Guest Author - Kevin Thorburn
The team from Anaheim, the once Mighty Ducks, proved they are still deserving of that moniker. They battled the Ottawa Senators, the team representing Canada’s capital city, to become the Stanley Cup champions of the 2006-2007 season. The series was physical, full of play that could be described as less than sportsmanlike, but the team that played consistent, hard-nosed hockey every minute came out on top.
Teams are often ranked by looking for the headline players on the roster: the players that make the highlight reel each night. On paper, the Ducks didn’t seem to stack up with the Senators in that respect. What doesn’t show up on paper is the fact that Anaheim possessed a checking line that was able to keep the formidable Ottawa top line virtually off the scoreboard while putting up impressive numbers themselves. From the first line to the fourth line, Anaheim showed there were no weak links and were truly the epitome of teamwork. The Ducks showed that a team balanced with strong defense, blazing speed and a lot of heart can shut down and frustrate anyone.
Scott Niedermayer, one of two defensive studs for the Ducks, deservedly won the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff most valuable player. Jean-Sebastien Giguere certainly made his case for winning this award for the second time, but it was decided that the now four-time winner of the Stanley Cup, Scott Niedermayer, would take home this piece of hardware.
One of the greatest stories was the fact that Finnish superstar, Teemu Selanne would get to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup for the first time since joining the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets in 1992-1993. After potting 48 goals this season, the classy forward now must decide whether it is time to hang up the skates and retire or come back for another year. Anaheim fans would certainly welcome the latter decision.
After receiving the Stanley Cup from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, captain Scott Niedermayer emotionally handed the cup to his brother, Rob Niedermayer, a first time winner of the award. Selanne probably should have received the trophy next, but with all the excitement, perhaps he can forgive this.
With thanks to General Manager Brian Burke, coach Randy Carlyle and players such as Chris Pronger, J.S. Giguere, Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne and every other team member California finally has a Stanley Cup championship team. This was a good night for hockey.