Jim Souhan: Anaheim was a far superior team

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 20, 2007 - 1:24 AM
hide

Before Thursday night’s Game 5 even started, the Wild and Ducks scuffled a bit before the game officials got on the ice.

Photo: Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

ANAHEIM, CALIF. -- Walk into a losing lockerroom right after a big loss, and, in this era, what you most often find in baseball, basketball and football are shrugs and dinner plans.

Right after they finished shaking hands with the Anaheim Ducks following their elimination from the NHL playoffs on Thursday, the Wild opened the lockerroom to reporters, and what we found was the kind of raw emotion you would like to believe professional athletes always feel.

Players sat in front of their lockers, some with tears in their eyes, most with hair still matted by sweat, all of them staring across the small room as if it were the Pacific Ocean.

The only sound was that of ripping tape.

The Wild lost in Game 5, 4-1, and in the series, four games to one, not for any lack of effort or emotion, but because Anaheim was a far superior team.

After a season praising the puck movement of their defense, the Wild found out what it's like to play against a defense that moves people as well as pucks. When a Wild player took a whack at a puck near the Anaheim crease, he usually ended up on his face. When a Duck took a whack at Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom, he had little to fear.

The Wild power play, a supposed strength, never generated clean looks at the net, and failed in a two-minute 5-on-3 power play in the second period. And the Wild penalty killing unit looked stuck in concrete against the Ducks' smooth power player.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the goalie who stunted the Wild's previous playoff run, returned to the starting lineup for the Ducks on Thursday; neither his aura nor his glove were necessary. Anaheim was so dominant that Snoop Dogg could have played goal with the big orange foam hand he was waving in the stands, and he would have had just as easy a time as Gigi in shutting down the Wild. "I thought the first period was fairly easy,'' Giguere said.

Snoop's team beat the team from Snoopy's hometown, and even the 4-1 final, inflated by an empty-net goal, may have been too kind. The Ducks won on merit, easing up just long enough to give Minnesota one consolation victory.

Still, even in an abridged version, you've got to love playoff hockey. Thursday morning, Brad May turned into Dr. Phil, asserting that "everyone should own their emotions,'' and telling us how much he respects everyone from concussed Kim Johnsson to the percussive Derek Boogaard.

Almost made me weep in appreciation of May's humanitarianism. Johnsson's career may be in jeopardy, and May gets to sit out his three-game suspension while, apparently, recovering from an injured hand that would have sidelined him anyway.

It's May's teammates who should be angry with him. May provided a pathetic distraction to what should have been the true theme of this series: The Ducks' rarely-interrupted dominance.

The Wild won Game 4 and returned to the Honda Center for Game 5, knowing a victory on Thursday night would at least put a little psychic pressure on the Ducks, and then did nothing in the first period to make you think this could become a contest.

"I know that I was as nervous as I have ever been before a hockey game coming into this one,'' Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said.

At the end, here are the conclusions we should draw: The Wild needs to keep Backstrom, find a defenseman who can be skilled and physical (other than the rapidly improving Brent Burns), and add players other than Derek Boogaard who can be physical on the forecheck.

Or during pregame warmups. The teams got into a scrum before the game, with Boogaard knocking down Anaheim enforcer George Parros.

A little later, the PA announcer informed the crowd that copies of Parros' old-school mustache were available for purchase in the arena. Boogaard looked like he wanted to take home the original.

Order somehow restored itself without the presence of officials ... and then Ducks star Teemu Selanne took a puck off his head as warmups resumed, and rushed to the lockerroom. He would take a Nick Schultz stick to the face in the second period, giving him matching gashes.

After an NHL playoff series, though, you can' t tell the winners from the losers by looking at their scars, only their expressions.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon on AM-1500 KSTP.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 14 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 5
Boston - WP: J. Tazawa 5 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: D. O`Day 3
Milwaukee - LP: J. Broxton 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Holdzkom 4
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: H. Kuroda 5
Washington - WP: D. Fister 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: T. Koehler 2
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Quintana 4 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 3
NY Mets - WP: Z. Wheeler 5 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Cleveland - LP: K. Crockett 4 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: J. Burton 5
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 10 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Vargas 1
Seattle - WP: T. Walker 10 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Peacock 5
Arizona - LP: C. Anderson 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. Lyles 15
Cincinnati - LP: D. Holmberg 1 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Lackey 2
Philadelphia - LP: D. Buchanan 1 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Lester 3
Texas - WP: L. Bonilla 12 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Santiago 3
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 0 FINAL
San Diego - WP: O. Despaigne 5
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Colorado 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 5
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close