After five agonizing days off, the Ducks are finally ready to hit the ice (again). The boys are back home, and have hopefully left that semi-crappy team in Scandinavia. In a change from the 2007 season opener in London, the Ducks were given five game days off. That means they've had ample time to shake off the jetlag and leftover reindeer meat.
Some of the best news to come out of the break was the possibility of having Toni Lydman back in the lineup tonight. Lydman has not seen any action in the preseason, but I take it as a good sign that he wasn't sent with Kurtis Foster down to Syracuse for a conditioning assignment. I felt the Ducks (specifically Lubomir Visnovsky) missed having Lydman on the ice. Well, I guess the only place we didn't miss him was on the penalty kill. I'm still not sure how that happened. Total anomaly. I blame the planetary alignment.
Greeting the boys at their homecoming will be the somewhat redesigned, yet still completely hateable, San Jose Sharks. The question I find myself asking is: Who will replace Dany Heatley (and his black mock-turtleneck) as goat? Guess we'll have to wait until the playoffs to see... Contrary to the great piece Chris wrote earlier this week, the Sharks are my number one on the rivals chart. There is something about them that makes me feel like the Ducks need to literally destroy them every time the teams play.
Last season, the Ducks and Sharks split the season series with three games a piece. In an odd coincidence, the teams also split goals for and against at 17. The only place the Ducks didn't come close to San Jose was in the shot totals. In the six games that the teams played, the Ducks were out-shot by the Sharks 158 to 218. This cannot be repeated, at least not this early in the season, with Jonas Hiller in net. One bright spot was the power play. Of all the teams the Ducks played last season, they scored the most power play goals against the Sharks with 8 (out of 22 tries, tied with Dallas with the most PP opportunities). Assuming our power play finally starts clicking, I like our chances because when the Sharks and Ducks get together - there will be blood (and penalty minutes).
I'll be at the game tonight, as will Robby and SK. Possibly Chris? Maybe Daniel? Say 'hi' if you know what we look like.