Pardon me if I appear to be on cloud 9, but I can’t help but only focus on the positives at this point. Here is why I think and hope the Ducks will thrive with a shortened season.
1. Slow starts
The Anaheim Ducks are notorious for slow starts. For whatever reason, it’s as if the team has bought into the saying, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” a little too much. And if you really know the team you’re aware that they do a complete 180 come Jan-Feb or at least right around the All-Star weekend.
Well, guess what, it’s that time of the season!
2. Everyone is healthy
Goaltender Jonas Hiller has been vertigo-free for quite some time. The extra time off he gained from the lockout I would assume only benefitted him. Also, Duck players such as Luca Sbsisa, Bobby Ryan, Devante Smith-Pelly along with several others were not injured during their play overseas. If anything, the ones coming back from other teams should be even more than ready to go come game time.
3. Bruce Boudreau
A shortened season will benefit Boudreau — who was hired early on and got the Ducks within striking distance of a playoff spot last season — if his fiery, outspoken self can work his magic within a short time table the Ducks will take flight.
4. Excitement of a season
Without a doubt, every player is pumped about the season being somewhat salvaged. Hopefully, the Ducks can channel that excitement into a winning formula on the ice. With the roster still considerably young, I’m sure the youngins — Bobby Ryan, Matt Belesky, Nick Bonino, Andrew Cogliano, Smith-Pelly, Sbisa and Cam Fowler all 25 years or younger, are not only eager to lace them up, but to also prove their worth.
5. The Teemu factor
It only makes sense that 42-year-old Teemu Selanne was going to retire this year with or without a season. You can bet that Selanne is grateful for his “second chance at life” feeling of being able to play for one more season. I expect the Finnish Flash to, as always, live up to his nickname and end his career memorably. Though he’s capable of leading this team, it goes without saying that all of his teammates will want him to end this season on a high note. With this being probably his last season, it’s a good enough reason for the team to work hard for him and savor each game knowing that one of hockey’s greatest may hang up his skates at season’s end.
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