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Ryan Getzlaf was lost in the Duncan Keith hoopla of Chicago’s Game 6 5-2 win over the Ducks.
He didn’t make excuses. He came out and said it … that he was a disaster that game
"It started with me," Getzlaf said. "I was terrible tonight and that's on me. I've got to be better and calm our group down as we go."
Getzlaf’s line was a minus-9 total. His puck possession numbers were solid that game via Naturalstattrick – a CF% of 56.67 5-on-5, but his line just seemed to be shut down – matched up against the two-headed monster of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on Chicago’s first group. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville reunited the two stars at the end of Game 5, and exploited the match up in Game 6, getting them away from Ryan Kesler.
"I got a little carried away trying to make plays every time I was on the ice instead of just making the right play and I think it carried over to our group somewhat," Getzlaf said. "We got it going in the second half and had some opportunities.
I can't do a whole lot in [the dressing room]. I've got to be better on the ice. It doesn't matter what I say if I go out and play like that. That's on me to be ready to play and make better plays with the puck."
There’s a reason why Toews, a ridiculously elite center, is considered the preeminent leader in hockey, in spite of somehow never winning the Mark Messier leadership award, selected by Mark Messier and sponsored by a tire company.
Beyond the obvious points and hits and top plays, he’s consistent. You know what you’re going to get out of him. And if he’s having an off game, he always seems to find ways to stay effective.
Does Getzlaf have the same genetic makeup? So far, his talented Ducks teams with him as captain and Bruce Boudreau as coach have failed to go further in the playoffs than expected. They lost to underdog Detroit in the first-round in 2013. They were the top seed in the West in 2014 and blew a 3-2 series lead to the Los Angeles Kings.
This is Getzlaf’s chance to show he belongs in the pantheon of great Western Conference centers of this generation, along with Toews and Anze Kopitar.
He does have a Stanley Cup, won in 2007, and two gold medals from the 2010 and 2014 Olympics. But he wasn’t ‘the’ guy on any of those teams. With all the old guard Ducks finally retired (cough, Teemu, cough), this is Getzlaf’s team.
He has proved able so far this postseason showing his Messier leadership-like cred (and head) in the process. Against the Blackhawks he had taken it upon himself to pound Chicago’s D, using his 6-foot-4 frame to deliver checks to wear out the beleaguered group. He had also gotten his points, seven assists in six games. Throughout the postseason, he had yet to be a minus, for what it’s worth.
We’re all entitled to stinkers – even in the playoffs. To maintain an incredible type of concentration and focus for close to two months is difficult.
“I don't think it was one of his better games,” Boudreau said. “At the same time, there's more than one guy on our team. I mean, it's great that he wants to shoulder the blame. But I think there's blame, if you want to use that word, to go around. One thing when he plays bad one night, he usually plays good the next.”
To win a Stanley Cup, teams have to overcome something – generally, except if you’re the 2012 Los Angeles Kings.
Getzlaf wasn’t good in Game 6, he knew it, he owned it. That’s step one. Step two? Unleash hell in Game 7.
If he doesn’t … Mess, we’re waiting for your choice.
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