionally, one point Arthur has consistently brought up is that some guys will always be affiliated with certain teams. I'll always think of Jagr as a Penguin; Lindros will always be a Flyer; Hull will always be a Blue, and yes, Niedermayer will always be a Devil. But Teemu...Teemu will always be a Duck. I know some of you don't remember the Dynamic Duo days, but it was beautiful hockey. I am truly thankful that Selanne still has his legs and still amazes me whenever he's on the ice.