Thanks to Kylie for doing this write-up.
I was lucky enough to spend my vacation this year in California and got the chance to visit all three NHL teams in the process. If you ever have the opportunity to do it all in one trip, I highly recommend it; I had an absolute blast. Hockey, plus beautiful California weather = paradise.
I have adopted the Ducks as my second Western Conference team (Calgary will always be my #1), so I followed them around a bit this past season, seeing them a total of six times in Columbus (twice), Pittsburgh (went of course, as a Pens fan), Detroit, San Jose, and at home at the Honda Center.
Overall, the 2011-12 season was a tough for the Ducks and was pretty much a major disappointment. They stumbled out of the gate and struggled to stay out of the basement through the first half of the season, which meant Randy Carlyle got the axe. Entering stage right, a mere five days after getting the boot from the Caps, was Bruce Boudreau.
It looked like Brucey was going to turn the team around, as the Ducks started rattling off wins in January and February for streaks of 8-0-1 and 8-1-2, but in the end, they fizzled down the stretch and missed the playoffs for second time in the last three seasons.
GENERAL MANAGER - Bob Murray
HEAD COACH - Bruce Boudreau
TEAM CAPTAIN - Ryan Getzlaf
Baldy McGetzlaf is one of my favorite NHLers. I know a lot of people hate him, because, well, he can be a total dick on the ice, but, because he plays for a team I like, I love his shenanigans. Also, the ridiculousness that happened at World’s didn’t garner him any new fans. I need a calligrapher to write out “Three minutes, and all ye are fallen.” so I can frame it for my office. No more bad days, ever.
During my Cali hockey road trip vacation, I had the opportunity to meet him and several other Ducks after morning skate. He could not have been any nicer to me, and poked fun at my obvious nervousness/excitement/fangirling. Definitely a guy who would be fun to have beers with.
Baldy had a rather rough season. Despite playing all 82 games for the first time in five seasons, he scored career-low *gulp* 11 goals. Whoopsie.
PLAYERS EVERYONE SHOULD LOVE
Jonas Hiller – Goaltender
I’ll always have a soft spot for Jonas because I got to see him play when I went to the Olympics in Vancouver. I was also lucky enough to meet him in Anaheim. Such a nice guy, and let me tell you, he has swag for days. Certainly not a traditional kind of stud, but he is sex on legs and could easily convince you to do just about anything. He just has that air about him; a sexy confidence. Also, he loves being Swiss. He was rocking a Swiss flag belt buckle, for crying out loud.
Teemu Selanne – Right Wing, Finnish God
No one needs a reason to love Teemu. Do you love puppies, sunshine, and Santa Claus? That’s what I thought. Teemu is a legend, has the most fantastic hair I have ever seen, and is one of the good guys. He also cannot resist the “ONE MORE YEAR!” chants, as the 42-year old Selanne has agreed to come back for another season.
After morning skate, he signed for every single person who waited, even the obvious memorabilia dealers. Some players get grumpy about signing more than one thing – not Teemu. He signed anything anyone had and took a picture with anyone who asked. I really regret not asking for a photo, but, in the presence of greatness, I chickened out. I did, however, get him to sign a puck for my collection.
Bobby Ryan – Right Wing
Oh, Bobby, how I love you. I love most American players, and Mr. Ryan is no exception. Scored 31 goals last year, loves wine, his guitar, and the beach. What’s not to love?
PLAYER WE DON’T LOVE - Corey Perry – Right Wing
Corey Perry is one of those players you either love or you hate. I fall into the latter category. I like it when it scores for the Ducks, but that’s as far as my affections for him go. He has always come off as a jerk to me. Maybe he’s just shy/quiet, I don’t know, but he doesn’t seem like someone I’d want to hang out with.
After morning skate, he walked out with Baldy, totally ignored the fans waiting, and sped off. I like to give players the benefit of the doubt, because frankly, they aren’t obligated to stop. I thought he probably had somewhere to be or whatever. Turns out, he does that all the time and never stops for fans, which I think is crappy. To me, he just seems like a brat. Seeing him score a hat trick in Columbus didn’t even make me like him.
WHO THEY GOT - Daniel Winnik, Brad Staubitz, Sheldon Souray, and Bryan Allen
WHO THEY LOST - Lubomir Visnovsky and George Parros
LOCATED AT - Honda Center – Anaheim, CA
The Honda Center was a glorious combination of Mellon Arena dump and Orange County swank. The concourses are super spiffy, they have a great selection of concessions, and tons of windows to let in the California sunshine. The seating bowl has the craptastic charm of an old school arena and next to no frills, but with great sightlines. The team store is also pretty wicked, and had sherseys for nearly every roster player.
HOTNESS LEVEL - 7.5
Bobby Ryan carries the load in the hotness department for the Ducks. I’m probably in the minority, but I also think Ryan Getzlaf is beautiful (it’s his eyes). Niklas Hagman is Finnish (always a plus in my book), and with a little scruff on his face, reaches a nice level of sexiness. Although Teemu is the old man on the team, he’s still tan and beautiful - what a man.