“Sometimes the Best Team Does Not Win”
Gut wrenching, sickening, saddening, maddening.
How did you lose this? How did you not win this? How long a summer is this going to be now?
The hockey season came to a crushing end last night for the Anaheim Ducks, losing in Nashville to the Predators.
A series that became a ‘War of Attrition’. A 6-game bash that more resembled a nasty rock fight, with so many injuries.
Credit the Preds for surviving the loss of its top two forwards, Ryan Johanssen with a serious thigh injury blood clot problem, then captain Mike Fisher.
More credit to Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, who made 38-cat like saves with all types of traffic, contact and combat infront of him.
The body bag count was pretty high for the Ducks, who bashed and trashed Nashville all night long, pumping 41-shots on goal in the loss.
A hurting goalie John Gibson was scratched. Missing were forwards Rikard Rakell and late season hero Patrick Eaves. Then Nick Ritchie got himself tossed for a brutal 5-minute boarding penalty that drew blood. Tough player, stupid penalty, draw that up to youthful enthusiasm.
The Ducks missed their goalie, their goal scorers, and the grit and sizzling wrist shots Ritchie could have provided.
The heart and soul of the Ducks veterans left it on the ice. Ryan Getzlaf, probably the best power forward in the game; the worker that is Corey Perry; and the fiesty Ryan Kesler. They gave it all, but it wasn’t enough.
Sure you can ask why Randy Carlyle pulled his goalie with 2:40 left in regulation, down by a goal, when they had the puck in the Nashville end virtually all nite and were peppering Rinne.
Empty net….and 20-seconds later, empty net goal.
But this series really was lost on home ice. How a power laded Ducks team would lose a couple at home to a Nashville team that had a tepid group of goal scorers, is the real stunner.
Maybe this series was also lost on the cross country airlines schedule. The Ducks had to grind thru tough series with Calgary, Edmonton and then the guys from Dixie.
10-games in 20-days and five long distance flights probably had lots to do with this.
Tough to accept considering the clock is ticking on Getzlaf and Perry to get back to the Cup as their careers move beyond age 35.
The Ducks come home unfulfilled. A really great season, but a disappointing end.
The NHL Stanley Cup…toughest trophy to get in sports. Just ask the Black and Blue guys wearing Orange and Brown, the Ducks.
Best team on paper, played lots of games where they were the best team on the ice. But sometimes the best team does not win. The Ducks would probably tell you that too.