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It's Opening Niiiiiiight

Friday, 01.25.2013 / 4:08 PM
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Ducks Off the Ice by Adam Brady
It\'s Opening Niiiiiiight
“When the crowd is loud for something like this, that’s where the final energy comes from. I don’t think the fans even realize how big of an influence they can be for their own players."
As Ducks fans, we’ve been waiting nine months for this night, the home opener at Honda Center. The opponent – a Canucks team whose own home opener Anaheim spoiled last Saturday – hardly matters, just that hockey is back in this building.

Incidentally, the Ducks are the last team in the NHL this year to have their home opener, and we’re pumped beyond belief – we know that. But how pumped are the players? They’re professionals, many of whom have played in their share of home openers. Heck, Teemu Selanne himself has played in 19 of them. How much do they get energized from the thunder of a sold-out crowd, the hoopla surrounding a night like this?

The answer? Plenty. And not surprisingly, Teemu gave the best take on it all. I'm gonna bold it because I liked the quote so much:

“When the crowd is loud for something like this, that’s where the final energy comes from. I don’t think the fans even realize how big of an influence they can be for their own players. I remember when Michael Jordan did something unbelievable in a game a long time ago and somebody asked, ‘How did you do that?’ and he said something like, ‘I don’t know where that came from. I wasn’t prepared to do that. But the energy I got from the fans in the building made me do it.’

“He said there is no way you could see half of those great plays in the game if there are no fans creating that atmosphere and bringing that ‘pump’ into your body. It’s absolutely huge.”

(As if you weren’t going to be loud enough tonight, that might push you even more.)

Here’s a few more Ducks on a night like tonight:

Devante Smith-Pelly: “Yeah, you can definitely tell when the crowd is into it. That always helps a little bit when they’re loud and cheering you on. You’ve just got to use that energy in a positive way. You can’t be running around trying to make a big hit or make a beautiful play to make the crowd loud. You’ve got to focus on playing your game, and the crowd will take care of itself.

“But especially after a lockout, the fans sticking by us during the whole process, of course we’re excited to finally get the chance to play in front of them.

Andrew Cogliano: “Any team would feed off of the crowd being into it and being loud. You just get more excited, you get more adrenaline. It creates an advantage. I’ve played in some pretty loud buildings, and this building when it’s going, it's really loud and really good. Hopefully tonight is one of those nights.

“It’s a different scenario with this season because people have been waiting for a long time. Obviously with people in Anaheim and this area, they love the team and we have a lot of fans. It’s exciting for them and exciting for us that we were able to go on the road and get a couple wins and feel good about ourselves, and now we’re able to come home and hopefully carry the momentum.”

Peter Holland, who is making his season debut tonight: “Obviously when the crowd is into it and they’re cheering for you and they’re excited for hockey, it definitely gets you going. That being said, you kind of need to calm yourself down almost. You don’t want to get too high or too low. Bruce talked this week about trying not to get too distracted. I think he said 17 of the 29 teams who have had their home openers have actually lost. He attributed it to guys being distracted, getting tickets for friends and family members, getting caught up in the whole hurrah of it all.”

Boudreau gave his team that 17-out-of-29 stat yesterday, and clearly Holland listened. I talked to Dan Winnik a little earlier in the week and he pointed out how in Vancouver’s home opener last Saturday, the Canucks came out a little too pumped up, and the Ducks pounced on their way to a 7-3 win.

As Boudreau told me this morning, it’s an exciting night, but it’s his job to make sure the guys don’t get carried away with it.

“I was a player for 17 years, so I know what it feels like. It’s exciting, but you want to try and keep everyone’s emotions on an even keel. They usually because they have so many things going on the day of the game, and we’re trying to eliminate that as much as we can, so they can focus.

“That being said, I think anytime you play at home, you’re excited, so I’m absolutely pumped up.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48

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