We did it. Breathe it in, Flames fans. We did it.
After a long, arduous, seemingly eternal 24 month absence from the glory land that is the NHL’s second season, your Calgary Flames are back at the dance. All the sacrifice, retooling, rebuilding, jersey throwing, arena rejecting, Kris Russell having, swearing, and crying, it’s all worth it for even the slightest possibility to guzzle the Nectar of the Gods from Lord Stanley’s chalice. We all hung in there, and we deserve this.
And I know. I know. You wanted the Oilers. I’m right there with you. I wanted the Oilers too. You crave that matchup because of the history. The Civic pride. You need it because the mere mention of a rekindled Battle of Alberta leaves a stirring in your loins. It conjures up the memories of the days of yore and where you were when you first experienced it (which is very likely YouTube, because let’s face it, if you’re reading the mighty Flames Nation on your phone right now instead of today’s sports section in the Calgary Sun, you probably weren’t alive to taste the carnage that was the 80’s)
Me, I don’t even live in Calgary anymore. I want the Oilers because it’s the path of least resistance into the second round.
Actually that’s not the only reason. From a writer’s standpoint (shut up, I’m a writer), the narratives are way easier to flesh out. Who doesn’t want to volleyball their cross town rivals back into obscurity, making the Shelbyvillians of the world inevitably question the leadership and grit of their charges and pine aloud that their fancy new McSports Car burns too much gas and needs to be exchanged for a much more practical family sedan. From Sweden. One for one.
Instead, we get the Ducks. And that’s almost as good, because my job today is to make you hate the Ducks just about as much as you hate the Oilers. This does present a challenge, seeing as most of the relevant things to rail against the opposition for in this case are already well documented at this point, and I’m not a fan of repeating myself, even though I’m sure I’ll do it thirty more times here today. However, this is not as hard as it sounds, because the Ducks are an inordinately hateable team, and I’m sure the job is already, oh, 85% done. And if it isn’t, don’t worry, I will be showing you pictures of Ryan Getzlaf.
The people out there, you know the ones, the hockey people, the ones who have been around this game their entire life and have friends and colleagues who are also the hockey people who have been around this game their entire life will all tell you the Flames are in tough here. You’ve seen the articles, the tweets, those NHL brackets that fans do that we’re all supposed to like and think are neat and give a shit about, they’re all being stamped with Ducks logos instead of Flames stickers, and that’s cool. You just let them do that. They’re mostly basing it off of gratuitous factoids like the magical Honda curse or the fact that the Ducks like the punching, and that’s just fine. Don’t take those innocuously stupid beliefs from any of the somehow fully grown adults who possess them, because it’s all they have left.
For you see, the fact is while this WILL be a very tough series, it’s one our heroes in red can very much win, because this is not the luck run wundermunchkin Flames from two postseasons ago. This is a well built team (albeit with very GLARING deficiencies) that are well coached and well supported, and the Ducks are not the powerhouse that dismantled the PDO busters that season either. Although they are just as reprehensible as they were then and indeed always have been and will be. This is the part we’re going to focus on today.
The hate part.
The charbroiling of the Ducks part. The part where you recoil from pictures of Ryan Getzlaf but then steel yourself to it forever, letting the warm pit inside you grow until the taste of bile in your mouth can no longer be ignored, and you summon every part of your being to convert that into a toxic loogie mixed with shame and anger and you just need Ryan Kesler’s face to spit it into, thus having the overflow weep down his cornbread face and dropping like a bomb onto the floor, corroding and wasting away and bubbling into something not of this world.
And that’s how Corey Perry is made.
If you’re still reading this, congratulations. When I was proofreading this, I couldn’t get past “guzzle the Nectar of the Gods”. But now that you’re here, we’re going to press on and do some individual deep dives of hate into the heart of the Ducks and their insipid roster of stains and blight.
But first, a word.
Ever notice how cartoon ducks are always unbearable whiners or despicable grumps who aren’t happy unless painful and horrifying things are happening to their ambitious young nephews? Weird.
Anyway, Here’s Ryan Getzlaf.
Ryan Getzlaf had himself a pretty decent year. The Ducks captain scored a respectable 73 points on the season, including a very quiet 58 assists. Getzlaf has had a storied career, winning a Stanley Cup, I think. Maybe most impressive of all, however, was in 2010, when a mobile rig floating off the Gulf of Mexico fell prey to excess methane gas and ignited on fire, leaking an estimated 210 million gallons of Getzlaf into the water, destroying the nearby wetlands and leaving millions of already borderline endangered species in constant peril and nearly permanently obliterated an entire ecosystem. It is considered one of the largest natural Getzlaf accidents of all time, and many people believe additional Getzlaf continues to find its way into the ecosystem to this day.
One time he also scored 31 goals in a season.
Remember that time when you were a teenager, and you were alone in your room, and you were alone in your room, and you had the latest edition of Maxim magazine and one thing led to another but then your mom came in to drop off some fresh laundry and you found a towel just in time and did stuff to that towel and threw it in the laundry hamper and it stayed there until the next round of laundry was done three days later? Remember?
That towel is Corey Perry.
If all you know about Ryan Kesler is he’s very fond of diving, that’s fine, but what you should know is that he also really likes long walks on the beach, Milo Yiannopolous, letting soup crust over and dry up and taking that soup chunk and sewing it to other soup chunks and wearing them all as a suit (single breasted, wtf?). Also anti-vaxxing. And Sublime.
Phoebe is his favourite Friend.
One time he went to volunteer at a retirement home, but he spiked the creamed corn with vodka and PCP and told every resident there “your grandchildren hate you and your peach cobbler is bullshit”
Kevin Bieksa is irrelevant.
Look, I think Rickard Rakell is pretty good, but if you go to see CheckMate with your friends, you better damn well get to see CheckMate with your friends.
This concludes the 90’s sitcom play on words section of this article.
I hate John Gibson and I don’t know why, outside of the fact that he’s a Duck, and just thinking about the Ducks makes me think of all those ham fisted Orange County ogres, with their Buffalo Wild Wing stained lips and wheelie shoes and camo shorts and puka shells and waiting in line to hear Dustin Penner spin his tracks at the enVy Lounge and listen to Dustin Penner tell his misogynist jokes at the Go Bananas Comedy Club, and buying skunk meth from Dustin Penner behind the Go Bananas Comedy Club. Oh my god I hate them so much. If you ever enter the atmosphere of anyone whose skin is as orange as Jonas Hiller, you can be sure his name is Skeeter, he’s been divorced three times in the past six months, and you’re absolutely in Newport.
It’s possible John Gibson is the fall guy in this section of the article. He’s a goalie. He’s going to have to get used to that.
You know what? Don’t hate Randy Carlyle. Embrace Randy Carlyle. He might be the biggest factor in why Calgary will advance to the second round. If his track record as a coach isn’t enough to sell you on this, maybe this gem from his playing career will put you at ease:
His most embarrassing moment as a Jet came against the Los Angeles Kings when Bernie Nicholls yelled “Hey, Kitty” and Carlyle fed him a perfect drop pass. Nicholls then went in alone and beat Daniel Bouchard to tie the score. To add injury to insult, in an attempt to catch Nicholls, Carlyle also fell and reinjured his thigh.
I don’t know about you, but I feel REAL good. (Incidentally, I’ve been looking for footage of this play for roughly MY ENTIRE LIFE, so if you happen to have it, hook a brother up.)
This is a late addition to this post, but how could I not include this blockhead onto the list? Bob Murray has built a team consisting solely of loose skin flecks and MAGA hats and cross checking. He’s on more than one occasion tried to sign Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey to lucrative long term contracts. He watches Family Guy.
And still, in the face of all this ineptitude and poor taste apologia, he has the nerve to put Mark Giordano on blast and call him a dirty player? Mark Giordano? Gio is perfect. He doesn’t play dirty, nor is he a repeat offender like Bob Murray, who eats mayonnaise with a fork, claims he is. He cross checked a green man once, but if anything that just gives him even more benefit of the doubt.
Bob Murray signed both Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa to contracts that would pay them a bonkers amount of money well beyond the period where their bones turn to dust, so maybe we’ll take his opinion on this matter with a grain of salt.
If you ever thought there was any kind of redeeming quality to this sad sack, dunkin donut coconut shot flavoured coffee of a franchise, please keep in mind that Teemu Selanne is a Donald Trump supporter. Saku Koivu, easily the nicest man and greatest comeback story in hockey history, well he spends all his time golfing with Scott Baio now (don’t fact check this). Ilya Bryzgalov does rule, I guess I’ll give them that.
I know the Flames have a few repugnant elements to their game. You can call it Ducks Lite if you like (Duck Down? I’m never good with these kinds of things). Maybe that’s why Brian Burke has minute traces of his fingerprints on the design of this team (this is the closest I’ll ever find to a legitimate reason for why the hell that guy is still here). And maybe Sam Bennett and Matty Tkachuk track to be Getzlaf and Perry 2.0, but thankfully for us as fans, they can do it without having to transforming into spiritless ghouls.
But the Ducks are to hockey culture what anthrax is to mail, and it’s going to take a young, upstart team replete with dynamic talent and some good boys like the Michaels and Mikaels of the world to dispatch them. The curse isn’t real. The curse is in your heads. The Ducks aren’t real. Ducks are birds who get their beaks stuck in six pack rings and then die in the most pathetic way I could ever possibly imagine. With a little bit of help from Scorch and the his hockey god pals, the Flames have all the opportunity in the world to turducken these idiots into oblivion once and for all. And I can’t wait.
Kick rocks, Anaheim
Go Flames Go.