Get Ready for Lots of Hockey in a Hurry
Here we are at the beginning of a short, tight and sweet hockey season. I often talk about how tough hockey players are; that the common injuries that keep players from other sports out of the game, would keep a hockey player out for a shift, maybe two. This season, that toughness will be tested.
I just watched to Kings lose their season/home opener to Chicago 5-2. Disappointing for Kings fans I am sure, but also for the players. I wonder which teams will collectively figure out how in this contracted schedule, every game matters. I refuse to gloat over the Kings’ loss, perhaps until the finish of tonight’s Ducks game. I will say, however, that the NBC Hockey analysts who predicted the Kings would repeat have baffled. What history can they draw from? It is hard enough to repeat as it is, let alone a practically non-existent pre-season team workout. Add to that the pressure of defending. So much of this game is believing you can win. When Jonathan Quick suddenly became an uber goalie late last season, he was doing so with a brewing back injury. He says he is 100% and never felt better, but his performance remains to be seen. Hard to judge after game one. They’re get stronger as key players return from the IR. Who’s to say any other team won’t snap off 3 or 4 wins at the start of the season and begin to feel that swagger that puts opposing teams on their heels? I’ve seen that swagger with the Ducks, most notably 2007. In my opinion, there are a bunch of very good teams on paper that have to show something on the ice before anybody can go out on a limb and predict a winner.
By the way, I thought the Kings did a great job with their banner raising ceremony. There was a brief, but subtle tribute to my friend, and mentor, David Courtney, who passed away recently. “Ladies and Gentlemen the Stanley Cup” was heard at Staples Center. It was a recording of David’s voice. I’ll always remember him as the consummate professional and selfless friend. I dedicate my work behind the microphone at Honda Center to David, because without his guidance during my formative years in public address announcing, I would not be where I am today.
You know I have to go here. I can’t wait for 7pm tonight when the Ducks start the season in Vancouver. I have high hopes, as a fan should, and I am so thrilled that fans get to see Teemu Selanne play 48 (at least) more games. I can tell you he looked loose and in shape t a recent charity hockey game featuring numerous NHL stars. Someone else who looked great at the game was Jonas Hiller. I don’t know what he’s been doing during the off-season, but he looked quick, focused and hard to beat. Hopefully the Ducks have reconciled all the turmoil of the previous season and are ready to work together to put on the show they are capable of. Again, I refer to how many teams look great on paper. The Ducks are included in that description. Here’s to hoping the team stays healthy, the key players perform as expected, and new players step up to show us why they made the team. Let’s see Ducks hockey in May and June (will they need July, too? I’m not sure), OK boys?
Tough it out. Play hard every shift. Stay off the IR. 48 games in 99 days. It’s a sprint to the cup, and I can’t wait to watch every minute of it.