Los Angeles Kings (16-16-6, 13th in west) at Anaheim Ducks (20-15-5, 6th in west)
A Ducks/Kings game in January...with relevance?
It's a blogger meet-up day at BoC, as both Rudy Kelly and myself will be enjoying tonight's game from the "original rinkside view" -- Row B. You can look for me on TV with the lucky green shirt, but I can't speak for Rudy's apparrel. He's been dressing himself for weeks now!
I had to make up a shirt design for Rudy Kelly, but I can only assume he'd
wear something based on this cartoon. That Rudy, always so topical.
Of course, if we were "responsible", "21st century", "capable" bloggers, we'd probably Twitter this shit up, or iPhone the fuck out of it, or heck, even take a picture or two, but instead we'll probably just be drinking and swearing the night away in typical idiot-style. Should be a blast.
Two things I'll point out today, and the first is an unabashed stab at positivity. While Ducks fans have rightfully looked at this season as one of underperforming expectations, I still found one piece of trivia that puts this year's struggles in perspective: only once since the lockout has Anaheim achieved as many as its current 45 points through the first 40 games. Of course, that year was the cup year, but it's interesting to note that the Ducks are ahead of where they were in 2005-06 and 2007-08 (and likely the years before the lockout, but that was before shootouts skewed points totals up). See the evidence in the table below:
You can see that very roughly speaking, the 40-game mark has been a turning point in each of the past three seasons. In 05-06, the Ducks gradually improved throughout the year as Burke shed the roster of Europeans (Fedorov, Sykora, Ozolinsh). In 06-07, things turned for the worse: Giguere and Beauchemin were injured in game 39 and Pronger broke his foot in game 40. Last season, the Ducks re-inserted Scott Niedermayer in the lineup in game 35, and became defensive wizards shortly thereafter. So if you believe in nonsense trending, then there's hope for improvement: game 40 is typically where good Ducks teams turn mediocre and mediocre Ducks teams turn good. I hope.
Aside from the multi-year comparison, though, I do have a feeler question for primarily Ducks fans. So far this season we've seen signs of positivity from the Ducks' deepest offensive postion: right wingers Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry, and Bobby Ryan have all had dominant stretches of offensive play. I'm not going to throw any spreadsheets at you, but based on what you've seen thus far, here's the question: Assume no injuries and no suspensions, but because of salary cap problems you can only dress one of the three for a particular game night. At this point in their careers, who would you dress as a top-line RW for one game -- Selanne, Perry, or Ryan? No right or wrong answers, mind you, I'm more just curious about your preference at this point. Feel free to answer in the comments, and maybe later we'll make a true numbers-post and poll out of this.
Prediction: In three games of Ducks vs. Kings this season, the teams have totalled six goals apiece; unfortunately for the Kings they scored all six of their goals in the first week of the season and have been shutout twice since (once by each goalie). I think we'll see a fun one tonight -- Ducks 4, Kings 3. Goals by Getzlaf, Mikkelson, Pahlsson, and Parros. Also, Rudy cries.