By Jim den Hollander
All the excitement for our new season and the festive way we are kicking things off this season has me thinking about the past 10 seasons, great moments and of course some heartbreaking moments as well.
There are two things I have been kind of working on – more in my head than on paper – and I am going to share them on these pages over the next few weeks leading up to the start of our regular season.
One is my own ‘All-Ducks’ team. I have thought about this off and on over the off season and have compiled a list of names – four full lines and three goaltenders that make Jimmy D’s Decade team.
The other is my own Top 10 Ducks games from the first decade. Just to be clear – I did not pore over game sheets and stats for hours – the 10 games I came up with are just at the front of what is left of my brain at this time.
Jimmy D’s all-Decade team.
There’s mixed emotions with something like this, because you can’t have all the players your want of course. I tried to make it a true Decade team with players from the first season right up until this past season. There are no doubt players I liked that others may not have appreciated and for sure vice-versa.
For forwards and defense, I sort of ranked the top three lines, while adding a fourth unit for players that would my all-time penalty kill or defensive unit.
I did add a few honorable mentions, players that I wanted to add but ultimately didn’t get in. Ironically, on a team that boasted standout goaltending pretty much every season, the goaltending spot for me was the easiest to make a cut line. We have had stellar targets through the past decade but there are three that carried their respective teams like no other. Ducks fans may or may not agree with me on that.
Assist to Panure
Thinking about this and putting this brief intro together brings some other great memories of our original ‘Duck Caller’ Matt Panure. We often discussed and debated our own choices at certain positions and to be 100 percent honest, some of my own memories have been extended or padded, by Panure’s recollections either during or in between broadcasts.
Over the next few weeks, I will release my all-Decade team in five installments – the first four will each be a five-player unit and I will save my three goaltenders for the end.
Top 10 Ducks Games
What might surprise some in this category is not all 10 of my Top 10 games are Ducks wins. There are a few heartbreaking losses that stick out for me as well.
I can say of the 10, two are regular season games, six are MNJHL or USPHL playoff matches and two are from USA Hockey or USPHL National Championships.
I am going to count backwards on my Top 10 Ducks games, beginning with number 10 later today.