This is Anaheim Calling to the Hockey World, sending well wishes to our fallen hockey brethren to the North. I was a fan of the Atlanta Thrashers, because they were a collection of misfits who were trying to figure out where they fit in the hockey landscape, especially after Kovalchuk was traded. The I love underdogs and Atlanta was the quintessential underdog. I liked Kane coming out of the draft, and loved the additions in the Chicago deals. Burmistrov was electric. Long story short, I've done my best to keep tabs and hope for good things for the team occupying Selanne's old stomping grounds.
The handshake line is the greatest tradition in all of sports. There can be only one winner, but winning graciously is a key component of how we like to do things in Anaheim. With that in mind, I'd like to offer a few commendations to the community of Winnipeg.
The Winnipeg Fans: I won't lie; the "Katy Perry" chant was sexist and arguably a low moment. Still, I can understand how people get caught up in those moments. I'm not willing to crucify a whole fan base over a mistake. Provided we can all admit that telling people being a woman makes you somehow less than acceptable is a bad thing. Other than that, the Winnipeg faithful held firm and encouraged their team to the better end. More importantly, we didn't have any Winnipeg trolls visit the site and ruin our fun on the threads, we have ME for that! I didn't visit this offseason, let's call it a magumbo concern, but I'm also a big fan of the community at Arctic Ice Hockey. I've always found them welcoming, and the hockey conversation stimulating. It's a good community of hockey fans, and their dedication deserves further rewards.
Dustin Byfuglien: BIG BUFF!! The hit on Perry was dirty; I'm talking 2007 Ducks dirty. I think you're one of the most under appreciated defenders in the league. You can definitely affect the outcome of the game from the back end. The shot is thunderous. The hits are devastating. The desire is inspiring. I'm sure there's a superhero we can compare you to. Not the Hulk though, that's Getzlaf. Maybe Colossus, but like an angry Colossus. That temper of yours is dangerous.
Ondrej Pavelec: Arguably the best Jet in the series. It's been up and down times in for you in Winnipeg, but there wasn't a sign of that in this series. You made big saves and kept the Jets small leads in tact for as long as possible. I don't think anyone can pin this series loss on you. Here's to hoping you've worked out those consistency issues and you're making good on that potential.
Michael Frolik: The Ducks were the better possession team this series by a pretty healthy margin, about 6 Corsi events per game if I'm reading the crazy names at the NHL website properly. You were head and shoulders above everyone on your team in terms of driving play this series. To put in such a contrary performance is a testament to what you were doing for your team this series. This wasn't done with short minutes either. Fifth among forwards in TOI/G shows that you were a key element in making the Winnipeg machine go.
I could probably go on for a while, but there are plenty of testaments from my fellow bloggers. It was a great series. It was physical, hard fought, and close the whole time. Thank you for being a wonderful opponent. I wish you success in the future, especially if it doesn't come at our expense.