First off I want to say that the Blues/Ducks game was a well played game by a number of skilled players. After that I want to say the officiating was a bit questionable but understandable, those guys have a tough job and obviously don't see everything...but I'm sure they saw a few things they chose not to call. But what irks me more than anything is the style that the Ducks utilized to play this game and it can be summed up as: cheap shots.
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The Ducks have some strong guys and guys who just flat out have great speed and vision especially Mc Donald. That kid is amazing to watch: terrific hands, great touch and blazing speed. I'm only going to single him out because he received some hits that were harder than I think they normally would have been because of the rest of his team.
The problem I have is that the Ducks threaten the beauty of the game as it has become. They played neutral zone trap and correct if I am wrong(because I wasn't in the States to get the low down), but I believe that it is supposed to be penalized(come on say it like a Canadian Pee-nalized). I saw them clutch and grabbing the sweaters of the faster Blues players and it mostly went uncalled.
The biggest worry I have to say though, was the big guys on the Ducks leaving their feet and throwing elbows when forechecking. It's one thing to make a great hit and to hit hard and be a strong forechecking team, it is quite another to be playing that bush-league "Slapshot" style of play.
And yes, I have to point Pronger out. A guy forechecks him and steals the puck from him and the play gets broken up. What does Pronger do after the guy starts skating out of the zone behind the play? Why he simply throws a donkey punch to the back of his head. I swear the ref saw it. But he ended up making another call. So it should have been two calls cause last I checked throwing punches, especially with a gloved hand, a head shot, to an unsuspecting player was a big no go in the NHL. What could have happened could have been bad. I love tough hockey. I admire tough play and always played tough myself. I love how emotional hockey can get and how that emotion can be continous and building like a great story. I love hits. Fights, when they are appropriate. But obviously this game was getting out of hand(though it ultimately didn't), because of two things: the Ducks cheap play and semi-bad officiating. Look I hate it when the officials stop the flow of the game. But I also hated it back in the day when their were always even-it-up calls. Skill trumps all and should be called that way if a team hasn't evolved and is too slow and unskilled to keep up, then you know hooking and holding will result more often than normal.
The bottom line is suddenly while play was going on yet another fight broke out. And of course all the fans are standing up and since Barret Jackman is the man in my mind I was rooting for him but deep down I felt embarrassed. The emotional boiling point for the Ducks was their struggles and for the Blues it was a matter of protecting themselves, their teammates and not backing down. But if I want to see a fighting I'll go to a boxing match not watch as the Ducks just dump goon after goon in their line up, albeit some goons that can skate. The Ducks attempt at intimidation is weak. I prefer the type of intimidation that a Crosby brings or Kane, where because of their high talents the opposing team is in constant fear of them when they're on the ice, the way when a power play with Hull on the ice, late in the third period of a tie game would send chills down the oppostion's back.
We as fans may not always get it right but we should remain vigilant and protective as the game heads to a higher skill level and not allow it to de-evolve back into the land of giant slow skaters where skill becomes less and height and weight seems to be the only thing that matters.
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