Now comes the Year of the Duck.
It will be a year of onomatopoeia. A year of smashing, thwacking, and thwomping. A year for aggression and physicality and grit. It will be the year of the forecheck and the hockey fight, the year of skyrocketing penalty minutes where discipline mainly consists of having a PK good enough to cover for a lack of discipline. It will be a year for crashing the net and digging along the boards. Ironically, it will be a year for nationalism, a year to make Don Cherry proud, a year of good Canadian boys and good Canadian hockey. It will be a good year for oversized defensemen and 3rd liners from
For a long time now we've heard tales of the New NHL, where the game is about speed and skill, and while the Ducks lack for neither, that is not the spirit of their game. In a League where most teams are managed according to the Gospel of Getting By, morphing their style to whatever seems to be the dominant paradigm, the Ducks were a team designed around a defiant vision of what hockey should be- a plan, a theory, a hockey ideology about the soul of the game, a prescriptive map of the sport, the Gospel of Brian Burke. Likely they would have played as they did and been the team that they were regardless of wins and losses, and had they lost, the conventional wisdom would have been ready to explain: they are not a team for the New NHL. But they didn’t lose, they won, and in this broad League of doppelganger-teams, the conversions and reversions are already beginning, as the Old Believers relish their triumph and the apostates repent the error of their ways: we were wrong to question, wrong to think that anything had changed, wrong to be seduced by the whirling wickedness of a prettier, easier game.
The battle lines have been drawn in hockey, the sides set, the old vs. the new, hard work vs. elegant skill, strength vs. speed, dichotomies which are paradoxically stronger because they are entirely false, but which were even before the Final began adopted and rewritten as: the Ducks vs. Gary Bettman.
Ducks 1, Bettman 0.
Welcome to the New Old NHL.
[A brief bit of blog-keeping news: I've been out of town and away from reliable internet for a while, but now I'm back and, strangely, it's only now that hockey is over that I actually have a whole bunch of free time to spend on hockey. So, finally, at long last, I'm going to be able to write all the stuff I've been meaning to write, as well as do some summer blog-cleaning: fixing up the links and the tags and, hopefully, a little bit of a redesign. Many thanks to those who are still stopping by here, I hope you'll continue to drop in from time to time over the off-season- I promise it'll be more interesting than it was through the playoffs.]