Not many league experts saw this coming. Of course the experts extended time to prognosticate because of the lockout was mainly spent covering the lockout. To play hockey or not to play hockey. They were busy covering the moods and opinions of one podium, and the quabbles of 2 stubborn grown men of which neither played hockey. Their reporting skills were sharp, but their hockey minds were a bit mushy. So we’ll just call them a little rusty when it came to announcing how the Anaheim Ducks would do in this shortened season.
For the record a little over 10 games into the 2013 season: Sports Illustrated had the Ducks ranked preseason 25th out of 30. The puck doctors had them 26th. ESPN, who doesn’t cover hockey (hardly ever) ranked the Ducks 14th.
Experts had the Ducks more likely as sellers of either or both veteran and young talented scorers, rather than the team sporting the second best record in the West. 2011 NHL MVP Corey Perry, experienced youngster Bobby Ryan, or even Captain Ryan Getzlaf were rumored to be on the move if the team even thought about struggling.
Instead of signaling rebuilding, Ducks fans are waving their orange version of the Terrible Towel with particular ferocity because they are near the top in the whole NHL in goals scored with 39 (well, not the fans, the team). They have got it done with balanced scoring too. The Ducks don’t have a single player in the Top 30 in goals in the league. But a man who defies the aging process Teemu Selanne leads the team with 14 points, and is in the top 15 in the NHL in assists with 10.
And to make matters better, the Ducks delivered a beat down to the local rivals, and defending Stanley Cup Champions at home in the Freeway Faceoff. A 7-4 victory saw Nick Bonino score his 8th, 9th, and 10th career NHL goals that night. Local Long Beach native Emerson Etem had 2 assists on the night too in the local matchup. The 2013 season couldn’t have started any better for the Anaheim Ducks, especially considering the Kings evened up the Stanley Cup total at 1 a piece. It will make the playoffs all the more exciting if all of the California teams are in the Top 8 when they come around sooner rather than later.
The Ducks have three on the road upcoming including tonight (Tuesday) against the top team in the league, the Chicago Blackhawks. They lead the league in goals scored and goal differential. Patrick Kane, Marion Hossa, and Corey Crawford have started out hot. Then the Ducks face the Red Wings in Detroit on Friday, and then go through Nashville on Saturday before returning to the Honda Center for 2 beginning Monday.