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09-26-2003, 03:57 PM
  #8
Snap Wilson
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1. The Ducks acquire a veteran grinder prior to the season. Bryzgalov shows he's ready enough to assume backup duty and Gerber is traded. Lupul is sent down and told if he tears apart the AHL, he'll be called up. He does and he is, scoring seven goals down the stretch one of the league's most productive third lines.

2. The Ducks hold a 90-point pace through the first half of the season then absolutely scorch after the New Year. They finish with 105 points but are edged by the Stars for the division title. They get the #4 seed in the playoffs.

3. Fedorov scores 33 goals and tallies up 80 points. There's some Hart talk but he misses the cut. Sykora tallies 45 goals, finishing in the top five in the league. Prospal slips back a little, but at 20 goals and 65 points complemented by some feisty play, nobody is complaining.

4. Jiggy: 36 wins, 2.09 GAA, .929 save percentage, All-Star appearance. Finishes fourth in the Vezina voting, barely making the cut. Bryzgalov has a decent year as Jiggy's backup.

5. All-Stars: Fedorov and Giguere. Chistov makes a return appearance to the young stars game.

6. Carney plays a bit fewer minutes than last year as Salei moves towards becoming our primary d-man. Ozolinsh has a fine season, 15 goals and 40 points. Popovich plays well in an extended call-up, creating a pleasant problem on our blueline for next year (if there is a "next year").

7. Chistov dangles the puck on a string, makes eye-popping moves every game and somehow scores only 40 points all year. Along the way he falls in love with hitting people, gets a boarding major and a game misconduct, and winds up losing a fight with Pavel Datsyuk, which is replayed eighty-five times between the time it occurs and the end of the season. He finishes fifth on the team in penalty minutes and contends for the most entertaining 40-point season of all-time.

8. We pick up another vet for the stretch run. This year's Steve Thomas is.... well, let's see. Veteran player in the last year of his contract on a non-contender... Dave Andreychuk? He only re-upped for a year, right? And you read correctly, Tampa Bay fans.

9. The Ducks steamroll through the playoffs, beating the #5 seed Vancouver in five games, #2 seed Detroit in four (again!) and #1 Dallas in five. We miss the opportunity to punk Paul Kariya and Colorado when they're dumped in the first round by St. Louis. We face Ottawa in the Stanley Cup finals and a nightmarish deja vu ensues when we drop the first two games at the Corel Center. The Ducks rally back to win the next three. Game Six in Anaheim with a chance to win it all, trailing 3-2 going into the final two minutes when Rucchin bangs home a Fedorov wraparound attempt to tie it. Thirty seconds later, a Havelid slapshot finds the back of the net. A final frantic flurry in front of Giguere and the Ducks emerge champions! Giguere is given the Conn Smythe for the second year in a row as Brodeur stews at home, watching it on television. In your face, Marty!

10. I'll wake up.

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