It used to be tradition that playoff exits were complimented by eulogies on Puck Daddy. But with Wysh off in the Connecticut hinterlands and those who remain at Yahoo! being a bunch of Canadian giblets who take things far too seriously (and Lambert being angry and definitely not a Bruins fan), we don’t need them to do what we do best. So fuck it. We’ll eulogize all 15 teams that will eventually fall. Today, perhaps our favorite target…
Here’s a stat for you: Four games, no goals, 25 shots.
That’s what Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry, and Ryan Getzlaf put up in their four-game surrender to the San Jose Sharks this past week. And that’s still what the Ducks forward group pivots around. It would seem their 2011-2013 Canucks cosplay is now complete, and we can look forward to the Ducks fading into Bolivia next year. Hey, Alain Vigneault is available!
And I get the impression that’s what they would prefer. We used to greatly enjoy the Ducks yearly capitulation in Game 7s at home, after leading 3-2. Then we marveled at it. Then we just accepted it as a rite of spring, right alongside canceled home games for the Cubs and Sox, summer beers hitting the shelves, and maybe one pothole in your zip code getting fixed.
But I figured something out watching this team last night. They want to lose. They don’t want to be in Orange County any longer than they have to. Think about it. You can’t lose that many series from winning positions unless deep down somewhere inside of you that’s really what you want. There are no accidents, Freud. Which tells you just how bad the Oilers have to be because even with the Ducks actively trying to end their own season, the Oilers couldn’t walk through the very opened door.
Go back and look in their faces. They hate being Ducks. Because really, what’s the appeal? Oh sure, the sun and warmth? Would you really trade that to have to live in Anaheim? It’s San Diego without the whimsy. And San Diego is just Boston without the winter or unique architecture. And Boston SUCKS. And aside from the fish tacos and craft beer, San Diego sucks. So imagine being in a worse version all the time, and stuck in traffic. Choosing which mini mall you’ll shop at today. Cuisine that at its height features Del Taco. You play in a soulless building in front of perhaps the dumbest per capita fanbase in the league (as there are only like 19 Ducks fans). You have to wear a jersey that looks like something people thrown out of Tron wore. You play for a coach who couldn’t make toast and makes anyone who completes two consecutive passes skate laps or drink canola oil. And he replaced a coach whose tactical plan consisted of a picture of The Little Engine That Could. Nothing you ever do will matter. You claim a parking lot as your home. You’re second banana to a baseball team that hasn’t mattered in over a decade.
Thanks to a fluke championship where they also happened to lead the league in fights, the entire organization and fans think that if the Ducks aren’t fighting they’re losing. So everywhere you go some jackass in socks and sandals and a backwards and upside down visor is telling you to fight more when you can’t score. You’re always answering for Corey Perry’s and Ryan Kesler’s shit, even though they can’t play anymore. You’re watching Ryan Getzlaf barely enter the offensive zone for fear he might injure his check-endorsing hand. What’s the point?
Even Kesler doesn’t want to anymore. If you watched him enter any scrum last night you saw a guy doing what he thought he was supposed to from memory. The passion wasn’t there. He was just following a script. He wanted to go back home…the abandoned boathouse among the possums he calls his family. Whatever life-force he had has circled the drain round the 405 like the rest of the place.
It’s not that this team is old, though it is in spots. It’s not that it has holes in the roster, though it does. It’s that just that even being a Duck has robbed them of life. Whatever light they had has gone out. They don’t care anymore, and they won’t until the roster is completely turned over. And moved to Portland or Hamilton. Anaheim has robbed this team of any soul, to match the setting it plays in. This is a team that wants to fold in on itself. It wants to die. It wants to no longer exist.
So you’ve got your wish for another year, Ducks. But I’m sorry to say, for all of us, that you’ll have to do it all again in October. And it will be even more pointless than before. No one’s coming to put you out of your misery permanently. You’ll have to keep doing this, in the diseased prostate of California, forever. There is no escape.