Hockey

Corey Perry – There really was nothing better than Corey Perry having to do the football field walk of shame at the Winter Classic not five minutes in. Except that it nearly ended Ryan Ellis’s season, it was a terrible ad for the NHL on its biggest stage, and Corey Perry should be locked in a phone booth full of wasps. This guy can’t score anymore, can’t move anymore, so all he can do is his bullshit. He’ll be out of the league next year, and we can’t wait. He’s been Milan Lucic for years, except even dirtier.

Jamie Benn – It ain’t easy to get to heaven when you won’t go down.

Andrew Cogliano – Only because he’s assuredly going to score against the Hawks again today. With Zucker off to the East, he’s in contention for biggest Hawk-annoyance left.

Hockey

vs.

RECORDS: Hawks 9-9-4   Stars 13-8-2

PUCK DROP(S): Tonight and Tuesday at 7pm

TV: NBCSN Chicago Saturday, NBCSN Tuesday

TEXAS FLOOD: Defending Big D

It’s a bit strange that almost two months into the season, the Hawks have only played three divisional games. They haven’t seen St. Louis, or Colorado, or Minnesota, or Dallas yet. That will change over the Thanksgiving holiday, as the next five are within the Central and four of them will be amongst home-and-homes. It kicks off tonight with the first saunter of the campaign down to Texas, where the Hawks will start two against the hottest team in the league.

It’s been a miniature version of last season for the Stars, who won one of their first nine and now have ripped off 12 of their last 14. But whereas last year Jim Montgomery switched gears midseason to go all Trotz/Lemaire to shoot the Victory Green up the standings and into the playoffs, this year he’s loosened the reins a bit to give his team a little more freedom. But basically what both seasons boiled down to is either Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn are scoring or they’re not.

Montgomery even pulled the same switch as the owner last year, calling out his two stars in the press. He walked that back immediately, because he knows they’re the reason this team will be good or not, especially with John Klingberg out injured (again). Not that it didn’t work, as Seguin has piled up eight points in six games since and Benn seven. These two were playing well before of course, just weren’t getting the bounces.

It also helps that THE BISHOP has started flashing Vezina form again, which is the real strength of the team. Whatever the Stars do he is the backbone, and a .942 in November will backstop just about any system or teammates Montgomery would choose. The Hawks will duck Bishop tonight by the looks of it, but will probably see him on Tuesday in the return. Not that Anton Khudobin is some easy task either, as he also has a .942 in four November starts.

The Stars are a bit beat up, as Klingberg is a big miss and Roope Hintz being out erodes some of their depth as well (both returned on Saturday and both scored last night, so it’s pretty much the full strength Stars now). Miro Heiskanen has made up for a lot of what Klingberg would do, and has even inspired Jamie Oleksiak into some form of competence, which is a true upset.

That doesn’t mean the Stars are without depth. Joe Pavelski has gotten used to being in green and not teal of late, and is dovetailing with Alex Radulov on the second line. Even shit-demon Corey Perry has chipped in on the bottom six, and you know what Andrew Cogliano (NBA Jam voice: COGLIANO!) can do to the Hawks (and Fifth Feather’s little cartoon hearts).

Perhaps the main feature of the Stars forwards is they can adapt to a variety of styles given their IQ and speed. Montgomery certainly hasn’t shied from trying just about everything.

To the Hawks, who shouldn’t see too many changes from Thursday aside from putting the seven d-men plan into the freezer for good. As we’ve said, in a vacuum it makes sense and would make more with Adam Boqvist around. But this isn’t a vacuum, the players clearly hate it, and we likely won’t see it again for a while unless Colliton has a point to prove tonight. Certainly Dominik Kubalik has no business being scratched other than he’s the lowest hanging fruit to do so being a rookie. Enough of that shit.

The Stars are almost already out of touch for the Hawks, six points ahead though having played a game more. Still, the Hawks aren’t going to climb the standings if they can’t get wins within the division, and if they fall on their face in the next five they could be season-boned as it is. The Stars aren’t quite as stout as they insisted on being last year, but their goalies are so the Hawks will need a big performance from Lehner tonight you would think. And probably Crawford again on Tuesday. Montgomery might sense that without a puck-moving d-man, the best route for the Stars is to back up for these two and just trench the neutral zone and see what the Hawks can do about it.

The most familiar rivals for Thanksgiving. Isn’t it that way for everyone?

Everything Else

Do you remember the time Stan Bowman signed Brandon Manning and I completely lost my goddamn ass several times about it? Well if you liked that, you’re going to love watching me pull my entrails out of my eye sockets when they sign one of the biggest, dumbest, most useless pieces of shit on ice in Corey Perry.

Just look at what the always wonderful Scott Powers wrote recently:

The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reported Tuesday the Blackhawks’ offseason objective now that they’ve signed two defensemen is to find a forward or two who could help on faceoffs and the penalty kill. He also reported they have not contacted Lee’s camp and were likely aligning their cap space to pay for next offseason’s deals. LeBrun did mention Corey Perry as a possibility still. –Scott Powers, The Athletic, 06-26-19

Putting aside the hilarious fact that this implies that StanBo thinks Maatta and de Haan solve the blue line problems (they don’t), that Corey Perry is even a possibility is dumbfounding. So great, now we have to dive into this fucking toilet.

Physical Stats

Height: Taller than shit should be allowed to stack; Weight: As in, “Wait! Don’t sign Corey Perry!”

Age: 34; Shot: None

On-Ice Stats (2018–19)

Team: Ducks Position: Horse’s Ass

WHO GP, FUCKING G, CARES A, AT P, ALL PIM

Corey CF%, Perry xGF%, Sucks oZS%

Why the Hawks Should Sign Him

The Hawks should sign Corey Perry if they are looking for an excuse to fire Stan Bowman immediately.

Why the Hawks Shouldn’t Sign Him

Holy shit, where do you start? Corey Perry is a 34-year-old pylon who can’t skate, can’t score, and can’t contribute in any meaningful way. They already have Brent Seabrook doing that, but at least with Seabrook, there’s the veneer of leadership and memory of three Cups that we like to think about as we await the heat death of the universe that is the end of his contract.

Perry does literally nothing anymore. Last year, he played 31 games, scored six goals, and had 10 points overall. His 47 CF% was not only bad in a vacuum but also bad relative to his team (-2.1 CF% Rel), which was the fifth-worst possession team in the NHL last year. As mentioned in our Pavelski preview, the Hawks weren’t particularly good in possession or transition last year, and Corey Perry will only make them worse.

If you think that’s bad, check this out:

Games Played CF% CF% Rel oZS%
Ryan Kesler (C) 60 44.3 -5.1 37.7
Brian Gibbons (C) 44 44.7 -3.4 53.8
Cam Fowler (D) 59 45.1 -2.6 53.0
Corey Perry (Asshole) 31 47.0 -2.1 55.2

This is the list of guys who played at least 31 games and had worse possession rates than Perry on the Ducks. Kesler’s sort of makes sense, given his evaporated hip and hilariously low offensive zone start rate. If the Hawks signed someone like Brian Gibbons, you’d likely ask, “Who?” or “Why?” And Cam Fowler can’t be bothered to give a shit. On top of everything, Perry got hammock shifts and still sucked out loud in possession. That’s some good company to be in if you want to make a run at the #1 pick.

There is no conceivable situation in which Corey Perry fits. And even if there were, Perry’s held together by a combination of tape, spit, and shit. And let’s just pretend that the Hawks manage to make the playoffs this year. Are you ready to ride the Micheal Haley Experience, wherein a shitty, no-good, non-contributor finds himself on the ice in meaningful situations? Ask Sharks fans how that fucking worked out.

Perry doesn’t even fit the definition of the type of forward StanBo said he was looking for! Holy shit! Throughout his 14-year career, Perry has taken exactly 263 faceoffs and won 75 of them. That’s a 29% win percentage. Over the past two years, Perry has averaged 1.5 seconds on the penalty kill. That’s right: One point fucking five seconds. So if the Hawks are looking for faceoff and/or PK specialists, Corey Perry is not the motherfucker you’re looking for.

You wanna talk about how he won the Hart and Richard in 2011? Fuck you, it’s 2019. You wanna talk about how he’s a four-time All Star? Fuck you, I don’t care, the last time he made the All Star Team John Scott was on it. You wanna talk about how he’d come cheap and only for a year? Fucking sign Matt McClure if that’s the logic. He plays beer league. He’s tall. He can contribute at a similar rate as 2019 Perry. We did this with Sharp, Ladd, Oduya, and others, but at least with those guys, there were warm feelings to sort of mask the poor performances. Not so with Perry, who is a relentless and useless prick.

Verdict

No. Perry has all the appeal of a puddle of sundried sperm. If Bowman signs him, he should be fired out of a cannon into the sun and stripped of all his banners and rings. If you ever wondered how Bowman could cock up a free agent signing worse than Brandon Motherfucking Manning, I present to you Corey Perry, Toilet Baby.

Everything Else

That was usually the response after a viewing of my report card. Anyway…

So there was this. You ever had food turn to ash in your mouth, like that curse in the only good “Pirates Of The Caribbean?” Or a beer just go to pure salt? That feeling that your organs are actually melting and will soon excrete out your pores? Yeah, that was my reaction to this. It’s also the same feeling as watching Corey Perry play.

I know what the writers will say. He’s motivated. He’ll come cheap. He was once great. He brings “an edge.” Veteran leadership. Feel free to add your own hockey bullshit terms and ideas. You know what they are by now.

I can’t stress this enough. Corey Perry is finished. Done. Ex-Perry. Ceased to be. Shuffled off the mortal coil. He is no more. Not only did he come up with a mere six goals in 31 games last year, he did that coming off total knee surgery. He can’t move. And if he can’t move, he can’t score. He can’t even annoy, because you can’t annoy when you’re never within 20 feet of the puck. The only time he can annoy is after whistles, which only gets you a lot of penalties.

On top of that, his metrics are woeful. He couldn’t keep up with the Ducks, who were woeful themselves and coached by a GM who comes close to drowning in the rain. And he had those terrible metrics while getting to start most of his shifts in the offensive zone. He spent all his time backing up. Actually, he spent most of his time racing the trailing official back to his zone. He can’t do anything.

It has been four seasons since Corey Perry managed 20 goals. You can find probably 50 guys who can get you 15 goals who can actually skate and not cost you a penalty per night. He’s not even worth the risk for a bottom six, because your bottom six has to be fast in either a checking role or simply trying to match a fourth line. There is no room for plodders. Perry no longer has the skill to make up for being unable to move, unlike the past where his skill made up for middling skating ability. He’s a buoy in a dried up lake bed.

Sure, the bottom six is where you can take a risk or two. Because these days it feels like your bottom six is equivalent to a bullpen. You keep pulling the handle on it year after year and then one day you get the three 7s or whatever and you’re good. And then the next year all the same players could suck for no reason other than they are middling NHLers and that’s what they do. Don’t fucking tell me Pat Maroon was the key to the Blues success, which is clearly what the Hawks think they can replicate here. This is learning the wrong lessons. If you end up playing well then you trade for guys you wouldn’t normally stash on your bottom six but can in a playoff run like Marcus Johansson or Antoine Vermette once upon a time. Carl Hagelin in the past. That type.

If you wanted useful players on your bottom six for cheap, you wouldn’t have traded Domink Kahun for a medicine ball with a dumb face. Did you see David Backes this year? That’s what Perry will be, except likely worse (though cheaper). There is no, “Well, maybe he could…”  He can’t. And he sucks. And he’s a penis. Speed, speed, speed. Out and up the ice. Pressure everywhere. Perry helps you with exactly none of these things.

Why do I think this is going to be a disastrous week and a half for the Hawks?

Everything Else

vs.

RECORDS: Hawks 26-28-9   Ducks 24-30-9

PUCK DROP: 9pm

TV: NBCSN

MICKEY’S BUDDIES: Anaheim Calling

You can probably imagine the execs at NBCSN wishing they had flex scheduling tonight. Or maybe they wish they didn’t have to put up with the NHL at all. Either way, a Hawks-Ducks matchup on your flagship night is sure to result in some shaking heads and sighs around the offices and truck and a declaration of, “Let’s just get through this”. But hey, this is our duty, and we’ll stick to it.

If you want to be relieved in finally getting to watch a team that’s a bigger mess than the Hawks, well you’re in luck the next two dates on the Hawks’ calendar. The Ducks have become perhaps the league’s leading calamity, and if they’re not it’s up the I-5 for the Hawks on Saturday afternoon. There was a time when Anaheim was floating around the playoff spots, though that was solely due to John Gibson and his Vezina-worthy form at the time. Then that dropped off, then he got hurt, and all that was left was Randy Carlyle‘s bashing-two-rocks-together system and ways, which was getting the Ducks pummeled every night to begin with.

They went 12 in a row without a win. Then they piled on seven regulation losses in a row soon after that. They’ve lost three in a row heading into this one, scoring two goals in the process. All told, since the middle of December this team is 5-19-4. That’s how you go for broke in the lottery, peeps. Whatever I might think of Jeremy Colliton, I can confidently say he’s no Randy Carlyle.

In a move his mentor Bob Pulford would undoubtedly nod in approval over, before falling over into a puddle of his own puke, Bob Murray finally shitcanned RANDY and inserted himself behind the bench. Perhaps he wanted a better look at the refuse he’s taped together, or perhaps whatever dignity he has left wouldn’t allow him to subject any other poor soul to this. It hasn’t much helped, as you might be able to tell.

The Ducks are somehow worse than the Hawks defensively and metrically, and basically have been all season. Carlyle’s tactics didn’t help, which seemed to harken back to 2007, the only time he knows. That and helmets actually cause concussions. This guy had an NHL coaching job, people.

Not only are the Ducks irretrievably bad and expensive, they’re now banged up. Ryan Getzlaf, John Gibson, and Ryan Miller could all miss out tonight. Ondrej Kase definitely will. This roster is basically bong residue. Ryan Kesler is dead and has also stopped caring, which is a real shock. Corey Perry returned from surgery 12 games ago and is a fourth-liner making $8 million. Hampus! Hampus! has lost the will to live, and Cam Fowler‘s injury history has finally caught up to him and now he’s terrible.

If there’s any hope for the Ducks, it’s that some of their kids are up and are probably going to get a look. Names like Sam Steel, Troy Terry, Max Jones, and Brendan Guhle are going to be carrying whatever the Ducks are going forward, so that at least gives their 12 fans something to watch. But this is a whole lot of ugly right now, which is perfect for this part of Orange County. If you’ve been there, you know.

For the Hawks, their playoff “chase,” such as it was, probably came to an end with the o-for-2 at home on the weekend. However, with the Ducks and Kings on the schedule they have a chance to at least get back where they were, and maybe you spring a surprise on the Sharks on Sunday night (no, you don’t). If the Hawks don’t collect all four points from the first two-thirds of this trip, they’re officially cooked and we can get on with our lives.

It’s unlikely that Corey Crawford will get the start, though he’ll get one on the weekend. Then again, you can’t ask for a softer landing than this. This should be a glorified practice against a team now running out the clock, but nothing is ever that simple for an outfit like the Hawks. This one’s for the diehards only, and the true creatures of the night.

See you there.

 

Game #64 Preview Suite

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

CJ is the editor of AnaheimCalling.com. Follow him @CJWoodling. 

Now that the Ducks have decided to start over, is Bob Murray really the guy you want leading this rebuild?

The Ducks have decided to do more of a retool rather than a full-blown rebuild, more out of necessity than anything else. With more than 30% of the Ducks cap space tied up in Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Ryan Kesler, all with full NMCs for the next 3-4 seasons, they really can’t completely blow it all up.
That said, they have some good prospects on the verge of making an impact, some of while we’ll see tonight in Troy Terry, Max Jones, and Brendan Guhle, to name a few. With John Gibson still just 25 and locked up for 7 more years and younger pieces like Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm, and Ondrej Kase, they could be competitive again very soon.

Bob Murray has never had to do a retool like this, however. He inherited a team in 2009 with a recent cup win and transitioned it to a consistent competitor without rebuilding. Most of us are willing to see what he can do with this team given the pieces he currently has.

Why was Jakob Silfverberg someone the Ducks decided they have to have?

Bob Murray has a history of handing out extensions like candy to anyone who has performed halfway decently in recent seasons. Jakob Silfverberg has been a good two-way player and a good playoff performer over the years. Murray loves his safe, low-risk, two-way players, so it’s not surprising he wanted to hang onto him. The fan base, however, is fairly divided over the extension.
There’s a ton of bad paper on the Ducks. Is anyone getting bought out in the summer?
There are three candidates for buyout on the Ducks in Getzlaf, Perry, and Kesler. Murray has only every bought out one player in his tenure, so it’s unlikely he does it again, especially for one of these expensive players.
Getzlaf is still a borderline-elite player, so he’s off the board. Corey Perry has looked fantastic since coming back from knee surgery, so he’s probably off the table as well. That leaves us with Ryan Kesler, who has less than 10 points on the season and who’s hip is on the verge of exploding at any moment. Buying out Kesler would save the Ducks more than $4 million, but put more than $2 million on the books for six more seasons. Not sure if ownership is willing to swallow that.

Might the Ducks have to lose someone who is young and productive just to accommodate all the bad paper they have and get picks/prospects?

We kind of saw that with the trade of Brandon Montour, trading a 24-year-old good, offensive blueliner for a 1st round pick. However, getting Brendan Guhle back, a 21-year-old with elite skating ability, might mitigate what was lost there. With several kids on the verge of making an impact on the Ducks, I don’t foresee the Ducks losing another young and productive player unless next season unexpectedly goes down the tube again.

 

Game #64 Preview Suite

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

They’re just never as bad as you or I want them to be. And they’ll be worse this year, but not bad enough.

While Bob Murray certainly had a hand in torching the Hawks on the ice in the late-90s, his work for the most part in Anaheim has been all right. Their depth has eroded, which happens to most teams, but they seem to keep producing youngsters who can at least step in and not have their brain drip out their ear. Corey Perry is now dead to match his stink, and Ryan Getzlaf will probably be an even bigger passenger than he was before if that’s even possible. Ryan Kesler may not even play, and that may not even be a bad thing.

And most of all, they play in a division that’s a car crash after the Sharks and maybe the Knights (let’s not just put their name in ink just yet until we see if Marc-Andre Fleury tosses up a .907 first). In any other division in hockey they’d struggle to make the playoffs. In this one, simply through Josh Gibson and their defense they probably don’t even have to worry about a wildcard spot, unless the Flames or Oilers get a wild hair on their ass. Let’s run it.

20187-2018: 44-25-13 101 points  235 GF 216 GA  48.6 CF% 48.4 xGF% 8.1 SH% .933 SV%

Goalies: Not only did the Ducks get John Gibson‘s best season, they got one of the better backup seasons in the league from Ryan “They Keep Calling Me” Miller. Gibson threw a .926 at the league and Miller supported that with a .928, which came in handy in 28 appearances. The Ducks get to run that back again this season.

That marked the third-straight season that Gibson was over .920 and second-straight over .927 at evens. As he’s only 25 and entering what you would think his peak would be, this is probably the norm and any team that can sport a .925 goalie every night is going to find it hard to be bad. Which is annoying because everyone, including everyone in Anaheim who would clearly like to be doing anything else but can’t because it’s fucking Orange County, would be happier if the Ducks were irrelevant.

If there’s one thing Gibson is going to have to overcome is an incomplete-at-best playoff resume, as he was silly putty against the Sharks last year and not much better against the Predators or Oilers the year before that. But the Ducks were so overmatched and outplayed by the Sharks I don’t think it matters anyway.

At 38, Miller has found a home as a backup, and the Ducks are one of the few teams that could survive an injury to their starter. You wouldn’t want Miller playing 50 games, but anything short of that is a boon.

Defense: On paper, this has a chance to be a pretty young, dynamic blue line. And yet…

You look at Hampus! Hampus!, Cam Fowler, Josh Manson, and Brandon Montour and you think, “Wow, that’s a lot of mobile, skilled d-men there.” And yet you watch the Ducks and you struggle to find a shit to give. Maybe it’s Randy Carlyle‘s system, but none of these guys pushed the play at a positive rate last year. Cam Fowler has mastered the “So What?” method his entire career. Really, only Manson and Hampus! Hampus! were weapons last season, and they don’t play as much as Fowler and Montour for reasons. If Manson and Hampus! Hampus! take the top pairing minutes and Fowler and Montour do a little more bum-slaying, it will be good. If Carlyle’s mush-brain gets in the way…

The third-pairing looks to be rookie Marcus Pettersson and glorified ent Andrej Sustr, who’s never done anything for anyone. Korbinian Holzer could return in March or so, if that’s something you want to wait for and believe me you don’t.

Forwards: If the Ducks were smart, or smarter, they’d have been trying to move Ryan Getzlaf and his inability to find a fuck to give anywhere down to the #2 center role at least two years ago. But they haven’t, counting on the gremlins and duct tape that Ryan Kesler was made out of to do all the hard work. Well, now thats not an option, and the Ducks will be rolling with essentially an older, balder, dumber, less-determined Jonathan Toews as their #1 center. Getzlaf managed 61 points in just 56 games last year, which would make you think he rediscovered his give-a-shit, but don’t you believe it. He got run over in the playoffs, which is his finisher, and you can count on him to do so again this year. And without Kesler around, he may have to take on harder assignments which he’ll have about as much interest in as your dog does of learning geometry.

Corey Perry died, and good riddance. Rickard Rakell is going to have to do a lot of the scoring to make the top line go, which makes his 34 goals last year pretty handy. Without Kesler, Adam Henrique will be the #2 center with Fifth Feather fave Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg, which is a pretty nifty second-line except thanks to Perry’s rotting corpse and Getzlaf’s rotting want-to it’s probably the first line.

The depth after that falls off a cliff though, with really only Ondrej Kase having any level of NHL-success on the bottom six. If the top line misfires, there’s not going to be anyone to pick up the slack, and that’s even if Carlyle could be convinced to trust young kids. Troy Terry and Sam Steel come in with serious junior/college pedigree, and the four Ducks fans who actually know what’s going on will be livid when The Toast Maker is trying to cram Patrick Eaves in ahead of one of them.

Outlook: If Steel and Terry stick, this is a pretty young Ducks team below the top line. The goalies are good, and with the right coach the defense could be as well. But Perry is done, and Getzlaf has to pile up the points that end up not mattering if this team is going to score enough. Still, there is no softer landing than the Pacific., They’re not the Sharks, they’re probably not the Knights. But they’re better than whatever else is stuck to the pipes out west. Another playoff appearance awaits. Just don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

Previous Team Previews

Detroit Red Wings

Buffalo Sabres

Boston Bruins

Florida Panthers

Montreal Canadiens

Ottawa Senators

Tampa Bay Lightning

Toronto Maple Leafs

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New York Islanders

New York Rangers

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Pittsburgh Penguins

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Everything Else

 vs. 

RECORDS: Hawks 28-29-8   Ducks 32-21-12

PUCK DROP: 3:00 PM

TV: NBCSN Chicago

UNDERGROUND DISNEYLAND OVERLORDS: Anaheim Calling

After showing an actual pulse yesterday in the third period, after a comeback we hadn’t seen in a very long while, and after an actually stirring win (though signifying nothing), the Hawks reward is to huff it down the I-5 to Orange County. Almost doesn’t seem fair. Anaheim isn’t a reward for anything.

What the Hawks will find when they get there is much like yesterday, a team clutching the last playoff spot with one or two cla…feet? Beaks? Whatever, carry your own metaphor here. The Ducks are in the last wild card spot, one point ahead of both the Avs and Blues and three ahead of the Flames. They’re four behind the Kings for the right to have another Battle of California in the first round.

It’s been up and down since you last saw Anaheim take a tight one over the Hawks here at the UC 20 days ago. They won the next three in Dallas, Vegas and Minnesota, but then found a way to only find a point in back-to-back games against the Coyotes and Oilers. They bounced back on Thursday with a win over the similarly flailing Blue Jackets.

Not much has changed with the Ducks in that time, roster-wise. GM Bob Murray didn’t think this team was worth investing too heavily into at the deadline, and with good cause. The problems they have–i.e. Cory Perry died, Ryan Getzlaf stopped caring about three seasons ago, and Ryan Kesler is now made of gum and duct tape–aren’t going to be solved by any trade. The Ducks can’t score much thanks to Perry dragging down the top line and Kesler the second, and Adam Henrique on the third can only do so much. But they don’t give up much either, thanks to the sterling form of John Gibson and Randy “Concussions Happen Because The Brain Gets Hot While Wearing A Helmet” Carlyle’s system not really allowing for any adventure on either side. They do that while still playing Kevin Bieksa, which is a hell of an accomplishment.

That’ll make for a real decision for Murray this summer, as Gibson will be heading into the last year of his deal. Thankfully for Murray it’ll only be an RFA problem but we know what starting goaltenders go for. Another big year from Gibson and he could ask for a lot from a team committed to paying their three cadavers at forward $23.4 million from here until The Reckoning.

While the Ducks will be flapping furiously until the end of the season (see what I did there?) to make the playoffs, that’s basically only window dressing for them. This team is most likely first-round cannon fodder for anyone they see, unless Gibson simply goes nuts. They don’t have the front-line scoring as Perry and Getzlaf are just too easily taken out of games now (as they always were in any game that mattered when they could move). Hampus! Hampus! is having a Norris quality season but Carlyle is insisting on playing him with Bieksa now, so what’s that shutting down? Cam Fowler and Brandon Montour aren’t doing that either. Stranger things have happened of course, but don’t bet on it. And once they’re out, this Ducks window is almost certainly closed.

Shouldn’t see too many changes from the Hawks, other than in net where JF Berube will hopefully not have Erik Gustafsson trying to kill him emotionally and physically as he did in San Jose. Q could get cute we guess and start Forsberg again, trying to ride the wave of yesterday. Whatever at this point. More of The Nuclear Option and see just what Carlyle wants to combat that with.

We know most of you are rooting for losses and better drafting position. We don’t blame you. But given how much we hate Anaheim and that they still have something to play for, seeing the Hawks try and build something off of yesterday and making life harder for the Ducks has major appeal. This one won’t be pretty given how the Ducks normally play, their stakes in this one, and the Hawks having played yesterday. But as is always the case in Orange County, just get through it and get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.

Game #66 Preview

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

A scheduling quirk sees the Hawks play three straight teams that they just played, so here’s the Q&A we did with @MsJenNeale just two weeks ago. 

The Ducks have had their injury problems, but are kind of floating in the netherworld below the playoffs and all the metrics suggest that’s about right. Is this where this team should be?

Yes, I would say so. John Gibson is epically average – as I’ve insisted for years. Randy Carlyle is who we thought he was, Mr. Dump ‘n Chase. Kesler is playing at 60% after offseason hip surgery. The Ducks are lucky the rest of the Pacific (sans Vegas) is a dumpster fire or they’d be worse off.

 

Rickard Rakell is having another big season, though accumulating a fair amount on the power play. Is he or will he be a premier even-strength scorer?

The kid is magical. It depends on if he can stay healthy and who he plays with. Keep him with Getzlaf and he probably starts getting more even strength goals. Lord knows Getzlaf won’t shoot and Perry couldn’t put a beach ball in the net.

Corey Perry has 12 goals so far after 19 last year. Is he D-O-N-E?
 He certainly appears to have stopped stealing souls or drinking the blood of sacrificed animals in order to gain his talent. He’s still doing Corey Perry things on the ice, but the scoring isn’t there. I don’t think he’s done-done, but he’s not scoring 25 goals anymore. Dude doesn’t even play in OT because he’s too slow. When Getzlaf is out-skating you, you got a problem. 
On the flip side, we’ve been trying to make a Norris case for Hampus Lindholm even if he doesn’t have the points. That good?
So, so good. He embodies what the Norris Trophy should be rewarded for. The sad part is he plays out West and won’t score a ton of points so he won’t get the attention he deserves. His shot is getting better so maybe one day he’ll get a Norris (for points).
Where is this Ducks team headed in the next couple years?
 Hear that creaking sound? That’s the window closing. Getzlaf, Perry and Kesler are signed until the end of time, and they’re clearly on the downside of their careers. Around them are a lot of young, but good parts. If Patrick Eaves never plays again, I’d hope the Ducks could keep Adam Henrique with that money. He’s been a revelation.
 I’m mostly concerned with what Bob Murray does when Gibson’s contract is up after next season. He’ll be an RFA and Murray looooooves him. I don’t want the Ducks money tied up in an average goalie for a long time. They’ve already done they with three forwards. It’s only going to make future success by the team damn near impossible. (I still miss Freddie Anderson.)

 

 

Game #66 Preview

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 vs. 

RECORDS: Ducks 27-20-11   Hawks 24-25-8

PUCK DROP: 7:30

TV: NBCSN Chicago

NOT MISCHA BARTON: Anaheim Calling

It seems so long ago now that games between these teams really meant something. Really got the blood going. There was the one in 2013 in Anaheim that was between the two best winning percentages in like NHL history. Then another one a week later. There was the ’15 Conference Final, one of the weirdest and stressful series the Hawks ever played. It’s memories like that we’ll have to cling to even tighter now, to get through the last two months here. They’re going to seem a little foggier than they did.

Anyway, the Hawks are scheduled to show up to host the Ducks tonight. The Ducks still have things to play for, as due to the Pacific Division’s utter incompetence they haven’t been bounced from those playoff spots and they’re only three points behind the Wild for a wild card spot. Not that you’ve thought about the Ducks at all this season, and really nor should you.

For one, the Ducks have been beat up, and they weren’t all that interesting to begin with. Getzlaf, Perry (not sure if it still matters), Kase, Kesler, Fowler, Hampus! Hampus!, and Eaves have all missed significant time this year. They’ve barely had a full lineup at any point. At the moment only Eaves is still out, so this is as close as they’ve gotten.

But even that lineup isn’t really impressive, at least not at forward. Corey Perry is just an anal fissure now, as he can’t score or move. He’s basically a slow Burrows, except he’s so slow he can’t even get there to provide his normal bullshit. He won’t get suspended at any time because he’ll never be there in time to knee anyone. Ryan Getzlaf stopped caring about shooting or skating in between the circles at least four years ago, and that’s only gotten worse. Kesler  is on one hip now and can’t really score to make it all count the way he used to, and he can barely get in range so you can hear whatever he’s yapping about. That basically leaves the Ducks without a #1 center or much of a #1 line. Rickard Rakell is making a fist of it but a good portion of his scoring comes on the man-advantage. Kase, Silfverberg, apple of Fifth Feather’s eye Cogliano, these are all useful players but they’re middle six players. Adam Henrique has threatened at being more since coming over from Jersey, and without him, boy who knows where they’d be? It’s hardly a shock that the Ducks are 24th in goals per game, and Randy Carlyle’s “hit that thing with that thing” method of opening up offense or any jar in his house isn’t helping.

It’s unfortunate, because there could be a pretty dynamic, young defensive group here. Hampus! Hampus! might be the most underrated player in the league. Brandon Montour has had a breakout season. Josh Manson has kept pace with Hampus! Hampus! Cam Fowler actually turned out to be what we always made fun of him for not being. But they’re weighed down by Kevin “Vacuous Maw” Bieksa and Francois “No I’m Not Dead I Always Look Like That” Beauchemin. And they aren’t given much license to get creative from their coach, to which a good dump-in is akin to a religion. Whenever the Ducks blow it up, if they decide to or even can, the blue line will be a nice building block.

They’ve been backed up most of the year by John Gibson, who’s just good enough to break your heart. He actually goes RFA this year which should make for some interesting viewing. Either way, the Ducks should be a desperate team tonight.

For the Hawks…I don’t even know any more. It looks like Erik Gustafsson will be the scratch tonight as Carl Dahlstrom has impressed enough to stick around. And that’s fine. Glass Jeff has been punted back to Rockford, and that’s fine. J.F. Berube is your new import, which tells you everything you need to know. Tommy Wingels and Lance Bouma are on the top two lines as Stan hangs a “For Sale” sign out in the hopes of mid-round picks for both. To compensate for that Top Cat is on a fourth line with Hartman and Sharp, and we are left to look around and where we are and think about all our regrets and mistakes in our lives.

At this point, as we’ve said, it’s really just about pride. The Hawks really didn’t play badly in Vegas and were undone by a goalie who simply didn’t belong. Not really anyone’s fault on that. They at least looked like they wanted to be there. Should be an interesting atmosphere at the UC tonight. First off, probably won’t be more than three-quarters full, which will come as a shock to some. And it will be a crowd ready to groan, jeer, and boo at a moment’s notice. This is the old days, the bad days, the all-or-nothing days! They’re back, there’s no choices left.

 

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