If a manager mistreats a male or female fan of his team, and the spark of fandom within that person dies as a result, the manager must be punished. But give it at least a couple of years. If after a couple of years, it turns out that the spark of fandom was actually dormant and not extinguished, then the manager doesn't need to be punished. After all, they are fans of his team, and thus have no real say in what goes on. In this way, they are like property.
Anaheim Ducks (33-35-12) @ Edmonton Oilers (32-39-9)
Rexall Place, 7:30 p.m. MDT
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
The Anaheim Ducks are toast, but will no doubt have more fans cheering for them tonight than they've had for a while. With the end of the season so close, even casual fans have their eye on the draft lottery, and that means fans of the Wild, Maple Leafs, Hurricanes, and Lightning will all be pulling unconditionally for an Anaheim victory. Fans of the Ducks? There are no doubt some hoping for a win, and others hoping for a loss, but they'll all be united in enjoying what could be the second-last game of Teemu Selanne's career. If Selanne can score four more goals this year, he'll become the second-oldest player in NHL history to score 30 goals, and the second-oldest to score 70 points (Gordie Howe is first in both categories; he was a few months older than Selanne is now in 1970). I'm thinking it's time to start Khabibulin!
Edmonton Oilers (32-39-9):
Hartikainen - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Jones - Gagner - Hemsky
Smyth - Horcoff - Belanger
Eager - VandeVelde - Petrell
Whitney - Schultz
Sutton - Petry
Barker - Teubert
Anaheim Ducks (33-35-12):
Smith-Pelly - Getzlaf - Perry
Hagman - Koivu - Selanne
Ryan - Bonino - Palmieri
Blake - Cogliano - Beleskey
Fowler - Beauchemin
Visnovsky - Guenin
Sbisa - Brookbank
By the Numbers:
- Jeff Petry returns to the lineup tonight after missing a couple of games with a grotesquely swollen jaw. His return means that Bryan Rodney is on his way back to Oklahoma City after just one game. Rodney played 13:17 in his season debut, and was an unsurprising -1. That 13:17 in ice time was, surprisingly, not the lowest total on the team against Los Angeles. Colten Teubert played just 12:10 in his return to California.
- That meant a lot of ice time for the other defensemen, one of which, you'll recall, was Cam Barker! Barker played 21:48, his second-highest total of the season (he played 22:27 against Minnesota in October) and the 17th-highest total of his career. In the sixteen games where Barker got more ice time, his teams won six and lost ten.
- Jeff Deslauriers is starting tonight for Anaheim. Deslauriers has an .881 AHL save percentage... the tank is on!
Yann Danis was named a first-team AHL All-Star, which essentially means that the selection committee figures him to have been the best goaltender in the league this year. Danis has a 2.11 goals against average and .924 save percentage in 40 games. He will no doubt try to use those accomplishments to earn an NHL contract next season. The first and second team all-stars over the last two years (Brad Thiessen, Curtis Sanford, Jonathan Bernier, and Cedrick Desjardins) have all seen at least limited time in the NHL after being honored.
- Steve Staios is slated to play his 1,000th NHL game tonight. He will become the 277th player in NHL history to get there. Congratulations, Steve, and thanks for your time as an Oiler.