Thursday, June 7, 2007

Credit Where Credit's Deserved

Well, congratulations to the Anaheim Ducks. The Stanley Cup, at long last has come to the West Coast. Problem is, the Ducks sit at 4th on my list of Pacific Coast teams. I cannot help but look at their victorious season with bitterness. They lead the league in fighting majors, which to me suggests a team that bullies their opponent into submission. Nobody can deny it. That is not how the Stanley Cup should be won. The Cup should be won by a free-flowing, offensive team. Not a team that grinds their way to success. As Scott Niedermayer will tell you, this doesn't usually happen. The Ducks Captain has won four cups, each time on defensive teams. New Jersey won thanks to Jacques Lemaire's trap system. Anaheim won thanks to the league's most vicious forecheck. But most aggravating from my perspective is the lax refereeing that the Ducks owe much of their success to. There was beaucoup de goaltender interference throughout the playoffs. There was the elbow to Jannick Hansen that led to Vancouver's demise. The cheapshot on Holmstrom only recieved a 1 game suspension. Then there was Pronger's second cheapshot of the playoffs, knocking Dean McAmmond senseless. Again, he received just a one game suspension. Another constant throughout the series was obstruction. Ironically, after many complaints from the Ducks' opponents, it was the Senators that suffered worst from the tighter refereeing, falling behind on the PK and ultimately losing their bid for the cup. But all this pales in comparison with Scott Niedermayer's body language after the final horn. It looked like he had to try to smile. Perhaps it was his muskrat of a beard, but as a captain, he should at least have the decency to celebrate his record-breaking 4th cup win with someting like emotion. Having said that, his conduct with Alfredsson was admirable. As a Canucks fan, the one thing that ticks me off above all else was Justin Morneau. 6 months ago, he was recognized as AL MVP during a presentation at GM Place. He made much of his friendship with Canuck defenceman Willie Mitchell. Now, as the season draws to a close, Morneau has jumped ships to the Ducks, getting his Cup Moment on the back of his friendship with another defensive stalwart, Chris Pronger. And there you go, Justin Morneau, stick this in your Trophy Room: Hockey Whore of the Year.

On a final note, you have to be impressed by Swedish resilience in the face of adversity. Namely, Naslund and Alfredsson holding up their teams against the Ducks.
Cue the clips.

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