In the world of hockey, it is said that “a two-goal lead is the worst lead.” In many cases, that is absolutely true but for the Anaheim Ducks, it should be “a three-goal lead is the worst lead.”
Anaheim blowing a lead by three goals is something that’s not uncommon, and in their last two games against the Arizona Coyotes, they did just that. The Ducks were back in Glendale for the final time this season, where they took commanding 3-0 leads in both games before deciding that maybe they didn’t want to win after all.
The day before their first game of the stretch, Ducks fans were elated to read the news that one unknown kid named Trevor Zegras was finally going to get his shot with the big team. Before that game on Monday, that big team was riding a three-game losing streak. But never fear, General Zed was here, right?
It looked as though the rest of the team were equally fired up, as Anaheim scored two goals in the first period and one early in the second. But a three-goal lead is the most dangerous lead in Ducks hockey and the Coyotes managed to tie it up later in that second frame, as well as getting the game-winning goal early in the third; ’twas an ugly sight to see.
After that game, a lot of the Ducks’ fanbase started the super overreaction posts and calling for the heads of both general manager Bob Murray and head coach Dallas Eakins. The coach's name was thrown in there because, for some odd reason, he didn’t play Zegras as much as he should have — or as much as the fanbase would have liked — thus calling for his crucifixion alongside Bob Murray.
When, of course, no action against the two was made in the following days, we did see Eakins give more ice time to that unknown rookie.
Yet again, in the final game out in the desert, Anaheim managed to score one goal in the first period and two in the second from Max Comtois, Josh Mahura and Max Jones in what actually appeared to be a much, much better effort not only from the kids, but from the team as a whole. After 40 minutes, they looked solid and though they had a three-goal lead, it appeared as though they would kick that “worst lead in Ducks hockey” to the curb and secure two points. The now four-game losing streak was on the verge of ending.
Oh, but how we were given false hope. Anaheim did what they do best by deciding to quit playing and let the ‘Yotes come back, scoring three-goals in six minutes to tie things up, force the game into overtime, and eventual shootout, where they managed to pull off the consecutive comeback win. The only bright spot in the shootout was Zegras’s silky-smooth beauty of a goal.
Trevor Zegras' first NHL shootout attempt. Dirty. pic.twitter.com/arE9ZTXSEE— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 25, 2021
Once again, the Ducks nation demanded blood.
During this wretched five-game losing streak, we have seen articles from great writers such as Eric Stephens about how there must be a change in Anaheim and how it must start from the top. Though it is very agreeable that changes are needed, to where Eakins may get sent packing before the end of the season, we have to face the cold hard truth: Ducks General Manager Bob Murray is here to stay until the end of his contract.
Anaheim’s owners have made it abundantly clear in statements that they aren’t many experts in the realm of hockey operations. In all honesty, their roles as owners simply appear to be the financial backers, even at times coming off as reluctant when giving said funds. Bob Murray was bred as a GM under the wing of Brian Burke, one who is of a very “old-time” hockey mind. Let’s just say this: Hockey Boomer and Bob Murray is just the same that we’ve seen in his loyalty for another Hockey Boomer, Randy Carlyle.
At this time, any bench or front office changes stop at Bob Murray, because the Samuelis are rather dependent on their GM in hockey terms and unless they decide to sell the team, well, Murray won’t be going anywhere before his contract is up.
If by some crazy Christmas miracle, ownership decides to cut their current GM loose, you have to wonder who would take his place. Many say newly appointed assistants to the GM, Martin Madden or David Nonis could take over, but how much difference would Nonis be from Murray, and would Madden be up to the task with not even a full season as AGM under his belt? Until then, we should all face the music and mentally prepare for Bob Murray to continue calling the shots until the end of 2022.
And speaking of “shots,” we might need several to suffer through the next season and a half.