Tuesday, August 5, 2008

NHL Four-cast: Anaheim Ducks

Ah to step into the shoes of a meteorologist, you get to make predictions based on basic indicators and you somehow don't get fired if you are wrong. A blizzard is coming! Gale force winds! Sixty and sunny!


Here at Scotty Hockey the weather outside is frightful so we think of the time when it's delightful ... hockey season. And that time is coming soon. So to prepare for the puck to be dropped, I'll take a look at the 30 teams of the NHL, one or two per day and give you a Four-cast where I will ask and answer four questions about that team (get it? four-cast? I need sleep.):

1 - Why is this team worth watching?
2 - Are they better or worse than last year?
3 - Who should YOU draft in fantasy?
4 - Random Question (differs per team)

As always, if there is something I missed, feel free to leave a comment ...

Anaheim Ducks

1 - Why is this team worth watching? They play power hockey. They won the Cup with big, strong forwards and slick puck movement and despite last season's disappointment, they were still fun to watch. Plus, you never know when Chris Pronger is going to try to kill someone next. Scott Niedermayer puts on a clinic every time he steps on the ice and George Parros - the Princeton Punisher - is worth the price of admission, if only for the mustache.

2 - Are they better or worse than last year? Better. They made it through the Cup hangover year and showed flashes of the team that won in the first place. The big parts to the puzzle are still there - Niedermayer won't be causing controversy this time around as he will play for sure - and they got rid of Todd Bertuzzi. In his place will be an older Bobby Ryan (the No. 2 pick from a few years back) who has something to prove. They also took a smart gamble on signing Brendan Morrison who is a solid second line center when healthy. When healthy. But they should make a good run in the West, likely falling in the conference semis.

3 - Who should YOU draft in fantasy? Ryan Getzlaf = stud. Niedermayer = stud. J.S. Giguere = stud. Pronger is solid, as are Corey Perry and Chris Kunitz. Perry should become a point-per-game performer this season, even if he just signed a big money deal. Morrison has something to prove on a one-year deal but is a risk, as is Matt Schneider, who may be dealt before the season starts and who knows where-to. Dark horses are Ryan, who had 10 points in 23 games while getting his feet wet, and Jonas Hiller. The Swiss backup goaltender has a .927 save percentage through 23 games but who knows how much action he will get or when, depending on Jiggy.

4 - Where can I send them money? Here. Why would you want to send them money? If you go to that link you can see that some fans are collecting cash to give to the charity of the player who scores first against the evil Kevin Lowe's Edmonton Oilers. It is a wonderful idea that brings the fans closer to the player, adds more venom to the rivalry and helps out a good cause. Could you imagine the turnout if someone did this walking around the Garden asking for money before the first game against the Isles?

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