As the end of the NHL season draws near, these are just two of the phrases fans of the lower-bottom five teams are hollering...including those of the Anaheim Ducks.
Many Ducks fans have raised their “Tank-A-Thon HQ” banners, leading the narrative charge in pursuit of that #1 pick in this year’s draft lottery. Unfortunately, the chances of the Ducks winning a top-two picks are slim; 16% chance as of the current moment.
Let’s turn back the clock to last week at an ungodly early Saturday morning. I sat and watched as Bob Murray told those in attendance at this year’s season ticket holders’ Hot Stove that he wants the team to end the season successfully.
I wouldn’t read too much into Murray’s comments and mistake them for tanking on purpose kind of success, but my gut and heart are telling me that IF they’re “lucky”, we may see Anaheim get a number 5 pick. And knowing this team & Harstool Hob, they’re more likely to get 6-10.
The Ottawa Senators seem destined to end the season at the bottom of the league. Four points above them are the Los Angeles Kings & Detroit Red Wings. Because the Colorado Avalanche have Ottawa’s first pick from the Duchene trade, they own said pick which, barring an early morning crack binge by their general manager, will be Jack Hughes if they convert on their best odds to win the lottery. The New Jersey Devils are fourth from the bottom with 63 points, then you have the Ducks at 67 points.
My prediction is that Anaheim will end the season with a winning record. What’s my reason? Simple. The kids.
With their general manager evaluating behind the bench, the youngins are going to show their boss what they can do to make one hell of a case for starting with the big club next season. We’ve already witnessed it since Randy Carlyle got the boot: the team is happier. They’re noticeably in much better spirits. They’re playing fun and exciting hockey. Gee, who would’ve guessed it was RC all along...
The point is this: the Ducks probably aren’t going to tank for the sake of tanking. It’s not in this organization’s current DNA. They stopped playing for RC, but he’s since been removed. Now, it’s time to see what potential they have going into next season. Ducks’ Captain, Ryan Getzlaf was asked about the team’s recent play and how they’ve improved last night after beating the Nashville Predators 3-2,
“I feel like we’ve just been upping our game as of late. It doesn’t really matter who the opponent is – we’ve just been playing a better brand of hockey here and we’re trying to build something, obviously, for next season.”
The brass and team are backing up their words by evident play which adds to the reason for Anaheim to end on a high note. I contemplated whether or not to renew my season seat for next year and, after some consideration from watching the youngin’s play, I decided to stick around because when you look at it the team has the potential of playing well come October.
I’m excited to get a small preview in these last few weeks, and hopefully you are as well because we know that this team aren’t going to just lie there and give up, they have bite and pride, they end showing us what they can do!
If somehow a Christmas miracle occurs and it actually happens, well then, I’ll grab a bottle of Heinz because that will pair well with eating crow. We’ve got two more games against those old formidible foes up the 5, who knows how that will end up? One phrase is sticking for me. Whichever way these last games fall, I’ll still call it the “Freeway Jack-Off” when the Ducks face the Kings, because I’m so mature.