Stanley Cup Defending Champions No More

 I am so glad we are not forced to hear the Ducks called “The Defending Stanley Cup Champions” any more . Now they are just another team with plenty of time to golf .
 Before the game , I told myself that if Our Stars lost , I was shaving off my playoff scruff (it does not grow thick enough to be called a beard yet despite the fact that I am well over thirty) . Our Dallas Stars have thankfully forced me to keep it for a while longer . It is kind of a good news bad news thing in the fact that it is terribly itchy , but I will suffer it as long as our boys keep winning . I want The Cup and so do Our Stars . 
 The game started with Modano , Stu and Ott as the forwards . They attacked the Ducks immediately . While it was short lived , Ribs , The Cap’n and Lehtinen picked up where they left off . Our Stars had a very short powerplay courtesy of Beauchemin and Pronger held onto Eriksson’s free hand to make him take a holding call for four on four hockey . It probably was not really a penalty before Pronger grabbed his hand , but Pronger is a prick , so it was not completely unexpected . The four on four play was lame , but the Ducks thirty second powerplay was terrifying . Richards was called for slashing and that continued the Ducks’ powerplay chance for another two minutes . On the ensuing powerplay , the Ducks had lots of offensive zone time and chances , but they could not beat Turco or his defensemen . Our Stars’ fourth line of Petersen , Miettinen and Hagman started pounding the Ducks after the powerplay had ended . Getzlav was (deservedly) pounded and the refs ruled it charging (it might have been , but I still say he deserved it just for being on the ice) . The Ducks again had lots of time in the offensive zone but the powerplay ended with Our Stars clearing the puck and disallowing re-entry into their zone . When that powerplay ended , Weight committed a trip and it was Our Stars’ turn on the powerplay . That powerplay was very aggressively killed off by the Ducks , much to my dismay . Despite a huge amount of turnovers by the Ducks in their own zone , Our Stars could not capitalize no matter how hard they tried . The period ended with the puck in Turco’s glove and two of his defenders sitting on the ice in front of him .
 The second period started out with Our Stars attacking hard with a great play . They continued this pressure until the Ducks finally cleared the zone and they attacked back but Turco and Robi answered their attacks with a resounding “no” . Sadly , they could not answer “no” when Perry beat Turco from the left faceoff circle . That would prove to be the Ducks only goal . Our Stars managed a brief attack after the goal , but the Ducks returned the favor . Our Stars went back up on the attack and Pronger got called for holding , giving Our Stars yet another powerplay . The resulting powerplay was pathetic . Our Stars never even got close to getting set up in the offensive zone . The Cap’n , Ribs and Lehtinen had a huge chance , but Giguere stood his ground and would not allow it . Our Stars still could not capitalize on the ever-growing mountain of turnovers by the Ducks . They looked like they wanted to , but the bounces just did not seem to be going their way . At this point in the game I was begining to become concerned . I did NOT want another game seven . Especially not in front of those band-wagon-riding Ducks fans in Anaheim (REAL fans do NOT boo their own team off the ice) .
 The third period started out with The Cap’n being thrown to the ice by Carter , who went to the box for his misbehavior . The Stars powerplay was wonderful when Robidas scored from his shot from just inside the left faceoff circle . Fifty-two seconds later , Robi snuck a pass to Stu who was driving the net on the opposite side of him and Stu did not miss what was essentially an empty net . That put Our Stars up two to one . Eriksson had a huge breakaway attack that Giguere answered . The AAC had become so loud that the commentators were no longer heard over the broadcast . I love that . At the twelve minute mark the Ducks were attacking like desperate men . Their plays were sloppy and panicky . They did manage to give Our Stars a terrible time moving the puck out of their own zone , but they could not muster any real threats of scoring . Our Stars had a huge rush at the Ducks , but they answered back with some shots at Turco that made him perform acrobatics to stop . Richards and Eriksson snuck past Pronger and Eriksson beat Giguere for his third goal of the series . Giguere  went to the bench at the two minute mark and The Cap’n had a great chance at the empty net , but Pronger crosschecked him out of frustration (or stupidity , your choice) . Despite the powerplay for Our Stars until the end of the game , the Ducks pulled Giguere with one minute left . Turco made a huge save , passed it to Lehtinen , who in turn found Modano breaking free . He slowly skated right up to the empty net and made the final deposit in Ducks’ open net with three point three seconds left to play .

 Niedermayer and Selanne Should Have Stayed Retired – Chumps ;

 Thank the hockey gods (and obviously Our Dallas Stars) for “The Defending Stanley Cup Champions” being eliminated in the first round . I would have been so mad if Pronger’s weak (and biased) suspension had helped them move forward . I also like them being eliminated because I think it sends a clear message to Selanne and Niedermayer , not to mention that MY team gets to move forward and the Ducks have to retire to golfing .
 Now that the Ducks are out , both of last season’s conference champions have been eliminated . I did not think the Senators would go out in four , but I am glad they are both out . Kind of ironic that both of those teams did not even make it to a game seven , much less the second round .
 The Ducks lost this series almost from the start . They came out in games one and two and expected Our Stars to lie down and die . When they did not , the Ducks panicked because they were in a two game hole . They tried to changed the way they played , but zebras can change their spots no easier than ducks can forget how quack . Their failure to change and adapt to Our Stars gameplay style cost them . In the third period of this game , it showed . They started dumping pucks in right to Turco and were caught in over pursuit – JUST LIKE IN GAMES ONE AND TWO ! It is no wonder they lost . I laughed at Randy Carlyle in the post-game press conference . He sounded as if he was going to cry . I hope he did . That is what his team earned when they expected to steamroll Our Dallas Stars like they obviously expected to do in game one . Winning a game does not require arrogance , it requires hard work – and you can quote me on that .
 Marty Turco played huge . He earned my (and Razor’s) first star of the series . He made saves that sometimes defied physics and all logic . 
 Between Fistric and Norstrom , they had seven blocked shots . Two of Fistric’s blocked shots came seconds apart . Both of these guys stepped up and deserved to be mentioned here . Norstrom played better than the pylon that he usually behaves like and Fistric played far better than you would think a rookie would .
 The ever humble Robidas said after the game that his goal was “a lucky bounce off the boards” . Classic . He is beginning to sound like Zubov with all that modesty . He also said ,”We have one goal in mind and that’s The Stanley Cup” . Well said , Robi , well said .
Tippett was quoted as saying ,”It’s funny , shaking hands out on the ice there , I was last in line and Robi was right infront of me . And it’s interesting to hear the comments he was getting from Anaheim players about what kind of a player he is . We all recognize it in our own room , but to hear Anaheim players say that to him , that’s very gratifying” . With more on the subject of Robidas , Tippett said ,”He epitomizes our game . He’s one of the best teammates you’re ever going to find, he will go right through a wall to help the team win, he’ll take pucks in the face to help the team win, he’ll stuff cotton up his nose to make sure he’s back to help on the power play five minutes after that. He’s the epitome of what’s great about our game.” He also called this win “gratifying” , and a “first step” while still managing to look as stoic as ever . I hope there are a few more steps , personally . And smile more often Tippett . Damn .
 Cap’n Morrow mirrored my thoughts when he said the win felt good , but they were “not settling for this” . That is a very good thing .
 Our Stars have defeated a very challenging team . That is just the begining . Now they get a few days off to rest and then comes the next and more difficult round , no matter who their opponent may be .
 It looks as though I have to wait to shave off my playoff scruff . With another month , it just might grow into a real beard . I hope we can find out if I can grow a playoff beard instead of just scruff . Bring on round two !

 *All quotes taken from DallasStars.com or from the broadcast of the game on FSN .

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~ by Adam on April 21, 2008.

4 Responses to “Stanley Cup Defending Champions No More”

  1. The highlight for me (there are many, but this one really stands out) is the Praise Robidas got. He simply left me speachless this series. I always knew he’d be that person, and to see him step up and do it is just… outstanding 🙂

  2. You are right about him earning praise . He is a solid player and he has only gotten better this season . It is about time that the rest of the league noticed him . Who knows , maybe his son will wear his father’s jersey more often than Crosby’s .

  3. I’m so glad Robi is finally getting his due praise. Seriously, if anyone deserves it…it’s him.

    I am so glad we are not forced to hear the Ducks called “The Defending Stanley Cup Champions” any more . Now they are just another team with plenty of time to golf .

    Oh, WORD. Hot coffee straight up the nose — I laughed that hard.

  4. Sorry if the coffee burned as bad going up as it would have going down .

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