April 17, 2003

Ducks win! Ducks win! Ducks win! Should they be considered the new Cup favorites?

posted by qbert72 to hockey at 02:41 AM - 24 comments

No. They played wonderfully and Detroit played terribly, but I still don't think they have the ability to get past Colorado. San Jose did the same thing to a strong Detroit team back in 1992, but lost in the next round anyways. But then again, maybe it's going to be a Disney year and they win this championship as well as the baseball one. If they can get to the finals, I wouldn't count them out.

posted by grum@work at 07:53 AM on April 17, 2003

I know I'm not alone at being really shocked by this. Not necessarily the Ducks winning, but a sweep? Who, even amongst the most loyal and idealistic Duck fans, saw that coming? It's a bit of a shame too, because I was really hoping for a Stars v. Wings Western Conference final. If it was anything like their match-ups in the regular season, that would've been a historic series. Oh well, go Stars!

posted by Ufez Jones at 09:01 AM on April 17, 2003

Man, was I wrong about that series. Oh well. Small consolation, but at least the Bruins aren't the first team out of the playoffs this year.

posted by Samsonov14 at 09:06 AM on April 17, 2003

"The hockey gods reward the hardest workers and Rucchin worked the hardest this series and he deserved the goal," Anaheim rookie coach Mike Babcock said. Hockey gods? Is he talking about Gretzky or Howe? Anyway, I'm glad. Nothing makes me happier than to see smug Wings fans have to watch the rest of the postseason while mumbling about rookie coaches and CuJo. Folks, these are the Yankees of the NHL ... and they just got their asses whooped by the hockey equivalent of the Angels. For whom does this make the road to the Finals clearest? I'd like to think it helps the Blues the most, but is Colorado now the team to beat?

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:37 AM on April 17, 2003

I blame CuJo! And Steven King!

posted by billsaysthis at 09:39 AM on April 17, 2003

As a "smug" Wings fan. I had a bad feeling about this series from the get go. The Wings' started looking shaky back in the second to last game in the regular season when they struggled to tie Columbus. The loss to Chicago in overtime was a harbinger of this. I don't think the blame for the sweep should relly fall on CuJo, either... he put up the second best numbers in the first round of all teams. Giguere is on fire, and is going to be a tough nut for any team to crack. Honestly, the Wings were not playing playoff hockey. There was definitely something missing, and I'm not sure that you can point the finger at Lewis either. They lost as a team. Defensive miscues, and Dandenault generally playing with his head up his a**. ah well, I can finally say this: Go LEAFS!

posted by tj at 11:34 AM on April 17, 2003

qbert, nice initial call! but i don't think anybody thought a sweep was possible. i thought the wings played well, but didn't make the right adjustments. I also think their confidence worked against them. well, anyone who plays the Ducks can't have better than 50/50 odds to take them. The arrival is official, Gigs can play!

posted by garfield at 12:08 PM on April 17, 2003

This article is worth a read if only for this bewildering sentence: For the last week, the Red Wings were like an ogre taking punches from a leprechaun, saying, "That didn't hurt" and "That didn't hurt" -- and then toppling over dead. You know, I was thinking the same thing.

posted by Samsonov14 at 12:33 PM on April 17, 2003

The funny thing is, I called a sweep for the Wings in my hockey pool, and I still get points for calling the right number of games. Less funny for the rest of us, someone else in the pool called the Ducks sweep. The Wings played sloppy, regular-season style hockey. Missed passes and whiffed slapshots all over the place. Defencemen out of position, no bodies on Giguere, mediocre goaltending. I even heard that in game one there was a delayed penalty against Anaheim, and Cujo went to the bench but no sixth attacker replaced him. Yes, that's right, they forgot to put the extra man out! Way to go Dave Lewis. Anyway, the entire Western Conference owes Anaheim big. I don't think they'll get past Colorado or Dallas or even St Louis, but they've done their damage this year.

posted by Succa at 02:08 PM on April 17, 2003

I can't help but compare Anaheim to Montreal of last year. The Habs basically rode the coattails of the hottest goalie in the league through the last couple of games in the regular season, and through round 1 against the godless Bruins. However, when the Beloved finally solved him in game 4, round 2 (aka the Miracle at Molson), it was all down hill for the Canadiens from then on. I kind of hope that it doesn't work out like that for the Ducks. I've always loved a feisty underdog, and Anaheim is certainly filling that role this year.

posted by NoMich at 03:21 PM on April 17, 2003

I'd say that this ranks as one of the last decade's top 3 upsets in the West. The other two? Well, grum mentioned the Wings' loss to San Jose a decade ago. That loss cost GM Brian Murray his job. Brian Murray is now the GM of the Ducks. Consider it retribution. The third one? Edmonton's win over Colorado. Who was the one to steal the show in that series? Why, CuJo of course. That series established him as a "top" goalie in the league. THIS series has brought him down from that podium (whether it's his fault or not), only to be replaced by Giguere -- this year's star. I feel really weird cheering for a team from Anaheim called the Mighty Ducks, but they deserve it. I liked what they did in the season with their acquisitions (go Stumpy Thomas! Great to see him up there again), I've always liked Kariya, and Giguere has definitely impressed. They have some good young guys too, so the future looks bright. I'm surprised that they managed the sweep, but not too surprised about the win. Great on them! Here's to them making the finals (only to lose to the Leafs. *ahem*)

posted by mkn at 01:10 AM on April 18, 2003

I think we need to better grasp the size of this upset. You can't compare it to the Wings losing to San Jose in 94. At that time, the Red Wings were a team that hadn't won the Cup since 1955 and a 21yo Chris Osgood had just stolen the #1 goalie spot from Tim Cheveldae. And they lost in 7. This time around, the Wings are the winningest playoff team of the last ten years, they're the defending champions, and they have been swept in round 1 by a team winning its 2nd series ever. I'm thinking this may well be the biggest upset in hockey since the 1980 Miracle on Ice. Thanks for the props, garfield!

posted by qbert72 at 02:14 AM on April 18, 2003

Biggest upset? Nahh. Maybe of the last few years, but no where near the all time biggest upsets (by percentage). By my lousy calculations, it wouldn't even be close to being a top 10. Anaheim was just 15 points behind Detroit. By comparison, Minnesota was 38 points behind Chicago and a sub-.500 in the regular season. They even managed to get to the finals, too. I think it's just perceived to be more of an upset than it really is. Detroit is finally showing it's age; and Anaheim is, IMO, quite underrated. I guess it's hard for the rest of the league to take a hockey team from Anaheim seriously. People across the continent are finally coming to realisation that the Ducks ain't half bad.

posted by mkn at 03:31 AM on April 18, 2003

mkn, it's the name. It's just so hard to take the "mighty ducks" seriously. Sounds weak, but I really do think that has something to do with the perception of their team.

posted by Samsonov14 at 08:36 AM on April 18, 2003

the ducks get no love b/c a.)they've been a one-man team for years, b.) i can't imagine the fan base is exceptional, and who can blame them, i wouldn't wear a 'might ducks' hat, making games at the pond a joke, and c.) they've been a one man team for years. now that kariya has a supporting cast(sykora, leclerc, healthy rucchin, stevie T, oates), really impressive rising stars(pahlsson, krog), the emergence of Carney (who knew this guy was a beast), and another great Quebecer in net, they might finally get that R-E-S-P-E-C-T! btw, what is the deal with great tending and being french canadian? im serious about this, what makes Quebec churn out goalie after NHL goalie.

posted by garfield at 01:07 PM on April 18, 2003

Ummm ... there's nothing better to do in Quebec than get hit with pucks, maybe?

posted by wfrazerjr at 01:15 PM on April 18, 2003

garfield, think about how much better the MDs might be next year if the get Selanne back as a free agent, too. Sharks never got to the Cup with him but a good run this year plus the old Kariya/Selanne one-two punch...

posted by billsaysthis at 05:49 PM on April 18, 2003

Dunno if you can call Pahlsson a "rising star", garfield. He'll be an decent third-liner, but that's about it. At least I hope so. I'm pretty sure he was sent to BOS from COL in the Bruin's Bourque trade, and later shipped for Patrick Traverse. Kariya and Selanne had great chemistry. It was a shame they were broken up.

posted by Samsonov14 at 02:05 PM on April 19, 2003

well, weighted in playoff production, pahlsson will have a better year than any bruin.

posted by garfield at 09:41 AM on April 21, 2003


posted by Samsonov14 at 10:00 AM on April 21, 2003

had to bro.

posted by garfield at 10:28 AM on April 21, 2003

That was a little cheap, garfield. I call Unsportsmanlike Conduct. :-) Back on topic, mkn provided good links about playoff upsets, but I don't believe you can simply count the importance of the upset by substracting regular season averages. Some teams are traditional playoff underachievers (Blues, anyone?), and everybody knows the playoffs are a "whole new season". That being said, I think the most similar upset in recent history would be the Islanders ousting the champion Penguins in '93. Of course, the Isles lost to the Canadiens in the next round, who went on to become surprise Cup winners. Is that the Ducks' fate? Have they just opened the way for another Cinderella team? Or are they both the Isles and the Canadiens from '93? I can't wait for the second round already. And we have a game 7! Wouhou!

posted by qbert72 at 06:37 PM on April 21, 2003

Welcome to the Bizarro playoffs. Anaheim knocks off Detoit, Minnesota knocks off Colorado.

posted by tj at 10:36 AM on April 23, 2003

What was all this hype about the best in the West being stronger than anything in the East? The #2 and #3 seeds in the West go crashing to Earth, but all the top seeds (1-4) in the East are alive and well for round 2. Here are my predictions for round 2: Ducks vs Stars: Stars in 5 because I think the Disney magic wears off. Wild vs Canucks: Wild in 7 because I think the defensive system of Minnesota is going to wreak havoc on the top line of Vancouver. Flyers vs Senators: Senators in 6 because they are a better team than the Leafs and I still don't trust Flyers' defence/goaltending. Lightning vs Devils: Devils in 4 because the Buhlin Wall is good, but Brodeur is better. As a Leaf fan (and therefore bitter and angry today), I'm cheering for a Wild/Stars (old Minnesota team vs new Minnesota team) and Senators/Devils (best in the East) matchup in the semi-finals.

posted by grum@work at 12:23 PM on April 23, 2003

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.