December Reality Check is a Winter Rerun

Posted: 12/06/2010 by bc in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Assuming our Ducks maintain their current P% at home and on the road, year-end will find us so far out of the NHL playoff race, we may as well be in the AHL.

Our Ducks play 12 more games this month, 9 are on the road and 3 are at home. Our Ducks P% at home is an impressive .593. On the road the P% is a less than impressive .350.

Unless our Ducks are suddenly somehow able to reverse a trend that has been consistent for 100+ games over nearly 1.5 seasons, our team is done like dinner. Even giving it a homer count, 4 pts in 3 home games and 6 pts in 9 road games our Ducks will reach the season midway with 39 pts.

Our Ducks reach the midway point New years Eve. They will have 39 points after that home game against Chris Pronger and the Flyers. Remember where you read this one.

This winning P% would see our Ducks finish the season with 78 pts. Remember how bad the Leafs sucked last season? 78 points is worse.

Yes but, our Ducks always have a big second half when the home schedule favors them you say.  I’d love to say my bad and agree. Except for the undeniable reality that our Ducks play 19 road games during the first 41 games of the season and 23 road games in the second half.

So ya see there Sparky the schedule doesn’t favor our Ducks in the second half. It gets tougher.

But, but Bob Murray will make a trade or two and the new guys will give us a boost and lead us into the playoffs.

Yeah I hear ya Sparky, that did work when we had both Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer to build on. Last season when we just had Nieds, it didn’t work. This season they’re both gone. There is no Stanley Cup winning foundation to build from.

It’s also why our Ducks are giving us a rerun of last year’s season. A mediocre first half followed by a short spurt and a sputter.

And there my fellow Ducks fans is how the promise of a Cup competitive team year in and year out descended into a mediocre team likely to miss the playoffs two years running.

Bob Murray can whine about the mess Brian Burke left behind. he can moan about Scott Niedermayer’s retirement and how you can’t replace a player like Scott Niedermayer. He can have a Yosemite Sam style foot stompin’ player tradin’ Randy Carlyle is a great coach rant once a week if he wants. It won’t change anything.

Our descent into mediocrity occurred for two reasons. Both of which can be laid at the feet of Bob Murray. Don’t get me wrong, others including and especially owner Henry Samueli made significant, quietly behind the scenes contributions along the way.

For the most part though, this is a mess of Bob Murray’s making. The first mistake was forgivable. Virtually everyone, including me, would have made Bob Murray’s first mistake. Regardless of his future with our Ducks and with hockey it’s time to fess up and admit that we’ve all been wrong about Ryan Getzlaf.

We have, virtually all of us, believed that Ryan Getzlaf is a Hart Trophy, MVP candidate quality athlete. A franchise player like Sydney Crosby, Niklas Lidstrom or Chris Pronger that you can build a team around or on.

This isn’t to suggest that Ryan Getzlaf isn’t a great hockey player. He is a great hockey player. He’s just too inconsistent to be considered a franchise player. There’s no shame or smack in admitting that Ryan Getlzaf is not one of those once in a generation quality hockey players.

Frankly, the minute Bob Murray creates more realistic expectations for Ryan Getzlaf the better off both Getz and our Ducks will be.

I’m not going to post smack at Getz. I like him. The day you recognize that a guy isn’t quite what you thought he was doesn’t make him a bad guy. It hardly seems appropriate to rip a guy for failing to meet my expectations for him. Frankly, I’m not that full of myself.

The second critical mistake by management has been the attempt to rebuild on the fly.  We have been rebuilding but we haven’t admitted that we’re rebuilding. Instead management has simply lowered expectations from being a Stanley Cup contender to becoming a playoff contender.

And herein lies the unforgivable mistake Bob Murray has made. SoCal is no longer an expansion market. NHL hockey has been here for over 40 years. Beginning in the 1980’s guys like Jack White and Larry Bruyere laid a  foundation at the youth hockey level that has grown and been built upon by others.

SoCal is now a market with an infrastructure and talent base that is now producing world class hockey players. SoCal is now routinely producing internationally competitive Olympic and NHL caliber hockey players.

We can discuss and debate the tactical approach of attempting to rebuild on the fly. That’s the stuff of great pass the flask hot stove chat.

For me the thing that is unforgivable is that I feel like Bob Murray tried to put one over on me. He and our Ducks management and ownership just haven’t been  stand up, straight shootin’ guys.

Attendance is down this season, way down. Henry Samueli blames the economy. Others blame bandwagon fans. To some extent they are at least partially right. The ugly truth is that you can’t lie to your customers and get away with it.

Most of us spend a good portion of our lives trying not to get scammed. You got a Honda. Tell me about your Honda. Don’t tell me your Honda runs like a Lexus. We know cars.

We also know hockey players. We’ve watched great hockey players pass through here for more than forty years. Today we’re growing our own. You can’t fool us anymore.

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Comments
  1. ffe155 says:

    BackCheck,

    Have to comment on Getz and the SOCAL hockey fans. Seems to me that Ducks fans have bought “hook, line, and sinker” that the “Twins” are joined at the hip. I have yet to see a post regarding Ducks lines on any blog that doesn’t start with Getzlaf, Perry, and ????.

    If they are truly top flight players they should be able to make anyone they play with better and they should be able to individually produce with anyone they are paired with. When did it become etched in stone that they have to be paired together? The Olympics showed that there is no particular magic between the two when they play against elite talent. They were relatively ineffective until Mike Richards was put on their line.

    Perhaps it’s insightful to look back on what a true franchise player does to his teammates. Look what Ken Dryden wrote about Bobby Orr – “When he began to move…the sensation was unique: All the Canadiens began backpedaling in a small panic, like beachgoers sighting a coming monster wave. He brought others with him; he wanted them involved. That’s what made him so different: It felt like a five-player stampede moving toward you—and at his pace. He pushed his teammates, [because] you’re playing with the best player in the league and he’s giving you the puck and you just can’t mess it up. You had to be better than you’d ever been.”

    Do Getz and Perry push their teammates to be better? I personally think that Bobby Ryan’s talents are wasted on the RPG. Since RC’s answer to more offense appears to be where do I move BR, than you have to ask if Bobby is the really the offensive cornerstone of the franchise?

  2. BackCheck says:

    Couldn’t agree more ffe155. Can only add one thing purely in a support the post way.

    Carlyle doesn’t set lines, he sets twosomes. The Twins and the Finns are the obvious examples. Recently he has gone with Bonino/McMillan and Chipchura/Parros as well. he’ll rotate the third guy to get favorable match ups, reward/punish and/or to shake things up.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I sensed the other questions were rhetorical.

  3. ffe155 says:

    Yes, a bit of rhetoric at the end.

    I think RC’s concept of pairing as the basis for line development is a sound starting point. However, when the Twins and Finns become set solutions it automatically limits other solutions that could prove effective. Essentially the Ducks have a $10M plus hybrid they put on the ice every night – GetzPerr – and right know it’s not producing and has produced only one play-off series win in the 3 seasons that it’s formed the nucleus of the top line (I’ll concede that Perry was hurt in 2008 prior to the playoffs and was just coming back against Dallas). We’ll never know if another paring can prove more effective if it’s never tried.

    • BackCheck says:

      During the Phoenix post game Carlyle was asked about the line changes and tossed back, “We haven’t scored in 4-5 periods. What would you do?”

      I’m not sure Randy Carlyle can break up the Twins & Finns without a massive re-thinking of our North/South puck management game. Last season I’m not convinced Koivu/Selanne were encouraged to play their give & go puck possession game.

      This season is a bit different evidenced by Teemu’s hunger for the puck in the neutral zone. It looks as though Coach has opened things up for the second line a bit. At least I haven’t cringed upon hearing Teemu saying the good soldier type stuff, “We have to grind it out” like he did a couple times last season.

      With the Twins of late, it seems as though as their options are restricted. We haven’t seen the slip a D down the weak side like we did earlier in the season. Bobby Ryan is the only guy attacking/shooting off the rush. The Twins are back to chip and chase, cycle, back to the point, shoot, repeat process.

      Overall I think Carlyle diagnosed it right. He said something about trying to make the perfect or pretty play. In the Florida game, last time we did score, 3 came on tic tac toe plays where we found Parros twice and Perry once shooting from between the hash marks. Another was Bobby Ryan attacking all alone. Only Getzlaf’s goal, when he reached over and behind Vokoun while warding off a Panther defender was one of those willing to pay any price type of goals.

      Sometimes changing up the lines does work. As Hazy is fond of saying, “The guys are getting just a little to cute out there.”

      Not disagreeing, just adding to your ideas in a pass the flask hot stove kind of way 🙂

  4. czhokej says:

    Good post, good comments!
    Getz used to be and still is a good second line center, who should not wear “C”. Sometimes he shows his talent and makes some nice moves, but he seems to be slow-minded, and too often he doesn’t read the game well. His slow acceleration bothers me, and his occasional lackadaisical attitude drives me crazy. He scores when he attacks the net, but he does it only a few times every game. I also feel that BR is not a good fit with the Twins. (I was watching Penner today, I still miss him). Too often our top three forwards stay in a “Carlyle’s triangle” passing and cycling the puck (1 behind the goal, one in the corner, one half boards) and that’s where their offensive accomplishments start and also very often end.

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