LEADERSHIP: THE CAPACITY TO TRANSLATE VISION INTO REALITY.
It’s hard to put a number on just how much LEADERSHIP the Ducks added at the recent trade deadline, but conservative estimates suggest it was somewhere in the region of exactly 26.37%. Tonight, we fans, will get the pleasure of witnessing all the moxy that the new acquisitions can bring to the table.
Coming from another coaches system it’s highly likely that Chris Wagner’s replacement, Jason Chimera, will play competent hockey for tonight and likely the next few nights before he buckles under the weight of coach Carlyle's “system.” Nonetheless, we can expect a little bit of an increased pace from Jason, compared to the not-slow Wagner. Unfortunately, Chimera’s speed hasn't helped him bury the biscuit so far this season, and he currently owns a career-low 2.9% shooting percentage to prove it. Fans probably shouldn’t expect a huge jump in shooting percentages with a change of uniform, as Jason has produced other seasons in the 3-7% ranges. He may be a former 20 goal scorer, but he’s not likely to be the Ducks saviour so far as goal scoring goes. Still, A LEADER IS A DEALER IN HOPE. So, what he can provide, is some LEADERSHIP - and speed - to the bottom line. It may seem like Antoine Vermette has been around the league forever and a day, yet he’s merely a spritely young 35 years old compared to his new linemate, who will not be afraid to tell him what hockey was like in his day. Should the immortal lines “THIS. IS. SPARTA” echo throughout the building, it will not be the joking words of a man in an all-boys club. No. It will be the recounting of history from a man who was alive to witness it happen. Remember, if you will, THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL LEADERSHIP TODAY, IS INFLUENCE, NOT AUTHORITY. Even so, the Ducks will respect his authoritah!!
Similarly, ex-hockey player Chris Kelly has magically become a hockey player again after being dumped by his longtime team the Ottawa Senators. From (the Ducks GM) Bob Murrays’ mouth to your ears, was the line that they had been interested in Kelly from when the moment they heard he had performed excellently during a PTO (for the Edmonton Oilers) at the start of the season. Let that sit with you a moment. He was dumped by the only team he’d played for in his career. Then he performed so well that he wasn’t given a contract by one of the leagues easy beats. Put it all together and SHAZAM! He appeared on the Ducks radar. So after such a heinous disrespect from his career-long home team, and then the dregs of the Pacific Division, what can Ducks fans expect? Well, as a one time 20 goal scorer it’s unlikely that he will improve the bottom lines ability to score overmuch. Given he hasn't won 50% or better of his draws since the 2012-2013 season, its also unlikely that he will provide much help on the dot. However, what he can do after a long, long, career playing in the bottom 6 forward group is LEADERSHIP. Expect Kelly to lead from the front, for IT’S HARD TO LEAD A CAVALRY CHARGE IF YOU THINK YOU LOOK FUNNY ON A HORSE. What does that have to do with leadership you ask? I don't know and he doesn't either. Getting old is a bitch.
Gentle mockery aside, tonight marks the first game of the month, and the first game post trade-deadline, for the Anaheim Ducks. The new year has been kind to them thus far, with them compiling a record that is the envy of many teams. Wins piled upon wins, and for the most part, the wins weren't entirely based on Ryan Getzlaf, and amazing goaltending. Unfortunately, the wheels fell off somewhat during the last two games and the Ducks only just managed to scrape a point out of the Edmonton Oilers game, after falling in horrific and disastrously hilarious fashion to the Coyotes. With a week off, this allowed other teams to catch up to the Ducks in games played. Luckily the Flames soiled the bed themselves, but the Kings and the Sharks took advantage, and now have a 3 and 5 point lead respectively - although the Ducks now have a game in hand on them following their games, and victories last night. Thus, the Ducks currently find themselves clinging to a wild-card spot with the Blues and Avalanche pressing. The Blues are hard to judge given they offloaded Paul Stastny at the trade deadline, but Colorado has their burgeoning superstar Nathan MacKinnon back in the fold, and could potentially make the race to a wildcard difficult. All of this makes it important that the Ducks turn LEADERSHIP into action. They need everyone pulling together and being better than they would be alone. For, LEADERSHIP IS UNLOCKING PEOPLE’S POTENTIAL TO BECOME BETTER. They really need this win.
Luckily for the Ducks, they’re facing the Columbus Blue Jackets. There aren't many teams that can score less than the Ducks, but low and behold we have one in the building tonight. They score so little if they were a single person it would be me on club night. It’s almost embarrassing how little they do score. However, there is some hope for the future. Pierre-Luc Dubois, not yet 20, has taken the #1 centre’s role and has recently started to look at home. Prior to the King games, he had put up 9 points in the previous 11 games. Thought to be a contentious pick by some at the time, he looks to be a likely sort that may end up paying dividends down the track. Although, tonight.... how he goes lining up against our captain, the great man with all that dad strength... well, I think we can start breaking out the cham-paggin early.
Artemi Panarin is also putting up points, although at a less prolific rate than we are accustomed to seeing from him. With his ~10% shooting rate, it's unlikely that he hits 30 goals for the first time in his young career. Nonetheless, he’ll get his 60 odd points in what should be considered a fairly good showing for his first season with the Blue Jackets. Despite the young guns showing up, much like the Ducks, the Blue Jackets are hiding their deficiencies behind an - someone pour me a cold shower - incredibly hot goaltender. Although still relatively young, Bobrovsky knows that LEADERSHIP IS ABOUT TAKING RESPONSIBILITY, NOT MAKING EXCUSES. Make no mistake, the Blue Jackets will be trying to win (shocking turn of events, I know) in our building. Given that the Blue Jackets rested their best player versus the impotent Kings lineup last night (talk about all time backfires - they lost 5-2), there is every chance that the big dog will be in net for the obviously superior-to-the-kings Anaheim Ducks. If nothing else this should suggest that they either really want to beat the Ducks or that they think they’ll need a better goalie cause they’re woeful on back-to-back nights.... Maybe even both at once. They probably do still want to win.
Despite the tongue in check prodding at the Ducks new senior citizens, I should say that I fully expect that Chimera will perform about as well as Cogliano does here. He’s fast and doesnt score, so I assume for the most part that they’ll be fairly interchangeable - to the extent that I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chimera gets some games next Jakob Silfverberg and the remains of Ryan Kesler. Should Chris Kelly get games in a Ducks sweater then I expect that he will.... skate around on the ice a little bit. They may appear old, but if Disney’s Aladdin taught us anything, it's that not everything is as it seems. You can’t trust everything you see at first glance. After all, even salt looks like sugar. Still, I leave you with the immortal words of another old fart: “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!” For the Ducks will surely put it over the young upstarts from Columbus, for if you can't dazzle them with brilliance you baffle them with bullshit. And no one bullshits better than an old fart.
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