Anaheim Ducks Officially Eliminated from the Playoffs

SKCorrespondent IApril 7, 2010

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 19:  Curtis McElhinney #31 of the Anaheim Ducks skates back to the net after giving up a goal to the New York Islanders at the Honda Center on March 19, 2010 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

With a 5-4 shootout loss to the crosstown rival Los Angeles Kings, the Anaheim Ducks are officially plucked from the postseason.

(Colorado’s defeat of the Vancouver Canucks in overtime put the nail in the coffin.)

Plain and simple, a team that gives up a three-goal lead and proceeds to lose in a shootout has no chance in the postseason.

Tuesday's loss to the Kings was the epitome of the Ducks’ season: bursts of hope and passion coupled with moments of pure confusion and utter hopelessness.

Add in a dash of underperforming, untimely injuries, terrible defense, and an unwillingness to shoot the puck, and you've got a good idea of what the 2009-2010 season was like for Anaheim.

With some consistency and a touch of drive and determination, the season could have gone better, and we might be celebrating a different kind of ending this year.

So be it.

The Ducks deserve the early summer they've been given.

This team has been preparing for the summer break since the first game of the season, when they fell to the San Jose Sharks, losing 4-1 on home ice. When they finished the month of October 4-6-2, it was a good indication that it was time to panic in Anaheim.

Yet the team pushed on with the hopes of a late-season surge like they had in the 2008-09 season. They played the game as if that was going to be acceptable. 

We can blame the Olympics or point to injuries during the season, but those are just excuses. 

Time and again we’ve said that a team with an astounding eight Olympians shouldn’t be performing the way they are.

Yet the team never turned the corner. 

Even with a trade deadline that improved the struggling blue line, it wouldn’t be enough to spark the team in the final moments when it mattered most.

I’ve said that any organization must feel the pains of losing to really appreciate the victories. Lately, Anaheim has been taking the victories for granted—expecting success to be handed to them without putting forth the effort required to deserve it. 

I still feel that this is the best thing that could have happened for Anaheim this year. Missing the postseason might just be what the doctor ordered for an unmotivated group of young, talented individuals. 

This medicine is bitter. Hopefully they remember this taste in October.

Is it too soon to start counting down to next season?