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Open Gameday Thread: Phoenix Coyotes at Anaheim Ducks

Next Game

Phoenix Coyotes
@ Anaheim Ducks

Wednesday, Dec 14, 2011, 7:00 PM PST
Honda Center


Radio: AM 830 KLAA

Your Enemy: Five For Howling

Complete Coverage >

Unlike in previous seasons, this year the Ducks decided that they’d keep everyone off the emotional rollercoaster. Thanks, Anaheim!

In exchange for emotional instability, the Ducks decided to drag their fans down with one Goliath free fall into the fire pits of hell and hang out in the cold dark NHL basement for a little while. Awesome.

While Jen has given us a bit of insight into what the effects of splurging on the wine in the cellar might mean for the future of Anaheim, the fact of the matter is, we still have to deal with the rest of this season somehow.

The questions remains how long this group will hang out at the bottom of the NHL. Will they find the value in setting up camp to snag an awesome first round pick? Or will they push forward in an attempt to grab that 8th spot in the West? If they fall short of a playoff birth, will the sacrifice of losing an opportunity to pick high in the first round of the draft be worth it? Will they find themselves looking to ship off valuable talent to save face? Will "fire" be the word of the season for this team?

Unfortunately, there is no turning back now.

After a few days of rest from action, the Ducks are back at it again against the Phoenix Coyotes. If you recall I recently went on a road trip that included a visit to the chilly Arena where the Ducks were…well, they were there, but they didn’t play any hockey. This time I’m doing minimal driving (none, actually) and I’ve got my fingers loosely crossed in hopes for an actual hockey game.

With a new coach behind the bench, a few new fellas and some much needed talent on the verge of returning to the lineup (Ed. Note: Saku Koivu is still out (single tear)], the Ducks are somewhat of a different team. Sure, they’re looking a bit more confident out there, and much less defeated after EVERY loss…but there is still a long way to go.

Here’s the thing Anaheim…I’ve had a great past few days. I mean, amazing. I’m exhausted and I’ve got a hectic week ahead of me. I’d love it if something positive and fabulous came from this evening’s action.

So lets play a little, "if I could have it my way…"

- I’d go with Dan Ellis tonight. Now, before I get yelled at for having a grudge on Jonas Hiller, I’ll just go ahead and say, I liked what I saw from Ellis against Nashville and I think there is no reason he shouldn’t get another look right now. Besides, I’m not too thrilled with the rebounds Hiller has been laying lately, so yeah, I’m going with Ellis. But of course, it'll be Hiller. "@icemancometh: Looks like Jonas Hiller is back in the net for #NHLDucks tonight against Phoenix."

- Goals…from everyone. I know, that request is a bit overwhelming. It would be nice to see a lot of this Anaheim roster pick up a personal point tonight. There is no reason the new and improved (debatable) top two lines should ever see a night where they’re not getting assists or goals added to their list. And to top that off with a goal from anyone on the bottom six or defensive units would be fantastic.

- Some shots on goal. When Bruce Boudreau came aboard the first thing I noticed about the Ducks was their sudden desire to shoot the puck more. Not everything was necessarily getting through to the net, and they’re still struggling with shot selection, but I’d rather see them shooting at everything in sight rather than revert back to their endless shifts that saw them doing more cycling than an intense spin class.

- Lubo! If Lubomir Visnovsky is healthy and able to return to action this evening - that might just be the best Christmas gift yet! The Ducks could use some reinforcement in the lineup. If it means a healthy and amped up Lubo, that would be great news for the Anaheim blueline.

- As for one final key - the building. This might be the hardest thing to accomplish. It must be dreadful for these guys to come out to a dead barn and skate around in complete silence. In Phoenix it was terrifying how quiet the first period was and I don’t want Anaheim to have to suffer through that (anymore). It’s a vicious cycle and one I’d like to see improved upon. When the building is loud the players are pumped and they perform better which gets the building psyched up even more. That’s a cycle I DO want to see. Bring your A game Anaheim fans, this is the last game in town for a few weeks. Just because it’s "Phoenix on a Wednesday" doesn’t mean that we can’t show a bit of enthusiasm for this team, regardless of how emotionally draining it has been to step aside to let the rest of the league look so damn good.