The circus trip comes to an end with a two-day stay in Southern California. The first of these is at maybe the worst place to ever watch an NHL game, The Honda Pond or whatever it's called in Anaheim. I had the distinct pleasure of attending both games the Hawks played there last season, and take it from me, it's awful. If you the US were to use the experience at a Ducks game to garner information from witnesses, it would be right below water-boarding on the torture list. A sterile building full of the most obnoxious, ignorant fans you can find. Summing it up best I sat next to a guy--with a leather Ducks jacket, mind you--who had 4 season tickets. 2 on each side of the arena, so he could always sit on the end the Duck were attacking. Yes, I know.
Anyway, Ducks fans love to think that because their team fights a lot, that's why they win. It's an utter load of shit. Partly win because they're bigger than most teams and and grind you down. But mostly they win when Ryan Getlzaf decides they will. When he started the year in a scoring slump, the Ducks were awful. SInce he's picked it up, so have they. Anaheim has one line, and you can sing the praises of Teemu Selanne all you want, but we're not listening. Of his 12 goals this season, 11 are on the power play. Which means if you can get someone within 5 feet of The Finnish Fuck, you can probably keep him off the scoresheet.
Getzlaf, Perry, and Kunitz are a different matter. They're big, nasty, and skilled. They can cycle the puck down low for hours on end. If the Hawks can find away to not get their heads caved in by this line, the points are there for the taking. That's because the rest of the team isn't all that frightening. Both Pronger and Niedermayer are - players as far as +/-/60 this season. The Hawks are getting a look at Jonas Hiller too, though he did manage to beat the Hawks twice last season. Everyone lined up to slurp Brian Burke in the offseason again after signing Brendan Morrison to be the #2 center. Why? We don't know. He has 5 points. Enjoy the Burke Era, Toronto.
As they are with most opponents, the Hawks are significantly faster than the team they're playing today. A full 60 minutes, which they haven't managed in a while, will be required. But the Caps walked in there last week and skated circles around the Ducks, and the Hawks are more than capable of doing the same. Do it, and send that fucker with the leather Ducks jacket back to his Suburban with a scowl on his face.