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Handshake Line: RIP 2017 Playoffs

I can’t believe the Ducks were the last team standing after the NHL cancelled the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Anaheim Ducks v Nashville Predators - Game Six Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

This Series

You know, it’s a bit of a shame that we couldn’t finish out the playoffs this year. After all of the Ducks successes through the first two rounds of the playoffs, the NHL just had to put an end to everything with 6:01 remaining in the 3rd period of Game 6.

I would’ve loved to have seen what would have panned out, but alas, I’m sure a historical piece of hardware like the Stanley Cup can live with a giant blank spot.

I guess that means we have to take what we can get with the stuff that had already transpired.

To the Predators: You were a worthy opponent. I’m glad we could finally have an outcome where you didn’t knock us out of the playoffs like you always seem to do. Although, wouldn’t it be sad if I was still in complete denial about this whole thing?

Ha. Hahahaha.

The Ducks ran up against a blueline that was talked about to death. But our blue line was supposed to be one of the best! They feasted on Edmonton and Calgary! It couldn’t be that bad!

But it was. Oh it was. The Ducks finally faced a defense that was better than theirs.

Mattias Ekholm was a maniac.

I’m pretty sure I got lost in Roman Josi’s eyes on multiple occasions.

Ryan Ellis satisfied my beard quota while Major Eaves was injured.

And then there’s that P.K. Subban guy. He was an absolute monster. And he pissed off Mike Milbury by having fun. Any guy who can piss off a known shoe-beater and have fun while doing it in addition to being the best “3-4” defenseman on the planet is a-ok in my book.

Ryan Johansen annoyed me with his Kesler comments. But I’m glad that he’s expected to fully recover from his injury. He’s a great talent and I hope he leads their top line for many years to come.

Pekka Rinne. That massive Finnish puck repellent. You know you’ve succeeded at your job when you royally piss off an entire fanbase because they outplay your team for long stretches and can’t get anything by you because you have a personal vendetta against goals because one of them harmed your family.

Finally, the fans. I know it’s been talked about constantly, but their fanbase is something to behold. Given the attendance issues of the Ducks, I know many fans criticized and defended comments out of a partial jealousy for the atmosphere at Bridgestone Arena. I’m in the process of planning a trip to Nashville to take in a game. I can’t wait to take it all in.

If the Predators had been able to somehow dispatch the Ducks and make it to the Stanley Cup Finals (which they didn’t, because the playoffs were cancelled), then I would honestly root for them over the Penguins because parity is fun.

Oh and because I’m apparently the only writer at SB Nation who actually likes country.

Don’t @ me. [Ed. Note: Too late. -JC]

This Season

Many on this site know me as the resident optimist of Anaheim Calling. Hell, I wrote an entire article after the trade deadline pleading with people to not throw in the towel after the only addition was Patrick Eaves.

But I will now admit that while I had hope, I was not optimistic that the team would make a very deep run in the playoffs. I thought they were a one-and-done team, maybe two if they were lucky.

The stretch run proved me very wrong.

That’s why I’m actually not all that sad that this season is over, despite the Ducks recent playoff history. They made it farther than I thought they would. The veterans looked like they gave a damn. And, the young ones showed that the Ducks’ Cup window is far from closed.

Even though they are now creeping further into their 30’s, the veterans showed that they can still carry this team.

But the other guys. Oh boy.

The defense corps are all 26 and younger, and should only continue to be better. Cam Fowler now looks like the heir to the captaincy. Brandon Montour burst onto the scene and proved he’s more than NHL ready. Theo showed flashes of his offensive brilliance. Not to mention the coming of Sam Steel, Max Jones, Troy Terry, and Jacob Larsson, among others.

This season was a ton of fun to watch. They made me proud to call myself an Anaheim Ducks fan.

So here’s to the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs that never was. I can’t wait for October to finally watch some hockey again since there’s definitely no more being played right now. By anybody.