Of all the teams in the NHL that I have grown to loathe in the NHL, the Ducks of Anaheim have rapidly climbed to the top of the hate ladder. Last season in the playoffs I literally had to talk myself into rooting for them over the Red Wings. Of all the four reasons the only one that really still applies is Snoop Dog. McDonald is gone, Brad May is still there, as is Bertuzzi. Then there's their general manager Brian Burke (pictured below):They played a game against the Avs the other month was an absolute atrocity in sportsmanship and clean play. While I was busy admonishing the (still) tired antics of Cody McLeod the Ducks have an entire team full of them. Ducks supporters are quick to point out that Anaheim is the most penalized team in the league, but it always feels as if they are getting away with stuff. I couldn't quite pinpoint the reason why. Dean Brown, who runs a Senators blog, but I get the feeling is part of the MSM pinpoints exactly what I hate about the Ducks on-ice play.

My only problem with Brown's points is that he respects the Ducks for it. Why? it's cheating. It's flat-out cheating to win. And it works. And it's a typical Burke crap move. Not only do Burke's teams have a history of this (remember the Burke Canucks?) but he actually whines like a baby when he's called on it. After the early season spat of suspensions (ridiculous in their lack of severity I might add) Burke whined to the media that he thought less suspensions were necessary, and that some of those suspended hits didn't even deserve one? Why because his players are more likely to be suspended.

So the Ducks are cheaters. there's really not much better way to say it. Why should I respect that?

UPDATE: Earl Sleek, the Ducks fan of Battle of California, has an as usual good take on this, and this blog entry. First of all, I'm complaining about the referee's before the game even takes place, so any complaints I have after tonight are completely valid. Second he rationalizes it well, and he makes some solid points, but the point remains. If a referee isn't calling penalties properly he is affecting the game. This "let the players decide the game" argument only if they are both following the rules of the game.