his wasn’t the plan to celebrate the Anaheim Ducks’ 25th anniversary.
This is Silver Celebration week at Honda Center, climaxing with the retirement of Scott Niedermayer’s jersey Sunday night when the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals come calling.
Silver Celebration Week has become Gray Consternation Week.
The Ducks sit last in the Western Conference, eight points out of the final playoff spot.
Coach Randy Carlyle was fired for the second time over the weekend.
General manager Bob Murray will coach the team on an interim basis through the end of the season.
A season that will likely not include any playoffs for the first time since 2012.
There’s a bitter irony about the Kings and Ducks wallowing together at the bottom of the standings.
These two franchise have done so much to promote the game of hockey itself throughout California.
They’ve built a dozen rinks and established high school hockey leagues in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
If only someone would build an ice rink up here in the Valley, the Golden League could quickly add hockey as an interscholastic sport.
They’ve done so much to advance the cause of The Coolest Game on Earth.
They’ve gotten everyone to take them seriously with three Stanley Cups in the last 13 years.
But now that everyone’s watching, there’s nothing to look at.
To be sure, we’re witnessing the emergence to superstardom of Ducks goaltender John Gibson.
Without his spectacular play, the Mallards might be mathematically eliminated by now.
Twenty-seven years ago, the Ducks were hatched literally out of nowhere.
With new Commissioner Gary Bettman and then-Kings owner Bruce McNall the Chairman of the National Hockey League Board of Governors, the NHL finally took its light out from under a maddening bushel basket.
Anaheim, where The Pond was still under construction, and Miami were granted expansion teams.
The Florida Panthers were playing for the Stanley Cup within three years.
The Ducks got to their first Final in 2003. Scott Niedermayer, then with New Jersey, played against his brother Rob, a Ducks co-captain.
Everyone thought it would be fun.
It was closer to Cain and Abel on skates.
When Rob won his third Stanley Cup ring, his mother Carole was in the other locker room, consoling Robby. It was a wrenching experience for the family.
When Scott was a free agent two years later, he left an offer worth at least $2 million more to stay in New Jersey on the table to sign with the Ducks.
It was for one reason: June 6, 2007.
With Scott winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, the Ducks won their first Stanley Cup. The captain always gets the first waltz with hockey’s Holy Grail.
Instead, Scott took the Cup from Bettman, raised it over his head and turned to hand it over to his little brother for the first dance.
That’s all we’ll have this week, and this season.