If you’ve become an emotional dumpster diver since our Ducks playoff defeat

Posted: 05/26/2013 by bc in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

Update: What if sports ran Detroit v. Anaheim 1001 times through their simulator. The result? Anaheim won the simulations 57.5% of the time.

Reading your posts here and from visiting other sites it is readily apparent that many of us remain stuck frozen in the moment of despair and disbelief from witnessing our Ducks go down to defeat in the first round of these playoffs. It especially sucks because we planned to participate in a deeper playoff run that was cut short. We’re challenged to fill the time with something equally exciting as following our Ducks on a deep playoff run. As all hockey fans know there are few things more exciting than sharing the dream with your team during the NHL playoffs.

It’s like getting fired or laid off. One day you’re doing something and planning on doing more. All of a sudden it stops and you’re no longer allowed to continue. It’s over.

Welcome to the playoff blues.

Worse, due to the business of the NHL we aren’t likely to exact revenge on the Red Wings unless and until we meet them in a Cup final. Maybe that’s partly why this one stings a little deeper and hangs over us a little longer. Detroit took the last series in our Ducks only recurring playoff rivalry.

Everybody has reasons for the loss. Heck it might have even been the Second Seed Curse. Bet you didn’t know that second seeds have the worst first round record of the top four seeds since the current playoff format was adopted in 1994. Second seeds are only 20-16. First seeds have won 26 of 36 first round series. Third and fourth seeds have gone 23-13.

While watching the post game presser of Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien he took a moment to mention how thankful he was to still be playing in the second round of the playoffs. Julien talked how his shaky Bruins very nearly lost in the first round.

Of the eight teams that lost in the first round of this year, five, including our Ducks did not make the playoffs last season. Our Ducks had not made it past the first round in 5 years. For key contributors, Andrew Cogliano, Kyle Palmieri and Emerson Etem it was their first playoff experience. Nick Bonino (4), Matt Beleskey (1) have played in less than a handful of playoff games. For others,  Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen it as their first playoff appearance in seven and nine years respectively. Even Saku Koivu’s Habs and Ducks teams have missed the playoffs in three of his last seven years.

Fact is, other than Teemu Selanne, Francois Beauchemin, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf our Ducks just don’t have big game experience at elite professional levels.

Silver medal winner Bobby Ryan has earned more success in the Olympics than he has in the NHL with our Ducks.

We don’t think of our Ducks as young and inexperienced but when you look at the record even most of our experienced guys lack playoff bonafides.

Even our core doesn’t measure up to the playoff experience of Pavel Datsyuk. Henrik Zetterburg, Nik Kronwall, Dan Cleary, Johan Franzen and Valteri Filppulla.

When Bob Murray said, “They schooled us” our lack of big game playoff experience didn’t occur to me.  This experience illustrates just how far from respectability our Ducks have fallen during the tenure of Robert Gordon Murray.

We simply lacked the experience to beat a been there done that team that knows how to win. No matter how you process it though, that is very good news going forward because this is one young Ducks hockey team.

Last season the Pittsburgh Penguins were defeated in the first round. One year later they’re in the Eastern Conference Final.

Look forward. This loss is just part of a longer journey.

  1. czhokej says:

    I am one of those stuck in the past, thinking about the reasons why we lost. We may point to several different aspects of the game, but I do not think there is one specific predominant cause of our elimination. I see it this way: We won the division title not with skills and superior strategy, but with an aggressive, full court style of play. When everybody was fresh and had enough energy, it worked, and we were winning. However, this tempo-hassle game style is much more energy demanding, and it took it’s toll on our squad. It was visible at the end of the season, and it killed us in the playoffs. Passing and puck possession game (Detroit) give them the edge at the end.
    I think that BB underestimated fatigue factor in play-offs, and not only with the Ducks.

    • bc says:

      The Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, L.A. Kings and St. Louis Blues play that same style. Three of those four are still standing. Two of them might meet in the SCF. Not challenging your theory cz. Just wondering if it wasn’t more mental fatigue rather than physical? Last night the Blackhawks beat the Wings handily by taking their tempo up a notch. Chicago even goaded Abdelkader and former Duck Drew Miller into taking stupid penalties.Equally amazing is that the Refs saw the penalties and called them. Just like a puncher beats a boxer by cutting off the ring and pounding away, a physical team beats a skill team by, structure, positioning getting sticks and bodies in the passing lanes and making them pay a physical price for touching the puck. We spent too much time chasing the Wings. We never quite figured them out. We were never really sustain our checking long enough to exact that physical price and wear them down. Consequently, we wore down. So yeah, there is something to cz’s theory.

  2. bbdux93 says:

    I’m past the disappointment of this year. I will forever lament the disbanding of our Cup team.

  3. czhokej says:

    I am not trying to say that my theory (fatigue) is the only explanation for our collapse.
    When we look at the Penguins, they play puck possession game and they pass much more than we did. Of course Pittsburgh has quite a few more talented players, and Kunitz with 22 goals, Neal 21, Dupuis 20 in the regular season were well ahead of Getzlaf and Perry with 15 goals each. My point is that the Penguins did not have to work that hard to get to the play-offs. They were not an exhausted squad. We would be able to say almost the same about the Kings, even though they did not score that many goals.
    And I also did not like constant shuffling of our line combos. That may be a good motivation tool, but if you play a rigid organized system with set-up plays, it doesn’t work that well. As you said bc, we were chasing the puck against the Wings and could not hold on it.

  4. ffe155 says:

    I share CZ’s frustration with the constantly revolving lines. I found it most frustrating when BB broke up lines that appeared to have chemistry in order to jump start those that were struggling. In game 7 the Palms, Steckel, Etem line was looking good and causing the Wings problems. Instead of riding that horse and giving them more ice time, BB broke it up to try and jump start the 1st and 2nd Lines. IMO that was reinforcing failure instead of exploiting success.

  5. bc says:

    Seeing the line change story differently from cz and ffe 155. One thing about both is that they’ve been very consistent with this criticism. Each guy has mentioned it in good times and bad. I’m not looking to change their minds so much as indulge a fascinating discussion.

    Far too often the media leaves the discussion with a coach saying something like, ‘I was trying to get something going.” Well duh, but there’s much more to it.
    With young and/or established teams, a coach will tend not switch the lines up as often. The roster is set. You roll it out. Games situations dictate mixing up lines.
    fee 155 uses the example of breaking up the Steckel-Palmieri-Etem line while it was having success. It was having success against depth lines. Both Etem and Palmieri are top six and top 9 forwards respectively. With young guys, especially a guy like Emerson Etem who seems to improve by the shift, you never know when he’s going to explode. So when he has some success against lesser competition a coach is inclined to promote him up the depth chart.You want him in a top six or top three role as much as possible.
    Some other reasons, dictated by the game situation that Gabby might move one up is, (1) to get him more TOI with better players, (2) get a favorable match-up, (3) shorten the bench, (4) use of special teams force changing up the lines, (5) complimentary skill sets, and (6) injuries.
    Part of the value of a guy like Steckel is his experience. He gets it such that you can put up him out there with a couple of promising rookies. Part of his job is being the traffic cop. Taking the lead or support role depending on the situation. Once the young guys start having success consistently, you want to put them in their projected role as quickly as possible.
    You have to remember though that Steckel is very much a depth forward. You definitely don’t want him in a top six role. He’ll be over matched. When you’re shortening the bench a guy like Steckel is going to sit. OTOH, you might send him out to take an important face-off any where at any time during the game.

    Two other guys moving in the opposite situation of Etem and Palmieri are Peter Holland and Patrick Maroon. Here you have talented players having trouble establishing themselves at the NHL level. Among the reasons a coach will play a guy like Beleskey instead of Maroon with the Twins is that Belly has the wheels to get in on the fore-check. He raises the tempo for that line. While Maroon dominates once he gets in the zone on the fore-check.
    A coach may send out Beleskey with the Twins for a defensive or neutral zone face-off to make better use of his fore-checking ability. He might send out Maroon alongside the Twins for an offensive zone face-off. This didn’t happen so much that I’m just using as an example of game situations dictating changing up the lines.
    Holland never impressed to the point where Gabby felt he could be trusted in a top six role. Like Luca Sbisa on the blue line, Coach had to spot play Holland to keep him in favorable situations where he might succeed.

    Lines may be broken up for match-up purposes. Etem may take Teemu’s spot alongside Bonino/Ryan to get Selanne away from a particular opposing D-man or to get one of them out there against a certain opposing D-man.

    With Etem and Palmieri Coach is braking up lines becasue the guys have shown their closer to being ready to assume their projected roles. With Holland and Maroon Coach was breaking up lines to protect those players from being over matched.

  6. ffe155 says:


    Thanks. Great insights.

    I’d rather see BB making those adjustments in between games vice during them, but that’s why he gets paid the big bucks.

    I do think that after Game 1 BB spent too much time reacting to Babcock’s moves instead of establishing the tempo with what I believe was/is superior roster depth.

    • bc says:

      Gabby would probably agree with you ffe 155. For the most part, changes are made in-game because the original battle plan wasn’t working. Yer right about Babcock deserving credit because Gabby was most often reactive rather than proactive.

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