Ducks-Kings: Bobby Ryan's Controversial Hit in Emotional Loss

SKCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 14:  Bobby Ryan #9 of the Anaheim Ducks makes a pass in front of a fallen Drew Doughty #8 of the Los Angeles Kings during the first period at Staples Center on January 14, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

I'd be lying if I said I was surprised about the way Thursday night's matchup between the Ducks and the Kings went down.

We're talking about a rivalry that exists purely because of geography.  The two teams have never met in the postseason. 

Why all the drama?

The Ducks have had an emotional start to the New Year to say the least. 

Losing the first two games of the season (back-to-back).  LOW.

Winning the next two on home ice, against Detroit and St. Louis.  HIGH.

The return of a top six forward (Teemu Selanne), who missed 17 games due to a broken hand.  HIGH.

Having to play the same back-to-back weekend over again, and winning.  HIGH.

Watching that same top six forward get hit in the face with a puck, knowing he'll be out of the lineup for the next several weeks, LOW.  Very, very LOW.

Ultimately, it meant the Ducks would come crashing against the cross town rivals who were very hungry to erase their three game losing streak. 

For two teams who always seem to battle it out, the dirtiness of the game didn't break out until the end of the second period when Ryan Getzlaf took on Wayne Simmonds.

The fight was capped off with the Kings scoring a very confusing and controversial goal that would turn to be the final straw to break the camels back.  The Ducks became emotionally frustrated and had no problems taking it out on the Kings whenever possible.

While there were plenty of crazy tipped goals, all from the Kings, and plenty of fights to speak of, Bobby Ryan's hit late in the game on Oscar Moller seems to be the hot topic.  

Having reviewed the replay, I don't think Ryan should be suspended. 

The hit resulted in the winger earning a minor penalty for roughing, a five-minute major for charging, and a game misconduct with less than 10 seconds remaining in the game.   

Personally, I think the only "penalty" here is the fact that it was so late in the game. 

Yes, the hit was unnecessary at that point, but to credit Ryan, he saw an opportunity to make a big hit, and he took it.

Had that happened at any other junction during the game, it would have been a monster hit by the forward, and would have likely started the same dog pile that ensued. 

Ryan kept his feet on the ground, his arms down, and made a great hit to the body of Moller who had his head down.     

Was it dirty?  Not at all. 

Was it a hit of frustration?  Definitely.

Had the Ducks showed that emotion in the first period, the game might have had a different outcome.

In addition to hitting a brick wall against Los Angeles, the Ducks suffered another loss when Saku Koivu left the game mid-way through with a "lower body injury."