The Red Wings have their backs to the wall in this must win game. Our Ducks have outscored them 8-1 since the mid-point of Game 2. Clearly the momentum is all Ducks.
While our Ducks have completely outplayed the Wings, we don’t quite have the results to show for it. Bad officiating can impact the outcome of games and series.
If ever there is a moment for a team to stick to its own game, for our Ducks that time is now. There’s no really reason why they can’t. Justin “Cheap & Chippy” Abdelkader is gone for what could be the series. Abdelkader is the guy who baited Souray into retaliating which led to Wings PP and their winning OT goal in Game 2. Souray’s cross checking penalty in the last minute of the second period was also against Abdelkader. Having this Cheap & Chippy nemesis suspended will help our Ducks stay focused on the job at hand.
Souray wasn’t the only guy getting payback on Abdelkader. Sheldon just got caught.
Wings are also thin on the blue line after Danny DeKeyser busted his thumb in a scrum with Ducks Kyle Palmieri, IIRC. Babcock has gone with Brian Lashoff but also has Carlo Colcaiacovo and Ian White available.
czhokej posted that Babcock’s comments on Abdelkader’s hit, “wasn’t a smart thing to say.” Detroit GM Ken Holland also defended the hit. These guys have it backwards. You defend your player, not what he did.
Like many, I’ve long admired the Red Wings and held them out as model franchise. What Holland and Babcock have shown this week is that’s easy to have some class when you’re winning. It’s when you’re challenged that your true character comes out. Holland and Babcock flunk the test. The Wings are no longer an org that I would point out as model worth following.
If our Ducks are feeling anything like I and suspect most who’ve played hockey feel today, they really want this game. It’s not just about winning for a downed teammate, though Toni Lydman is nothing if not respected in our Ducks room. It’s about putting on a clinic built on discipline and character.
The Red Wings fans have shown the world that they’re fair weather band wagon followers at best.
Our Ducks play a physical brand of hockey. Gone are the excesses of the Pronger days. Coach Bruce Boudreau has changed this group from a collection of stars and bus riders into a genuine team. This is why this game is so important to our Ducks. They have the proven ability to win it. They deserve to win it.
Most of all, our Ducks, arguably the NHL’s most complete hockey team, can show the world that physical hockey played within the written and unwritten rules is a beautiful thing.
There are many times during the course of a hockey season and playoff that no words are necessary. All that is needed is eye contact with your teammate for confirmation that tonight we get ‘er done. And on Wednesday we put ‘em away.
And really there’s one reason to do it. These Detroit Red Wings and their fans don’t deserve to be here.