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Ducks Open Season in Jolly Old England, for reasons unapparent
Hello Ducks fans, I'm back to regale you all with my take on the greatest game on earth. When I signed off last time (seemingly for good) the Anaheim Ducks of Los Angeles Anaheim were the glorious winners of Lord Stanley's silver chalice.
A lot has changed. Out with Dustin Penner, in with convicted criminal Todd Bertuzzi. Possibly out with Scott Niedermayer, in with Mathieu Schneider. Hopefully out with Teemu Selanne and his ugly ass helmet, thank the heavens.
Oh, and there's this minor thing about opening the season in, wait for it, London. No, not that sleepy town in Southern Ontario. Nor that bustling hub in Pope County, Arkansas. London as in England. I thought when you won the Stanley Cup you were showered with gold, livestock and women? Instead, the NHL apparently likes to ship you to the hockey equivalent of Siberia. Who cares about hockey in England? I ask you, NHL commisioner Gary Bettman, what's next? Putting a franchise in Nashville?!?!
So what can you expect from me this year? To be honest, I have no idea. I'm not even a Ducks fan. I live in Vancouver and am a dyed in the hemp fiber Canucks fan. A resident Canadian writing about the Ducks might seem a little odd to you, but there's one thing you should know. I am a certified hockey genius. Bob McKenzie-esque. I probably know the Ducks better than Snoop Dogg. How is this staggering claim of intellect even remotely possible? Well, here in Canada, the Stanley Cup champs get showered in coverage. Even if I wanted to avoid Brian Burke and the crew, I can't. His team's fortunes, and misfortunes, are often front page sports news.
Bottom line, I'm writing about your Anaheim Ducks because I know my NHL poop. And possibly because no one else would touch this job with a ten foot USB cable. Personally, I am looking forward to being that guy who gets to write about a team that no one cares about (I clearly have a martyr complex). Also, I admittedly have a soft spot for these plucky Ducks after covering their Stanley Cup run last year. This is the team that employs George Parros for flip sake. He's looks like he should be an extra in 3:10 to Yuma. How can you not love these morons? (The NHL equivalent to the 2004 Red Sox term of endearment)
Things to watch for tomorrow on channel... "PRIME"? Is that a real channel in LA? Anyways, I know for sure that Sunday's game is on channel 8 thousand and whatever (aka Versus). If you happen to crack the DaVinci cryptex and unlock the channel the game is on, watch for a lighter, faster Todd Bertuzzi. Yes, that same Todd Bertuzzi you think you should hate but can't quite remember why. Last year, he potted 4 points in his first game to lead all NHL scorers. On pace for a 328 point season! But a wonky back derailed his certain MVP campaign after only 7 games.
Watch to see if the Ducks defense can hold up in the absence due to injury of JS Giguere, Sammy Pahlsson and Mathieu Schneider. Marc Crawford's LA Kings (there's another LA team in LA?!?) are geared towards offense, so it might be a long night for backup goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. And no, I didn't randomly invent the name 'Bryzgalov' by bashing the keyboard with my forehead. Ilya Aavivosvoij. That's a forehead name.
I'm also looking for the birth of the English "hockey hooligan". It won't be a sporting match until some skinhead moron with bad teeth gets cracked in the head by a Manchester United fan. Why would there be a Manchester United fan in attendance you ask? You're right. What a ridiculous thing to say. Almost as ridiculous as hosting two NHL regular season games in London.
What about my predictions for the Ducks season as a whole? It is my opinion that Brian Burke is going to screw the entire NHL. I think he has a conspiracy in place to hold Niedermayer and Selanne out until the season is half over, then he's going to bring them both back for another Cup run. This way, he avoids the salary cap issues. Just you watch. Both those guys will be back some point in the future, and the Ducks will roll to another Stanley Cup.
In summary: Watch for the reincarnation of Todd Bertuzzi, and prepare for another killer Stanley Cup parade around the Honda Center parking lot if Burke is as sneaky as I think he is.
And in closing:
Go Canucks Go.
Photo courtesty AP Photo/Tom Hevezi
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