Anaheim Ducks: Power Ranking the 10 Most Memorable Moments in Franchise History
Looking at hockey's past has become a regular activity for fans in the midst of a lockout which is starting to look like it will cost at least half a season's worth of the game we love. With the Anaheim Ducks on the sidelines with the rest of the league, it's a good time to take a look at their young lifespan and rank the 10 most memorable moments in franchise history.
The Ducks' timeline can broadly be broken up into two segments: The first being the era before the 2004-2005 lockout and the second being the years that followed. An oversimplification of both time frames essentially shows that the Ducks were far more successful in the post-lockout era than they were during the pre-lockout years dating back to their inaugural season.
During those pre-2005 years, The Ducks missed the playoffs their first three seasons and made a nasty habit of getting dumped by the Detroit Red Wings when they did make the playoffs. Their first Stanley Cup didn't come until after the lockout in 2006-2007.
However, a close look at the Ducks' history shows us that there were plenty of memorable moments prior to the 2006-2007 season and even prior to 2005. The list I've compiled is certainly subject to opinion, though I've tried to make my selection not just on the emotional caliber of the events themselves but on the lasting impact it has had on the direction of franchise.
These are the 10 most memorable moments in Ducks hockey history.
10. August 2005: Signing of Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne
In 2005, during the month of August, the Anaheim Ducks signed Teemu Selanne, Scott Niedermayer and hired Randy Carlyle as head coach, as well as Brian Burke as their general manager. This single month of activity may not be the most noticeable, but it absolutely laid the foundation for the next six years of hockey in Anaheim.
Niedermayer has since retired while Burke and Carlyle have moved on to the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, there's no question that this single month laid the foundational pieces for the Ducks Stanley Cup winning team of the 2006-2007 season.
9. November 9, 2006: Beat Canucks 6-0 to Improve to 12-0-4
Anaheim would go on to improve its record to 24-3-6, accumulating the highest point total to that mark in a season since the 1979 Philadelphia Flyers.
8. 2003 Draft: Trading Up to Draft Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in Round 1
The 2003 entry draft would become one of the most successful drafts in franchise history. The Ducks traded up to the first-round to select Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, both of whom would make significant contributions during the team's eventual Stanley Cup run.
Getzlaf and Perry have since become the cornerstones of the Ducks' franchise as the teams offensive leaders. In 2011, Perry became the first Anaheim player in history to win the Hart Trophy as the league MVP.
During the same draft, Anaheim also picked up Drew Miller and Shane O' Brien for good measure.
7. 2003 Playoffs: Allowing Only 1 Goal in a Series Sweep of the Minnesota Wild
The Ducks made it to the Stanley Cup finals before 2007, and they did so in devastating fashion. Just ask Cliff Ronning and the Minnesota Wild.
En route to the Conn Smythe Trophy, playoff MVP Jean-Sebastien Giguere kept the Wild to only one goal during the entire Western Conference Finals. The frustration Minnesota players were experiencing was evident even to those watching on television as Giguere seemed nearly unbeatable.
Needless to say, the Ducks swept the series in four games advancing to their first Stanley Cup finals appearance.
6. April 7, 2007: Clinched 1st Division Title in Franchise History
The 2006-2007 season took home most of the hardware in terms of memorable moments for the Ducks. On April 7th, the Ducks clinched their first division title as a result of a San Jose Sharks' loss.
It capped off a dominating season for the team, who on that same day defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets to reach 110 points in the season.
That mark is still the highest the team has ever achieved.
5. 2003 Playoff Sweep of Detroit Red Wings "Hockeytown Is Now Gofltown"
The 2003 Western Conference quarterfinals saw the Ducks decidedly avenge their two previous playoff exits at the hands of the Red Wings. The series marked the beginning of Giguere's playoff dominance as he outplayed Curtis Joseph and the heavily favored Red Wings.
The Ducks were able to defeat Detroit in four games behind the goaltending of Giguere and the leadership of Paul Kariya, Keith Carney and Adam Oates. The Ducks would eventually lose to the New Jersey Devils in seven games in the Stanley Cup finals.
4. 1997: 1st Playoff Series Victory Against the Phoenix Coyotes
In the franchise's first ever playoff appearance, the Ducks faced Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick and the Phoenix Coyotes. After winning the first two games, the Ducks gave up three games in a row to Phoenix and looked to be on their heals heading to Phoenix for game six.
The two teams would ultimately go into overtime where Kariya quickly ended the game with a slap shot that beat Nikolai Khabibulin, forcing a game seven that Anaheim would go on to win 3-0.
3. 2007 Playoffs: Game 5 Win Against the Detroit Red Wings
The Ducks' history with the Red Wings is rich, and perhaps there has never been a richer moment than game five of the 2007 Western Conference quarter finals between the two clubs.
With the series tied at two games, Anaheim went late into the game down 1-0 in an offensively stagnant matchup. With less than one minute left and Giguere on the bench, Niedermayer banked a bizarre shot off of Nicklas Lidstrom's stick and past Dominik Hasek.
The game would go into overtime where Selanne, capitalizing on a Red Wing turnover, would beat Hasek, capping off one of the most exciting games in franchise history.
2. 2003 Playoffs: "Off the Floor on the Board, Paul Kariya."
It's a shame that one of the most memorable moments in Ducks history was followed by the team losing the Stanley Cup finals. Had Anaheim been able to pull a victory out of that hard-fought seven game series, this event might have made it to number one on the list.
In game six of the 2003 Stanley Cup finals, Paul Kariya was knocked down by a devastating open-ice hit from Scott Stevens. Stevens had a reputation for hitting hard, but the shot he took on Kariya was clean. After the hit, Kariya lay motionless on the ice until taking a gasp of breath and waking up suddenly.
Anyone who knew anything about Kariya knew about his history with concussions, and nobody expected him to be back until the next season, much less that game.
In a move that surprised everyone watching, Kariya made it back to the Ducks' bench with plenty of enthusiasm. He would then follow up his triumphal return by blasting a slap shot past Martin Brodeur, which helped solidify an eventual 5-2 win for the Ducks.
1. June 6, 2007: 1st Stanley Cup Championship in Franchise History
The Ducks 2003 Stanley Cup run fell under the banner of a Cinderella-story and was ultimately unsuccessful. Anaheim's 2007 push to the finals was the polar opposite.
With the addition of Chris Pronger to its roster, Anaheim was pegged early on to be a Stanley Cup favorite, and they seemed to be poised for the task from day one. The Ducks stormed through the first quarter of the season, setting records for point totals and games gone without a regulation loss.
The team would eventually finish second in the Western Conference and first in the Pacific Division, clinching its first division title in team history.
After storming through the playoffs behind yet another stellar playoff performance from Giguere and the offensive leadership of Selanne and Andy McDonald, the Ducks would meet the Ottawa Senators in the Stanley Cup finals.
Anaheim would only need five games to finish the job, and on June 6th, The Ducks defeated the Senators 6-2 on home ice to clinch their first and only Stanley Cup championship. That game was by far the most exciting and memorable moment of the team's history, as every piece that had been put in place during previous years finally came together to put the finishing touches on what had been a nearly perfect season to that point.
Topping that moment or season is going to be a tall order for the Ducks moving forward. The depth of their roster was historically remarkable, and it just seemed as if everything had fallen in place perfectly for the team to make a run.
Thankfully, we have these moments to remember, especially in these times of hockey droughts and withdrawal.