Last night the Ducks dropped their season opener at the Honda Center to the rival Sharks, a team that dropped its own opener in Colorado. Meanwhile, Central Division powerhouses Detroit and Chicago dropped their openers overseas.
Daniel, does dropping the season opener mean anything?
I don't think winning or losing the season opener is indicitave of a quality season for the Ducks. In the 2002-2003 season we lost our first two games, but still pushed the Devils to a game 7 in the Stanley Cup finals. Last year we lost our opening game to the Sharks, but still beat them in the first round of the playoffs. In 2005-2006, we won the opener but then went on a 3 game losing streak, eventually dropping in the Western Conference finals to that uppity Edmonton team.
I don't think losing any one game is a huge problem. I think how you play in that game is a bigger problem. The Ducks had a couple of bounces go against them last night, and it completely sapped their energy. Let's face it, we were dominated in every aspect of the game. The Sharks skated all over us. We got out hit, beat to loose pucks, and were pinned down in our own zone for long stretches. If there's a silver lining, it's the fact present in the question: the Sharks got owned by the Avalanche but still came and handled us in our opener. There's no cause for alarm yet, just a long list of things to take care of at practice.
Yeah, generally this doesn't matter. I think the worst case scenario is starting the season with a two game series overseas and losing both games. For that, no one envies Detroit right now.
People will point to the lineup, I'm sure, but this is the third straight season Anaheim has opened with a loss. If anything, I feel this lineup has more pieces, more movable parts, that need to click into place. And if they don't click, their understudies are banging on the door.
I think we've seen a lot of this in the Salary Cap era. Teams revamp from season to season. Sometimes they fire on all cylinders; sometimes they stall at the gate. Neither start is usually indicative of where the team will be when all is said and done.