Taking a line from Thin Lizzy, The Boys are Back in Town. A timeless classic.
Like most teams, the Ducks are making their way back to their home cities and Anaheim is buzzing. Seeing the boys around the local rinks is a reminder that we are ready to open camp and kick the new season off. Both Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne landed back in SoCal the last few days and to me, that is excellent news. Why come back if you have no intention of playing again? Or better yet, why come back the week before camp opens? The press conference yesterday was "interesting" and my respect for Niedermayer has not changed. Something is obviously afoot, or askate, or astick. Anyways, I think he is just plain tired. You can see it. He wants a little longer break. Everyone comments on his young age. He has been in the NHL for 16 long, playoff filled, seasons and then spent at least 4 years playing long junior seasons too. Cut him some slack. The guy wants to learn his own kids name for a change, find out what they like to do, and then maybe grab a little couch time. Same thing with Teemu. I understand and respect the argument that their lack of decision is a distraction and really tough on the Ducks and the coaching staff. That is a valid point and if I am a coach or a GM, I would be going nuts. I think maybe more importantly is the 12-14 depth forward or the 6-8 depth defenseman. Those guys that are "on the bubble" for a full time position are really the guys that will feel the most anxiety and animosity. They are clearly committed, but they may get aced out by someone who is questioning their own commitment. Those guys may feel a little negative towards Teemu and Scott and it is unfortunate. For the rest of the NHL, the Ducks, and the fans, the tell tale sign is that they are both back in town and that is positive.
A couple of side notes, the Ducks capped season tickets last month and finding a ticket this season will be a real challenge. They also announced that all 82 games will be televised on one channel or another. Only a few games scheduled on Versus, so I won't have to worry about The Preakness taking over the tail end of a Ducks game or a re-run of Babe Winkleman's Outdoor Fishing knocking the Ducks off. The team reported that Sammy Pahlsson had surgery for a sports hernia within the last couple of days. The guy is an ironman and I believe he currently holds a consecutive games played record for the Ducks. He has played something like 350 straight games for the Ducks. We wish Sammy a quick recovery.