Saturday, September 29, 2007

2007-08 Preseason Foreplay: Anaheim Ducks

Oh shit! This thing is a lot heavier than it looks!
John Griffiths on Flickr

Quick hits

Odds for the folks at gambler's

62 to 1: During today's season opener, bands of hockey hooligans start riots outside the arena in London.

3 to 1: You can't find an English speaking population that pays less attention to hockey than the Brits.

Obligatory serious analysis

Chances are the Ducks aren't ready to begin another hockey season just yet. After all, who wouldn't want to bask in a Stanley Cup victory for as long as possible? I know I would. The Ducks that suit up in London later today are going to be a much different team than the one we last saw in Game Five during the spring. Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne are still considering retirement, and won't be in the lineup (as far as I know). Dustin Penner is gone, but his shoes are to be filled by Todd Bertuzzi. The Ducks did add a nice insurance package to their blue line in Mathieu Schneider, but he's hurt right now. There a ton of question marks surrounding this team right now, and none of them have easy answers.

One of the most disheartening things, if you're a Ducks fan, is how many players are going to miss the opening weekend with the team in London. Battle of California has a list of six, which doesn't include the recently injured Schneider. All too important and man who will surely be missed is Senators defender Chris Phillips, who will not be with the Ducks to start the season.

Seriously, this team is an enigma right now. At least to me. Injuries are a problem, and couple that with two star players still unsure about their playing future, and it makes for a dicey situation. If both Selanne and Niedermayer come back, this team has got to be among the favorites to win the Cup again this year. If they leave and any of Schneider/Pahlsson/Giguere miss a considerable amount of time due to injury, then this team will surely not win the Pacific. My bet? Selanne and Niedermayer are waiting for the games in London to pass to make a decision, and I'm going to be that at least one of them comes back. If they wanted to be away from the game that badly, they would have done it already.

It's going to be hard for the Ducks to repeat. I believe the season is simply too long, the West is too tough and this team is going to be too banged up. They should make the post-season easily, but they won't take home the Pacific Division crown. I figure they'll settle in to the 5th or 6th spot out West.

The best looking ice girls in Anaheim
The Ducks have a "street team" but I have no idea if these ladies are a part of it. Try not to lose sleep worry about that, OK?

Previous Editions of Preseason Foreplay

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