A few words when there are no words...
Truthfully, it is pretty difficult for me to focus on putting together a preview for tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks as the world of sports is still reeling back from the shocking and tragic loss of one of sports’ all-time greats, Kobe Bryant, as well as his daughter and seven other passengers. So bear with me as I share a few personal thoughts with the Anaheim Calling community about Kobe Bryant.
Obviously our site spotlights hockey and specifically Anaheim Ducks hockey, but at the heart of Anaheim Calling lies the love for sport, the team, the competition, the game and the fan community. And that my friends, is what Kobe Bryant represented—he was a fierce competitor with a rare killer instinct and warrior “MAMBA” mentality that transcended all sports, all fans and all generations. He not only inspired Los Angeles Laker fans and basketball fans, but all sports fans as well.
After retiring from the NBA, he looked to commit more time to his family, and in particular his daughters. There are no words for all the emotions that we all felt when it was confirmed that Gigi and her other teammates were also on the same helicopter and were on their way to practice. His closeness with his daughters was well-documented, and as a female athlete—he meant a lot to me personally as a strong proponent of WNBA and women in sports.
What’s crazy was as great as he was at his first act of basketball, he was only entering his second act—which could’ve been his greatest with his efforts to reach out and help the youth and community. The same could be said about all the others that also perished with him as each life was precious and created ripples of their own amongst the people around them. Who knows what each life could have done, could have been if they were able to live to their full potential.
Kobe was a lot of things to a lot of people. He was cutthroat. He was smart. He had a view of the court like none other. He was articulate. He was meticulous. He was thoughtful. He was hated. He was loved. He was feared. He was admired. He is and will always be one of the greatest. GOAT. I must say I feel very blessed to have gotten to see him play, to witness his Voldemort-look when he was ready to bring all of LA to our feet, to crumple the string of hockey tape and shoot at the trashcan yelling “Kobe!”, to have donned both the numbers #8 in hockey and #24 in basketball....
We mourn the loss of nine lives but we also celebrate the moments, the memories and the legacy that was left behind. There is so much more that I can say about who Kobe was to me, but your time is better spent hugging your loved ones and reminding them you love them because life is short and you just never know what God has planned.
Thank you Kobe.
Thanks y’all for letting me have my moment since it just didn’t feel right to just go right into the thick of things without saying a word about the Black Mamba.
Where we left off...
It’s back to work after the players enjoyed some time off during the All-Star break. All California teams (Ducks, Kings and Sharks) lead the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
All-Star Weekend couldn’t have come at a better time for the San Jose Sharks, who lost their last three games going into the break by a combined score of 14-4. Goaltending continues to haunt the Sharks as they currently are 29th (.891) in save percentage this season.
Down south in Anaheim, its really offense that continues to escape the Ducks. They are currently second to last in the league with 2.46 goals per game. They have won three of their last eight games, having finally strung together two wins right before the All-Star break, making it their first two-game win streak since the end of October (yikes, I know.)
Anaheim should be well-rested as there were no Ducks present in St. Louis for the All-Star game since Jakob Silfverberg was excused as he awaits the birth of his child. Tomas Hertl was the lone representative for San Jose. He was the primary culprit for Anaheim’s loss to San Jose during their last meeting on November 14th after scoring two goals in the Sharks’ 5-3 win.
Puck drops at 7:30PM PST tonight at SAP Center.