Anaheim Ducks Rant Week: Ciara Durant – The Five Stages of Grief

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 23: A Ducks fan cheers after a goal in Game Five of the Western Conference First Round against the Nashville Predators during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on April 23, 2016 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 23: A Ducks fan cheers after a goal in Game Five of the Western Conference First Round against the Nashville Predators during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on April 23, 2016 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images) /

 With Anaheim Ducks rant week at Pucks of a Feather in full swing, the time has finally come for me to get a few things off my chest. I’ve got a bad case of the post-season blues, and the only way for me to move forward is to take one last look back.

To say that I was crushed when San Jose swept our Anaheim Ducks in the first round would be an understatement.

I have always been taught to love without condition, and I try to apply the same philosophy to the Ducks. However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have the right to be frustrated with how the end of the season transpired.

I was on the phone Sunday evening with my dad when I realized over the course of our one-hour conversation, I had spent forty-five minutes ranting about the Ducks. Then, the other fifteen listening to him try and calm me down.

It didn’t take me long after hanging up to realize that I was evidently working through the five stages of grief.

I say this jokingly, but let’s all play along for kicks and giggles, shall we? Let’s walk through the five stages of grief together: Anaheim Ducks edition.

I have a lot to say. This is going to be a long one, so hang in there with me!

Step One: Denial

A season plagued by injury, the players not playing at 100% (to no fault of their own), and a coach who wasn’t making the best choices. Nearing the end of the season, I was elated that they were even contenders to make it to the playoffs.

A wildcard spot would have been alright with me. Yet, somehow they found the missing spark, and the team seemed to have finally found their groove. Miraculously, they stole the second place division spot from San Jose and ended the regular season with a five-game winning streak.

However, there we were, in Game Four. I think all of us can agree that the final seconds of that game took forever. As agony ensued, eventually, they ticked off the clock. Then, without batting an eyelash, the season was over.

My first instinctual reaction was to turn off the light and go to sleep. Hopeful that in the morning, I’d wake up and it would all have been a figment of my overactive imagination.

This very thought went through my mind as I fell asleep:

“There is no way this season is over. Not after everything the Ducks have done to get here!” 

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Step Two: Anger

With anger comes a whole lot of blame. Let me tell you, I was pointing fingers and taking names.

At the top of my list, Head Coach Randy Carlyle.

RC’s refusal to integrate young players into the lineup, except for in exigent situations, hurt the team in a huge way. Additionally, his unwillingness to keep the team accountable cost us the playoffs.

Carlyle’s ability to be flexible was nonexistent, and many of his coaching decisions this season were bizarre and questionable. Nevertheless, he gets a free pass due to all the early season injuries.

Second on my list, GM Bob Murray.

I give Bob credit for making some good decisions this season for the team. Still, he brought in players like Chris Kelly and Jason Chimera at the trade deadline. I don’t think of them as “bad players.” Nonetheless, they didn’t add what we were promised; speed!

Allowing things like this to happen and leaving Anaheim with an underdeveloped fourth line was a serious transgression. Rehiring Randy Carlyle and giving him a free pass to come back and coach next season is yet another strike.

The list goes on, but I’ll spare you from that never-ending directory.

Step Three: Bargaining

This is when all of the “If’s” came into play.

“What if there weren’t any injury’s this season?” “What would have happened if Ryan Getzlaf hadn’t played so much?” “How much better could our team have been if we had a decent fourth line?” “What if Randy Carlyle wasn’t the coach?”

However, all of these unanswered questions lead me to finally accept reality.

Step Four: Depression

Normally, I am a very happy person with a sunny disposition. However, for days I refused to even talk about hockey with anyone. It is unusual for me not to mention hockey at least several times a day. My coworkers sometimes look at me like I’m crazy. So, it was evident that something was wrong.

Unfortunate as it was, the season did not end well. We were all upset over the Anaheim Ducks season ending. It was disappointing that a player like Francois Beauchemin didn’t get one last shot at a Stanley Cup. I honestly began to lose confidence in the team.

Step Five: Acceptance

Getting lost in the vexation of an early elimination is easy. We can blame the players and call out the coaches. It’s easy to point fingers, to try and make sense of how our season ended. However, the fact of the matter is simple. What’s done is done.

Randy Carlyle is coming back. Is that ideal? No. However, this gives him one last chance to prove himself and adjust his style. If he doesn’t, it will give Bob Murray that chance to see what truly needs to change on this team.

With a new season comes new opportunity. There are exponential possibilities to develop our team with draft picks, trades, and post-season rest and recuperation.

We can complain all we want, but what does that change?

It’s time for us to accept what has happened and start focusing on what lies ahead. We have a blank slate to work with come October. It’s time for the Ducks to make next season their comeback season. They aren’t the “Comeback Kids” for no reason.

Thank You

This season has been my favorite season by far. Sure, it ended in disappointment. However, I absolutely enjoy cheering for this team. I can’t wait to cheer alongside each of you next season!

Next: Contributor Rant Week - Blake Navarro - Loyalty is Key

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