One thing I want to see tonight is a motherfucking goal by Paul Kariya. Look, it's not his fault he had to have two hip surgeries last season. I don't blame him for making $6 million a year in his mid-30s. He didn't make the terms of the contract, the Blues did. So while it's easy to call him a major disappointment, the guy would begin repairing some of his reputation if he could score a goal at home. Just one. Maybe two. The fans in St. Louis are paying for his salary. Throw them a frickin' bone, man.
While I'm talking about things I want to see, let's add continued strong defensive play from Jay McClement. Silent Jay as we call him on the Internets was one of the building blocks that came up seemingly at once with Lee Stempniak and David Backes. And while all three had some success very early in their careers playing together, McClement seemed hard pressed to replicate any offensive success. The Blues found a better role for him on a defensive line, the team's stopper at center. Finding his place in the mix, he's flourished. It doesn't always show up in the stats or game highlights, but the guy plays a crucial role for the team. We'd love for him to get some attention as a contender for the Selke Trophy given to the league's best defensive forward. We'll see if we can generate some interest on our Web site.
I used to think the team in Anaheim was a fucking travesty. Disney had a fairly successful movie franchise where a bunch of rag tag kids learned to play hockey. The kids represented rich kids, poor kids, white kids, black kids and other minorities. They even named the team the Mighty Ducks and had a cartoonish logo. It seemed like a huge joke played by the marketing department at Disney World. And yet the team slowly got better and made the Cup Finals with the Mighty name and logo.
Thankfully after the cartoon film company got out of the hockey business, they dropped the logo and the Mighty in the name. How the NHL ever allowed that shit is beyond me. Of course the only explanation is the size of the expansion check Disney wrote. But you'd never see the Carolina Simpsons in the NFL.
Without Chris Pronger, the Ducks have lost some of the luster for Blues fans. At some point fans might come out to see Bobby Ryan. The 22-year-old New Jersey native is a U.S. Olympian so he won't be fighting David Backes. He leads the Ducks with 22 goals and 40 overall points. He's got a chance to match his total of 31 he posted last year in just 64 games.
Ryan Getzlaf leads the Ducks in assists and is tied for the lead in points with 35 and 48 respectively. The goofy looking dude with the faux hawk is the face of the franchise modeling Ducks hats on the team Web site. He's 24. See a trend?
Corey Perry might still have the imprints of Backes' knuckles from a couple weeks ago when he went on a mission to pummel as many Canadian Olympic players as he could. Perry has 19 goals and is tied with Getzlaf with 48 points. He's also 24 years old. Is there no one good on this team who remembers the early 1980s? They probably don't remember a time when there wasn't a team called the Mighty Ducks in the NHL. It's a bitch getting old, kids.
Two guys who probably have very fond memories of the Ronald Reagan decade and probably have some songs from The Police, Talking Heads and Lionel Ritchie on their ipods are Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer. Those dudes make me feel young. I hope they never retire. At age 39 Selanne still has 16 goals on the season. AARP is so proud. And at age 36, Niedermayer is the highest scoring defenseman on the team. With the amount of gray in his beard come playoff time, you'd think he was older than the young-faced Selanne.
Jonas Hiller is the No. 1 goaltender for the Ducks with Jean-Sebastien Giguere making the No. 1 goaltender money. Giggy, the former Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP (for a losing team mind you) apparently misses his oversized goaltender pads that made him look like the Michelin Man. At age 32 he's not exactly over the hill, but Giguere would have to really turn it around.
More road games loom before a busy first two weeks in February and then the Olympic break. Closing the gap on at least one team in front of them would be a nice accomplishment tonight.
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