It's getting very tough to keep watching this team. After two minutes of the Vancouver game Thursday, you could just tell it wasn't going to get any better. The losses are just as frustrating and the wins mean little to nothing. If you're like me though, you can't just turn the channel like a normal person and move on to something else. With that in mind we have to find some way to be entertained by these so called "hockey games" for the next three and a half months. So I've come up with the top five reasons to keep watching Ducks games. Enjoy
Chances are that if you're reading this, you probably aren't the type that watches hockey for the cheap thrill of the occasional bare knuckle brawl. At this stage of the season however, the primal experience of cheering for a grown man to bash another in the face repeatedly is probably a healthy release of tension to avoid doing it yourself in everyday life.
4) Monday Night
On Monday the Ducks played their best game in about a month. They started out well and kept up a consistent level of play for 60 minutes rather than get down on themselves and write the game off like they have so many times this season. They're bound to do it again, aren't they? We may not be able to expect this of them every night (although we should) but there must be some good games to come in this train wreck of a season ... I think. That wasn't very convincing so let's move on.
3) Niklas Hagman
The newest Finn to join the flock has consistently been one of the hardest working players on the team since he was acquired via re-entry waivers from Calgary. Normally having a secondary player like Hagman come in and play as well has he has in just about all situations (forecheck, backcheck, penalty kill, etc.) would be a great little boost in mid season. Having him become the hardest working player on the team and moving him up to the top line to (hopefully) rub off on Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry isn't so great, but that's not his fault. Whenever number 12 is on the ice, sit back and enjoy the work ethic that we should be getting from the rest of the team.
2) Individual Skill Display
WOW! Remember that? It may seem like ages ago, but that was just barely more than seven months ago. That was a perfect example of what I'm trying to illustrate with this point as it was one of the most spectacular goals I've ever seen and yet it was all for naught, much like any positive play that may transpire for the rest of this season. The Ducks still have players who are capable of doing AMAZING things on the ice. Moments like that Bobby Ryan goal are few and far between right now, but there are smaller displays of skill to appreciate on a day to day basis.
For example, he may still be learning the ropes of playing defense in the NHL the hard way at times, but at least once in every game there is a moment where I say to myself "God damn, that Cam Fowler can skate!"
1) Teemu Selanne
We just recently did a whole week's worth of posts about the Finnish Flash, but his importance to this franchise can never be overstated. At 41 years of age, he's by far the best player on the team, which speaks just as much to the sorry state of the team as it does to his remarkable level of play. If there is any justice in the world, he will be the Ducks' lone representative at the All Star Game in Ottawa at the end of January.
By all accounts, this will be his final season. It is depressing that his perfect victory lap of a season, that included a trip to his native Finland and a warm ovation from the fans upon his long awaited return to Winnipeg, is being tarnished by this abomination of a season. Yet, being able to watch him do what he does best is an absolute treat. At any moment he is liable to show off the skill that has made him a surefire first ballot Hall of Famer. Much like his compatriot Hagman above, Teemu never takes a night off. He hasn't quit on this team and neither should we as fans, regardless of how difficult they make it.