Ducks Losing Heart As Well As Games

There is an old definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Right about now, both Ducks fans and the Anaheim Ducks team are completely, certifiably insane. 

Ducks fans are insane because they keep showing up (or watching) games, expecting a win every time.  They figure the losing streak has to end sometime, and yet the results are the same every single time.  Loss.  Loss.  Loss.   Gluttons for punishment, they can’t seem to stop hoping.

The team itself is equally insane – from the top level of management all the way down to the fourth line.

The Ducks continue to play the same system, refuse to play a full 60 minutes of hockey, talk until they are blue in the face, commit the same errors that prove costly time and time again, and cannot dig themselves out of a hole to save their lives.  Yet they keep showing up to the games and proceed to hope for rather than create a victory.

Management is nuts because they continue to believe that it is the personnel and personnel alone that is contributing to the poor play on the ice.  Yes, every single one of those team members has a personal responsibility for their actions on the ice and how they play.  However,  like an orchestra, someone has to conduct them or you get a cacophony of noise, no matter the talent level of each individual musician. 

Clearly GM Bob Murray has replaced the people whom he obtained to replace the people that he had alrady replaced.   And Murray has blatantly (annually) stated he is not getting rid of Randy Carlyle, ever, during his tenure with Anaheim. 

Yes, Carlyle helped the Ducks achieve a Stanley Cup.  But how many other coaches have helped their teams win the Stanley Cup, yet they are no longer coaching those teams?  Past performance is not indicative of future returns. 

The latest Anaheim loss, a 5-2 debacle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, was no different than the other losses suffered by Anaheim since mid October.  Since October 17, the end of a four game winning streak, the Ducks have won two games.  They have had 12 losses and 4 overtime losses.  One of the two games, on November 11 versus the Vancouver Canucks, felt like a loss despite the final results.  With the way the Ducks played in the final period of that game, they should have lost that one, too.

The past three games the Ducks have been scoring first, but to no avail.  The opposing team (fill in the blank for the name) comes back and takes the lead, often in a short period of time, and the Ducks might as well get off the ice and concede defeat.  Insanely, they continue to skate, pull the goaltender for an extra attacker to try to score more goals than they have for the whole game in less than a minute, then shake their heads when things are not any different at the final buzzer. 

“We just seem to be dead between the ears,” Carlyle said. “We’re not thinking. We’re not reading. Then it seems we pile on extra work for ourselves from our lack of execution by making a pass to a guy who is covered or an ill-advised pass where the opposition has a player in a position to block the pass that we make. It turns into defensive zone coverage for 35-40 seconds. It’s mind boggling some of the plays we’re trying to make.”

In the game against Toronto, Francois Beauchemin gave brief hope to the Ducks by scoring on the power play at 9:51 of the first period.  Less than five minutes later, all hope was dashed.   Tyler Bozak and Clarke MacArthur scored :19 seconds apart to give the Leafs the lead.  The rest of the game was an exercise in futility for Anaheim.

Joey Crabb made it 3-1 at 2:36 of the second period, and Bozak promptly got his second of the game at :47 seconds into the final period. 

Corey Perry’s goal at 5:38 seemed hollow and meaningless and it was no surprise that the Leafs added an empty net goal with seconds remaining.  Was there anyone left at the Honda Center in the stands who was an Anaheim fan?  And if so, should their heads be examined?

Nothing changes and the Ducks continue to trudge in a downward spiral that even has Teemu Selanne sounding a wee bit depressed. 

“It seems to me that nothing works,” Selanne opined. “When things go bad, they really go bad. We try to stay positive and try to find some bright sides. I don’t really see any bright sides. It’s just unbelievable.”

Unbelievable indeed.  Something has to change.  Something has to happen.

The Carolina Hurricanes fired their coach, as did the Washington Capitals.  The Ducks?  They sent Brandon McMillan back to Syracuse.  He might actually be grateful to be out of Anaheim and in the AHL. 

In the meantime, the Ducks do nothing and nothing changes.   Next chance to see an opposing team’s victory is Wednesday when another Canadian Original 6 team comes to town in the shape of the Montreal Canadiens.  Chances are good you do not have to spend good money on tickets (unless you want to see the Canadiens in person) or the electricity for your TV to know the results.  Another Ducks loss with some moments of promise thrown in here and there, peppered by more of the same mundane efforts.

The Ducks have lost their heart.  There isn’t any wizard in sight available to restore it any time soon.  What a sad commentary to a season only one fourth of the way complete.

About Karen Francis

Just a diehard Ducks fan since 1995, when the team filled the hockey shaped vacuum in my heart.