Three games into this first round playoff series with the Anaheim Ducks and the time has arrived. Yes, that's right. It's time to keep my game-day Links articles fresh, by having someone else write them.
1) Bruce Boudreau took offense last night at the Stars 'targeting' Ryan Getzlaf's jaw, specifically Antoine Roussel during their altercation. Here in Dallas though, we find it hard to overlook the fact that one, this is the playoffs and if Getzlaf is constantly hovering around our goaltender he's going to take some abuse, and two, Getzlaf threw the first punch. What are your thoughts on Boudreau's comments, and further to that, what does it say about the 'toughness' of the Ducks in the playoffs? And yes, this is a loaded question.
Well, you're right on one count -- it is the playoffs, and with that comes plenty of posturing. I'm not really that concerned with what Boudreau said postgame (he's just doing his job this time of year), nor am I overly critical of any Dallas Stars for punching Getzlaf in the face (they're just doing their jobs this time of year). I don't really know that Getzlaf is hovering over any goalies, though -- that's why Perry takes punches to the face -- but Getzlaf does throw his body around enough. A busted face is a vulnerability and the Stars took some advantage of that.
I don't know what to say about the Ducks' playoff 'toughness' because of this, though -- Getzlaf seems pretty tough for playing through the injury, I guess. But whatever -- most of this happened after most of the scoring in G3 had already happened. And compared to some of the carnage from some of these other series (hi, Seabrook!), this is all pretty tame.
2) During the regular season the Stars matched up really well against the Pacific Division, and this led to a lot of national writers making the Stars-Ducks series their choice for the biggest upset. Were Ducks fans hoping to draw another first round opponent?
Well, tough for me to speak for all Ducks fans -- we're a scattered lot, opinion-wise (ask 10 Ducks fans about Paul Kariya, for example). As for me, I personally wanted to play the L.A. Kings first round, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't in any majority there. Sure, it'd have been scary and all advanced stats point to the Kings winning that series, but (a) Ducks did go 4-0-1 against them this season, (b) it seems a good year for the rivalry with Dodgers Stadium and all, and most importantly (c) it's been 20 years that both these SoCal teams have existed and STILL they've never met in the playoffs.
Among the western conference's wild card candidates, I wanted to play the Stars more than the Wild or Coyotes, but not really for hockey reasons. The Ducks have no blemishes against Phoenix or Minnesota in their playoff history -- the first franchise playoff series win came against the Coyotes and the Ducks have obliterated the Wild twice, including a series where J.S. Giguere only surrendered one goal. What's the upside, as a fan, to playing either of those teams again? The chance to lose or tarnish those bragging rights?
But the Stars -- there's a franchise that I wouldn't mind a chance to get some revenge for 2008. Yeah, the Stars did really well against the Pacific Division this season, including three games against Anaheim, but I don't fully mind tough opponents come playoff time. Neither time the Ducks have been to the Cup Finals it's because they'd been given an easy path there.
3) Stephane Robidas. We all loved him as a Dallas Star, and the only thing worse than seeing him at the AAC wearing a Ducks jersey, was seeing him go down with another serious injury. He's only been with the Ducks for a short time, but what kind of an impact will his absence make?
In one sense, the Ducks are kind of okay -- they have legitimate NHLers who haven't been able to play in this series. I'm not sure if Luca Sbisa, Mark Fistric, or Sami Vatanen will eventually draw in, but all have been at-times valuable members of the blueline this season (hell, Vatanen even won a bronze medal). On the other hand, Robidas was one of Anaheim's top two blueliners on any given night, and he's definitely going to be replaced with somebody less reliable.
How big an impact his absence will make remains to be seen, though. Remember, the Ducks were 45-16-7 before Stephane Robidas ever entered their lineup this season, so it's not like this is totally new.
But yes, this totally sucks. I really liked Robidas in his brief time with two unbroken legs.
4) And finally, who do you hate more? Ryan Garbutt, or Antoine Roussel?
Garbutt. It's not even close, and I'd say the same even if Garbutt didn't injure Robidas. Frankly, I still dislike Garbutt for the run he took at Dustin Penner in the first Ducks-Stars game of the season, but even worse than that is the rest of his stats line he's put together against Anaheim this season, including playoffs: 6 GP, 4 g, 2 a, +5.
That sort of injurious production will earn my ire every time.
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Big thanks to Earl for taking the time to give all his
wrong impressions of tonight's game.
Everybody's focused on Ryan Garbutt, even the NHL website. [NHL.com]
Having been described by Puck Daddy as the series with the least 'hate' between the two teams, the Stars and Ducks have quickly turned this matchup into a bitter rivalry. Gotta love the playoffs. [Sports Day DFW]
A look at the depth on the Ducks blueline, and how they're going to replace Stephane Robidas. [NHL.com]
Farcical! That's the word I was looking for to refer to Bruce Boudreau's comments after the Ducks loss. [Sports Day DFW]
And looks like Boudreau's post-game comments Monday night inspired more articles than just those coming out of Dallas. Yep, even Puck Daddy got in on the act. A lesson from Harrison Mooney in morals and class, and how we just don't have time for that kind of thing in the Playoffs. [Puck Daddy]
Break out the brooms! Or, les balais I suppose I should say. Montreal swept! [Puck Daddy]
Meanwhile, the Kings let down the side, allowing the Sharks to be the only Western Conference team to take a 3-0 series lead. [NHL.com]
And lastly, Down Goes Brown offers some reluctant praise to the NHL for the new playoff format. [Grantland]