Monday, August 29, 2011

The Mighty Ducks Mailbag

gordon bombay mighty ducks 2
Last summer I wrote a post outlining the results of an NHL Entry Draft that featured fictional players from all sorts of movies, but most prominently the Mighty Ducks series. Since that time there have been plenty of people who have asked Google questions about the Mighty Ducks. Those questions led here.

These are the answers to those questions (edited for grammar, of course).

Who is the better coach: Reggie Dunlop (from Slap Shot) or Gordon Bombay?

Reggie Dunlop wins this in a landslide, despite trying to get with a teammate’s wife.

Gordon Bombay might be one of the worst coaches to ever grace the big screen. In the original Mighty Ducks, Bombay initially attempts to teach the kids how to dive, rather than try to teach them actual usable hockey skills. He lets open racism fester in the dressing room, endorsing the ‘Oreo line’ moniker for a line with two black kids and one white kid. Plus, he lets everyone say ‘cake eater’ without any consequences. Way to preach equality, Bombay! He spends more time in the first movie trying to get with Charlie’s mom than he does coaching. This is a recurring theme with Bombay.

In D2, Bombay lets his new found fame go to his head (actually it all goes to his new slicked-back hair style) and is too busy to even marginally prepare his team for the first big show-down with Iceland. The tactics the Ducks do have, which is hardly any, Bombay readily gives up to the Team Iceland hottie, all in the name of gettin’ some. Good job, coach. This means he’s too busy to notice that his star player, Adam Banks, is seriously injured. Bombay just lets him play another game, further jeopardizing his career. He also abandons the team at one point, which almost leads to a Team USA forfeit and tournament elimination.

The best thing Bombay ever did was leave the Mighty Ducks in the third movie, which allowed them to play under a real coach who showed them how to play actual hockey. Unfortunately, his departure brought about a whole bunch of Daddy issues Charlie Conway was effectively avoiding.

How badly was Adam Banks hurt? 

Banks had his wrist viciously slashed against Iceland after scoring a goal, but manages to finish the game and play the next (thanks to a negligent Coach Bombay). Bombay bars him from playing in the semi-final so there’s a definite cause for concern, but considering he’s back by the final it couldn’t have been broken - unless Coach Bombay shot him up with painkillers (which we’re not ruling out). It’s likely just sprained.

It’s amazing that Bombay never actually sends Banks to see a doctor. Oh, just try rotating your stick, that’s good enough for Dr. Bombay. No need to get an X-ray, you’re only the most important player on the team.

Adam Banks could never be captain. 

This statement offends me. I’ll readily admit that Banks was initially a little petulant when he’s told he has to play for District-5, but once he actually joins the team he’s all business – he just wants to play hockey. He’s able to play through overbearing defences designed solely to stop him and still scores tons of goals. He also scores clutch goals in every movie. He plays through injury and is just the ultimate player throughout all three Mighty Ducks movies. He's a leader by example and the true Captain of the Mighty Ducks.

The myth of Charlie Conway’s supreme captaincy needs to stop. Here’s a player who quits on the team in D3 and is super moody the whole time just because his buddy Coach Bombay isn’t with the team. On the team’s first skate he leads them in another rodeo practice, explaining that this is just the way the Ducks practice (umm, how about you actually work on playing hockey). He openly clashes with the coach throughout the movie and just assumes he’ll be the captain.

It’s important to remember Charlie was brutal in the first movie and only redeemed himself by scoring the game-winning penalty shot. Amazingly, he was actually worse in D2, scoring only one measly assist. It’s not like he plays defence during this time either; he only learns to backcheck half-way through D3.

Pfft, Captain Duck.

Why was Adam Banks known as a cake eater? 

Well, racism, basically. Cake eater is a term for a rich, suburban white kid. The term refers to someone so rich they can have their cake and eat it too.

Dwayne Robertson jumps off the bench to lasso an opponent, what sort of suspension does that warrant?

Anytime a player leaves the bench to join a fight an automatic 10 game suspension is assessed. You have to think he’d also get another game or two tacked on for bringing a foreign object onto the ice and using it against an opponent. So I think he ends up with an 11-12 game suspension for that one. But we won't know for sure until Matt Cooke tries it this season.

Why did D3 suck? 

D3 was a let-down for one simple reason: the trap. The dead-puck era was just starting to strangle the life out of the NHL and the trap was so pervasive in hockey that it actually worked its way into D3. Seriously. The major hockey plot line in D3 was that the Ducks couldn’t actually play defence and it was the coach’s goal to teach them defensive responsibility. Are you enthralled yet?

Did the writers think we were Lou Lamoriello’s children?

There’s no way this plot line was going to work. We love the first two Mighty Ducks movies because of wacky shenanigans and unrealistic hockey. We don’t want to see a gritty 1-0 victory.

Plus, shit gets real in D3. Hans dies! I remember sitting in the movie theatre as a child and crying. I may have got a little too into these movies (uhhh, as you might have already known).

Why did Goldberg become a defenceman? 

Julie Gaffney is clearly superior and Goldberg actually blocks more shots as a defenceman than he ever did as a goalie.

If Goldberg's master plan to get Julie fat and sluggish worked for the entire movie then it might be a different story and Goldberg would have never left the crease.

What is the ultimate Mighty Ducks line? 

W: Charlie Conway
C: Adam Banks
W: Guy Germaine
D: Fulton Reed
D: Russ Tyler
G: Julie Gaffney

This line has everything: Banks is the pure goal scorer; Guy is a nice complementary offensive player who can play with anyone and really do anything on the ice; Charlie becomes the defacto defensive player on the line that allows Banks and Guy to do their thing.

The defence is a little suspect, but we’re going to pour on the offense with this line. Fulton has the cannon shot everyone will have to respect and he also is a physically intimidating presence that teams can’t ignore. Tyler has the knuckle puck, and if he’s paired with Reed he should actually have some time to wind up.

Obviously, the goalie has to be The Cat. I know Goldberg is a good character player and he’s good for the dressing room, but he has no real talent as a goaltender. We’ll take the actual goalie.

Why doesn’t Charlie have to wear a helmet during the penalty shot in the Mighty Ducks? 

So we can see his flowing hockey hair! We're trying to sell movie tickets here, folks.

If you have any other questions regarding the Mighty Ducks movies you can send them here. I fancy myself as somewhat of an expert on fictional hockey.


Anonymous said...

Cake-eater is a term from WW2 that refers to rich people in Minneapolis suburbs who could afford flour, as it was in short supply.

Matt Horner said...

Both Wikipedia and urban dictionary disagree, and they are the ultimate sources on all things factual.,_Minnesota

Matt Horner said...

From an e-mail:

Hey, love the Ducks articles but I have a question that is bugging me. I recently watched the 1st and 2nd movie and I was wondering what happened to Jesse Hall's brother? Does it mention why Jesse continues to play, but his brother is nowhere to be found?

My Answer:

They make no mention of it in the movie, but I'll do some guesswork to come up with an answer we can pretend is fact.

We know Bombay can't take the whole Ducks squad to make Team USA because the chances all the best youth hockey players are from one team in Minnesota is a stretch. So, he probably lobbied hard for the players he was most loyal to and made the most significant contribution to the Ducks' win in the first movie (e.g., Banks, Guy, etc). When it came time to make cuts some of the first were probably Peter (openly clashed with Bombay, especially after some of the kids heard Bombay call them losers out of context) and I believe Karp was the other kid (just going on memory here). Terry (Jesse's brother) was probably on his shit list as well because both he and Jesse leave the team at one point, although that's because their Dad is pissed with Bombay. But this can't be the reason because Jesse is on the team in D2.

So, more likely, some kids just stopped being interested in hockey. In D2 they're teenagers, so some probably rather hang out at the mall and do other snotty teenager type things. The brother/sister figure skating duo probably focused their energy on figure skating, Peter probably became some sort of hoodlum (he wears a leather jacket!), Karp is concussed out of his mind, so hockey is out of the question. Terry probably just decided hockey wasn't for him.

Anonymous said...

Hey man, I stumbled upon this site this morning and have not stopped laughing all day, those Mighty Ducks answers and ur bagging of Bombay is awesome! I especially love the Adam Banks injury one...any chance u could do some more like this? It's gold...loved the NHL draft thing too

Matt Horner said...

Well thanks! I actually had way too much fun writing these Mighty Ducks posts. I might have something in the works regarding the Mighty Ducks again, but not sure when I'll get a chance to finish it. Maybe when there is a lull in the NHL.

Anonymous said...

I love all the Mighty Ducks movies. I do understand where you are coming from about D3.But they were indeed growing up and being cute isn't enough anymore.I think the 1-0 score and the gritty competition works.And I agree about Gordon Bombay not being a good coach. But regarding Adam's injury in D2, he caught Adam trying to bandage up his wrist in the locker room and he did say "lets go get that wrist X-rayed" after informing Adam that he was benching him and that his Dad will be proud of him no matter what.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why Adam banks didn't say anything in D3?

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