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Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated

No, Sleek is not dead. Sorry for the unannounced hiatus, but after slicing my foot, pulling my groin twice, straining my abdomen, rupturing my spleen, and breaking my other foot, I suppose I needed a few days off.

Oh wait a second, those things didn’t happen to me; those happened to Sean O’Donnell, Ilya Bryzgalov, J.S. Giguere, Todd Marchant, Francois Beauchemin, and Chris Pronger. If you’re napkin-scoring at home, that’s roughly $15.5 million in salary that’s on the mend (O’Donnell and Bryzgalov have returned already, though).

And as for Ducks you’re not recognizing, Kent Huskins (#40) was brought in to replace O’Donnell, and then stayed on to replace Beauchemin. Then Aaron Rome (#34) was brought in to replace Pronger. Travis Green (#39) has been trying to mimic Marchant, while Michael Wall (#31), David McKee (#41), and newly-acquired Sebastien Caron (#29) have been Anaheim’s netminding options (although Wall was the only one to actually step on the ice). Oh, and some breaking news? Ducks have traded a conditional pick to Florida for D Ric "Don’t call me Rick" Jackman to replace the fall of Rome.

Actually, I’m kidding. Scott Niedermayer has tripled his ice time and is replacing everyone.

And as for the results? Overall, the Ducks have lost 8 times in regulation in 42 games this year, but half those losses have come in the last 5 games. Yup, it’s vulnerable time for these Ducks.

And yet, do I panic? Hell, no! I’m having trouble even caring. You see, other than the damage it’s doing to my fantasy teams, Ducks are doing too damn well for me to fret through rough patches like this:
  • Anaheim has 62 points, a whopping number that wasn’t achieved until February 10th last year. It would have to be a record-setting effort to miss the playoffs with that start. President’s Trophy to me has been overrated, especially the last several postseasons. What matters is making the playoffs and playing well at the end of the season; what doesn’t matter is winning in January when you’re 20 points ahead of 9th place.
  • Hey, we’ve lost 4 of 5, but despite the laughable lineup, there hasn’t been a game where we’ve been out of it. This AHL-NHL joint venture is still pretty good (especially now that we have an NHL goalie again), or at least within a goal of being pretty good.
  • Plus, shifting your perspective can always be a nice thing. Ducks have just finished a 17-game stretch that involved 13 games on the road, with a more-than-OK record of 11-6.
  • And probably most importantly, there’s still plenty of time to heal for the postseason. And it’s not a bad opportunity for these kids are getting a chance to show whether or not they deserve to be NHLers.
So beat ‘em while you can, these part-Pirates part-Ducks.
p.s. Everyone’s probably read it already, but Christy at BTJ has some awesome stuff from the Stevie Y. retirement night. Hey, say what you will about the Red Wing winning machine, but at least they leave your spleen alone (exception: employees of Chris Chelios).