Back to the Ice: A Duck Fan’s Thoughts on the Upcoming Season
A few months ago I wrote about some of the reasons people give up on the sports they might have played prior to attending UC Irvine. If you have no recollection of what I’m talking about you should look up that April issue again because I’m too lazy to go over it all. For a Cliffs Notes version, I explained the reasons why I gave up, because of timing, injuries or simply just a loss of interest.
I also managed to tie my reasons to the NHL lockout, claiming that the mishaps in the world of professional sports were adding to my lack of interest. Remarkably, I received a letter from a reader the day after publication. But this wasn’t just some letter from a random person; rather it was from UCI alumnus Charles Harris, the director of publicity and community development for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
This was great for me, not because I received feedback on my column, but because it came from someone at the Mighty Ducks, which quite possibly is the coolest team in the NHL. On a side note, I think I should clarify that I’m not the biggest fan of professional sports, meaning I’m not someone who follows every game and always knows what’s happening in a particular league. I’m one of those quiet fans who doesn’t need to show off my dedication to a particular sport. Nevertheless, receiving a letter from this team along with a pin commemorating their 2003 Western Conference title was pretty awesome.
Mr. Harris tried to send me encouragement through his letter, hoping it would inspire me to never give up doing the things I love and to remember that hockey and the Mighty Ducks would be back for another season, which they now are. But the question isn’t whether professional hockey is back. It’s really a question of whether this new NHL will be accepted by its old fans.
Personally, new regulations don’t really affect me because I’m not a professional athlete nor am I a huge fan. I’m pretty sure my fascination with the Mighty Ducks was generated by their movies. I mean, honestly, who can forget Gordon Bombay and his group of miscreants? Good times.
I suppose going over the new regulations would be prudent, especially if I’d like to retain my title as a hockey fan.
The biggest changes noticed throughout the league are the changes made to goalies. There were rumors circulating for a while that those in charge of the NHL wanted to have bigger goals to increase the amount of scoring in games. This idea kind of died out, however, and the league has settled on keeping goals the same size. Instead, the size of goalie equipment has had restrictions placed on it. Since goalie equipment has become smaller, the league might get what they wanted and have more scoring throughout the games.
As far as I’ve heard, most goalies are accepting this change. There are a few complaining, including Anaheim Mighty Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere. So since a Duck complains about it, I suppose I will as well.
Another change you’ve possibly already seen is the way games are settled after a third-period tie. Normally, you’d go into an overtime period that lasts as long as a regulation period: 20 minutes. Now, only one 5-minute overtime is played. If after this one overtime a tie still exists, both teams go into a shoot out, which is a very exciting and dramatic change. It’s just like in the end of the second ‘Mighty Ducks’ movie.
Unfortunately, the real-life Ducks have already had one shoot out that resulted in a loss, and to the San Jose Sharks, no less (blasted NorCal, but that’s a whole other set of rambling all together).
I guess the Ducks just need to warm up a bit. I mean, they have been off the ice for a year or so, and it can’t be as simple as hopping back on a bike. Luckily, they do have some more help this year. Defenseman Scott Niedermayer has joined his brother Rod, a center, as one of the Ducks. At least now they’re working side by side unlike in 2003 when they faced off against each other in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Also returning to the Mighty Ducks is one of the team’s most popular players of the past, Teemu Selanne. Who knows, maybe Selanne will skate in and save the day just like Dean Portman did in the end of ‘D3’. It would just like in the movies, which leaves me with one conclusion: I watch too much television.