We have officially met the halfway mark for the 2008-2009 NHL season and what a wild ride it’s been.
Sidney Crosby dominating Brett Mclean.
The Red Wings forgetting there is supposed to be a Stanley Cup hangover.
Alexander Ovechkin signing a contract even Scott Boras would envy, keeping him a Capitol for life.
But there is one thing that hasn’t hit the front pages: the struggles of the Anaheim Ducks.
Their power play has been magnificent heading into the mid-point of the schedule, but something seems to be lacking. There seems to a missing cog in the machine that is the Ducks.
It seems they lack a certain fortitude known as finishing: Finishing checks, finishing shots, finishing their opponent. They simply cannot systematically take down a team the way they did in their last title run in 2007.
These Ducks just don’t go from puck drop to siren sound. They aren’t careening on the boards, their forecheck is lacking, and their aggression is misplaced.
Perhaps the extended losses of Teemu Selanne and Francois Beauchemin have played a role in this dysfunction. Maybe the aging of Chris Pronger and Scott Neidermayer are slowly eradicating this team.
They just aren’t finishing when they need to. That is what’s wrong. That is what’s missing.
Nonetheless, they stand in second among their peers in a suddenly competitive Pacific Division.
Let’s look at this year’s mid-season awards for the Ducks.
The Prestige Award: Best Shot
This goes to the rook, Bobby Ryan for his magical spinorama vs. the Kings for his first career hat trick. That definitely should have made the SportsCenter Top 10. Just in case you fell asleep on the couch, you can view it here.
The White Knuckle Tire Iron: Best Fight
Anytime you have brains and brawn, you have favor with me. And this time is no different. Ivy League grad George Parros and counterpart Jody Shelley of the San Jose Sharks battle it out for the second time this season. On December 11, each heavyweight left with a little blood on their jersey. This is a great fight! This is hockey, folks!!
The Windex® Cup: Best Check into the Glass
In my pursuit to crown a winner for the Windex® Cup, it became abundantly clear the Ducks could not cut a check without bouncing it. So, here is a clip of Linden using Norton to redefine streak-free shine!
The Golden Staph Infection: Worst Front Office Debacle
This is more of a defection that left an infection in the hearts of Ducks fans everywhere. Brian Burke’s worst kept secret of the season came to pass when he left to become GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs. It brought to close both a storied (NHL Champions) and turbulent (see: Lowe, Kevin) time in the franchise’s history.
Check out this interview for the hypocrisy that is Burke.
Ladies and Gentleman, your 2008 Anaheim Ducks Award Winners!!
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