Question – how many minutes are in a hockey game in regulation?
Answer – 60, but you would not know it judging by how the Ducks play.
Seems like such a simple concept – play a full 60 minutes of hockey. How hard can that be? Exceptionally difficult for the Ducks, who checked out for part of the game against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, losing 5-3.
Insert heavy sigh here.
New coach Bruce Boudreau might be regretting taking on these hapless wayward souls.
“I think we felt a little bit sorry for ourselves,” said Boudreau after the game. “It took some soul-searching in between periods here, and and I think we played a solid third period. But a) too little too late, and b) if you want to be successful in this league, that is how you have to play for 60 minutes.”
Can someone print this up and put it in the Ducks locker room? Or even better, in each stall? Tattooed on their foreheads? Whatever it will take to get the message through their thick skulls.
On a plus note, the Ducks continue to find offense. On the negative side, they continue to find ways to lose.
Ryan Getzlaf got a power play goal at 5:57 of the first period. Saku Koivu extended the lead with a goal at 9:25. Looking as if they could take a 2-0 lead to the locker room, Anaheim continued more bad habits by going to the penalty box. Twice.
If you give the Minnesota Wild a 5 on 3 power play for nearly 1:30 minutes, they are going to score. Dany Heatley did just that 19:56.
The Ducks held on, despite playing loosey goosey in the second period, until their lackadaisical ways caught up to them.
Casey Wellman tied up the game at 15:18 and :32 seconds later, Pierre-Marc Bouchard gave the Wild the lead.
Boudreau wisely called a timeout at that point and tried to remind his players that it was not the end of the world.
“Don’t hang your head,” was his message. “You look like you’re a beaten crew. If you can’t face a little adversity in sport or in hockey, you’re not going to get anywhere. Pull up your socks and get mad rather than feel sorry for yourselves.”
Boudreau nailed it when he noticed that the Ducks get a “woe is me” attitude when they fall behind.
“We’ve got to get that mindset out of them right away,” Boudreau stated.
Amen to that, but you are preaching to a bunch of sinners who are seemingly unrepentant.
While they did come out in the third period and dominate, it still was not enough. Cam Fowler, who exited the teen years the day after the game, got his third goal of the year to tie up the game at 10:45. All three of his goals this year have come against the Minnesota Wild. Too bad they can’t play the Wild every night. Then again, do they want to play the best team in the NHL when Anaheim is sitting at 29th?
There is a reason why the Wild are the best team in the NHL and they showed it.
Nick Johnson got the go-ahead goal for Minnesota at 14:29. Resilient. Persistent. Keep doing the right things and get rewarded and don’t fall apart when things don’t go your way.
Anaheim still had a chance when Minnesota gave them a late power play. With the net empty at the other end, Cal Clutterbuck finished off the game with :11 seconds remaining.
Defenseman Luca Sbisa declared the Ducks to be “rock bottom.” Goaltender Jonas Hiller decided not to use the usual platitudes and stock answers when addressing the media after the game. Instead, he bluntly stated that the Ducks were awful and detailed several reasons why.
Seeing as the Ducks are in 29th place in the NHL, they are not quite at rock bottom, but they sure are close. Unless they want to keep drowning, Boudreau needs to find a way to get these waterfowl bouyant again.
Good luck with that Bruce. You might have taken a bottom dwelling team and led them to the playoffs after taking over the Washington Capitals, but this is the Western Conference, not the Eastern Conference. It ain’t going to happen here. Not that it is impossible. Just highly improbable.
Nonetheless, Ducks fans deserve better for the remaining 56 games.