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Ducks Gameday—Stage Five: Acceptance

Round One, Game Five: (5) Dallas Stars at (4) Anaheim Ducks
(DAL leads series 3-1, JavaGeek ‘odds’: DAL 87%)

My roommate and I will be back in Row B tonight to (in my mind, at least) bid farewell to the 2007-08 Anaheim Ducks, who at the very least gave us a lot to talk about this year.

It's really odd how at peace I seem to be with the situation; I certainly would be a lot more agitated if the series were tied. Now instead of nailbiting my way through a game with a series in the balance, tonight's game will fall a bit more into the "foregone conclusion" category. Even if the Ducks win, JavaGeek will still tell me they're bound to lose the series. That gives me the luxury of relaxing and probably enjoying myself a bit more, and I'll take it.

I certainly was much more of a wreck when the Mighty Ducks were down 3 games to 1 against the Oilers two playoffs ago, but back then it seemed a Cup was on the line. Now the Cup is still a ways away, and I dunno, I'm not pining or whining as hard as I used to. I can understand the players being emotionally tired; I'm also emotionally tired. I can understand the players being unfocused; I'm also unfocused. And I'm just a lazy blogger.

So I think I'm going to be pretty loose today; my plan is really to have a blast and enjoy the show, regardless of result. Win or lose, tonight is my send-off party for the Ducks. My chance to yell "One more year!" for Teemu and "Fuck retirement!" to Niedermayer.

Until that final whistle in that final game, they'll still be the champs. Let's see if they can stomp their way out of this one.

Side note to Brian Burke and the rest of Duck management: Pay attention tonight to the crowd at the start of tonight's game and how the players feed off the energy. I know it's desperation playoff time, but it's also a 7:30 pm start, a half hour later than usual, which in SoCal traffic is a gift from heaven. 7 pm start times probably gets the Ducks more east coast viewers, but it kills a lot of us who have to meet up somewhere before going inside. And it really kills the few of us who like to meet up, have a few drinks, then go inside. If I could have one (realistic) wish for the Ducks next year: go back to 7:30 pm start times. Start the game with a fuller house and I think the fans and the team both benefit.

[Late Addition: I totally forgot. I had a post planned last year in the event of an elimination game, and I never had to use it. I have a secret weapon that's good for three straight shutouts, but it's going to be painful: Sammy Pahlsson has to go back to Sweden. In 2003, Patrick Kjellberg left the Ducks mid-playoffs to go to Sweden, and the team responded with three straight shutouts over the Wild. In 2006, Jonathan Hedstrom left the Ducks mid-playoffs to go to Sweden, and the team responded with three straight shutouts, one against the Flames and two against the Avalanche. I hate to see Sammy leave as much as anyone, but that's Burke's fault. He should have been carrying a spare Swede on the roster just for this eventuality.]

Prediction: The Ducks feed off my calmness and decide to re-stress me by winning. Ducks 5, Stars 2. Goals by Selanne, Carter, Moen, Pahlsson, and Parros.

Go Ducks.