This is something stupid and funny I wrote last summer that, for a number of reasons, never ran. Enjoy.
Like most sports-loving children of the 90s, I have seen The Mighty Ducks, D2: The Mighty Ducks, and D3: The Mighty Ducks approximately 197 times each. When one of these movies comes on TV, as was the case last Thursday (note: this was written in mid-June) night, I watch it from that point until the end of the movie, without fail. I think it’s fair to say I am somewhat of a Mighty Ducks expert.
Let’s pretend that you, too, are a fellow sports-loving child of the 90s, and a Mighty Ducks expert. And let’s say I gave you five tries to guess who the leading on-screen point scorer in the Mighty Ducks trilogy was. What would your five guesses be?
Odds are you’d start with Adam Banks, the uber-skilled forward whose house fell on the wrong side of the lake and resulted in his being transferred from the Hawks to the Ducks in The Mighty Ducks. The start of his tenure on the team coincided with its rise from bottom-feeder to state champion. It was largely due to his goal-scoring exploits that the Ducks were in position to play the hated Hawks in the finals. It’s a good guess, considering Banks was by far the best player on the team. It’s also wrong.
Your second guess would likely be Charlie Conway. He was, after all, Captain Duck. Played by a young Joshua Jackson, Charlie starts off the series as one of the worst players on the team (his nickname in the first movie is “Spazway”), but eventually works his way up to the point where he’s the Eden Hall Academy junior varsity team’s top goal scorer in D3: The Mighty Ducks (Banks makes varsity, thus making Charlie the de facto best player on the team). Your second guess would also be wrong.
Your third and fourth guesses would probably be Guy Germaine – center of The Oreo Line, ruggedly handsome/amazingly stupid boyfriend of winger Connie Moreau, and all-around jovial dude – and team jester Lester Averman. Both of those guesses would also be wrong.
Before making your fifth guess, you’d probably just quit and say that this whole exercise is really stupid. Why should you care about whom the leading scorer in a hockey movie trilogy that ended over a decade ago was, anyway?
And then you’d make me tell you the answer, at which point I would blow your mind by informing you that Fulton Reed – who literally did not know how to skate at the beginning of the first movie – was the leading on-screen point scorer in the Mighty Ducks franchise with six goals and six assists.
Charlie was a close second with 11 points, while Banks, despite leading the team in goals scored, finished third with nine – all accumulated in the first two movies. Guy and Averman tied for fourth with eight points each.
This table of accumulated on-screen stats I compiled contains a few more interesting nuggets of information.
The Mighty Ducks Didn’t Have Enough Players
A total of 19 players suited up for the Ducks across the three movies; there were never more than 13 players on the active roster at any given time (As a reference, NHL teams have 20 players active for games).
In The Mighty Ducks, there are actually only 12 players on the team until Banks is taken from the Hawks midway through the movie – and before Fulton joins the team and District 5 changes its name to the Ducks, there are only 11 players on the squad, including the goalie. By all indications, they played standard 20-minute periods, which leads me to conclude that the Ducks were the most well conditioned team in hockey history.
Mr. Tibbles of Hendrix Hockey brings in five new players (Luis Mendoza, Dwayne Robertson, Julie “The Cat” Gaffney, Ken Wu and Dean Portman) to join the Ducks in representing the United States of America at the Junior Goodwill Games at the start of D2. So now we’re up to 18 players, right? Wrong.
The team loses Peter Mark, Dave Karp, Jesse Hall’s brother Terry, and both Tammy and Tommy Duncan. So for an international competition against ostensibly the best teams in the world, Team USA sends… 13 players, two of which (Gaffney and Goldberg) are goalies. Of course they do.
When Banks later goes down with an injured wrist after being slashed by Iceland enforcer Olaf Sanderson (“Two minutes? Well worth it.”), Charlie recruits Russ Tyler, a heckler from the streets of south central Los Angeles to join the team, and Coach Gordon Bombay not only allows this to happen, he doesn’t even question it. Russ suits up for the next game, unleashes his knuckle puck just in time to beat the Russians, and sends Team USA to the finals, also against Iceland.
Naturally, Banks’ wrist miraculously heals in time for the Gold Medal Game, but there are somehow not enough roster spots for him to rejoin the team. What kind of hockey tournament only allows 13 roster spots? And what kind of coach carries two goalies in that kind of tournament?
With the team needing Banks in the lineup to compete against Iceland, Charlie volunteers to give up his roster spot for the final. Rather than telling Goldberg or Gaffney – and it should definitely be Goldberg, which we’ll discuss in a minute – to take a seat, Coach Bombay insists that Charlie join him on the bench as an assistant coach. Somehow, this all makes perfect sense to everyone involved.
When the Ducks move on to Eden Hall Academy in D3, Jesse Hall has left the team for good, and Dean Portman declines to accept his scholarship, leaving the Ducks with only 12 players. Banks is then assigned to the Varsity squad after only one day of practice, bringing the Ducks back down to their original size of 11 players.
Midway through the movie, Charlie and Fulton temporarily quit the team, which means the Eden Hall JV Warriors play a game with only nine players on the active roster, one of which is a goalie who was converted to a defenseman on the fly. His name…
Goldberg: Worst Sports Movie Athlete Ever?
Greg Goldberg might possibly be the single worst supposedly good athlete in the history of movies. Goldberg gives up 28 on-screen goals in the three Mighty Ducks movies and saves only eight shots, giving him a save percentage of .222. The NHL’s worst save percentage in the 2012-13 season belonged to Florida Panthers backup Scott Clemensen, who checked in with a .874; nearly four times Goldberg’s save percentage.
Goldberg presumably saved some shots off screen, but his abysmal on-screen performance and penchant for meltdown games (17 goals allowed against the Hawks in the first movie, 12 goals allowed against Iceland in the second movie) leads one to wonder how it is that he even made Team USA in D2.
Goldberg’s incredulity after finding out he was no longer that starting goalie at the beginning of D3 is frankly one of the more ludicrous character reactions I can ever recall.
After Goldberg tries and fails to win his starting spot back from Julie by overloading her with carbohydrates to make her fatter, Coach Orion converts Goldberg into a defenseman. The only time this is even mentioned on-screen before we see him playing defense in the JV/Varsity showdown is when Charlie visits his mentor Hans – who is somehow listening to a junior varsity high school hockey game on the radio – in his skate shop during the game that Charlie is missing because he quit the team, and even then you wouldn’t hear it unless you were listening to the radio call and not the conversation between Charlie and Hans.
In the first period of the JV/Varsity showdown, Julie the Cat makes more saves than Goldberg made in the entire trilogy. In fact, her 13 first period stops are one less than the total number she and Goldberg made combined in the rest of the series.
Then, despite his having only one game of experience at the position, Orion makes Goldberg his lone defenseman on the ice for a five-on-three penalty kill with two minutes left in a 0-0 game because, “You’ve earned it.” And what is he doing killing a five-on-three penalty with two forwards and one defenseman? How nobody questions this is beyond me.
D2 Has All The Penalties
There are only two penalties called in The Mighty Ducks, and the first one shouldn’t even have counted.
Late in the State Championship against the Hawks, Adam Banks has a breakaway. His friend and former teammate, No. 7 McGill cross checks Banks from behind, sending him flying toward the goal. Banks slams his head into the post and is knocked out of the game, but not before the puck goes in the net.
According to the rules of hockey at every level I’m familiar with, the penalty would be nullified by the immediate goal. But not here. The Ducks are awarded a power play. Not only that, but for some reason, the ensuing faceoff takes place inside the Hawks’ zone. Guy Germaine wins the draw directly back to Fulton, who scores on a slap shot that is so hard it literally knocks the goalie backward into the net. Fulton is ostensibly somewhere between nine and 12 years old at the time.
There are eight penalties called in D2, seven of which are on the Ducks. Some of the infractions include two (?) minutes for fighting for Ken Wu, two minutes for roping (“That’s a new one on me!”) for Dwayne Robertson, matching misconduct minors for Portman and Fulton in the finals against Iceland, and game misconducts for Portman – for accidentally knocking over a ref three seconds into the first Iceland game – and Julie the Cat.
Charlie gets called for an unsportsmanlike conduct minor – for breaking his stick against his own goal post – in the first game of D3 while the Eden Hall junior varsity Warriors are in the process of blowing a 9-0 lead. The only two other penalties called in D3 are the ones that put the Ducks at a five-on-three disadvantage with exactly two minutes left in the game.
Coach Orion sends Charlie, Banks and Goldberg out to kill the two-man disadvantage, and that trio stays out there for the entire two minutes, despite Charlie clearing the puck all the way down to the other end at one point. In keeping with the series’ shaky hockey logic, the Ducks are called for icing despite being on the penalty kill.
More Interesting Mighty Ducks Nuggets and Questions
- The most commonly uttered phrase in the three movies is definitely “Shutup, Averman.”
- According to Hans, Gordon once scored 198 goals in a peewee hockey season. How long are peewee hockey seasons in Minnesota?
- “Take the fall. Act hurt. Get indignant.” Gordon teaches this mantra to the team when they are still District 5, in an effort to get them to cheat their way to a forfeit win. Gordon would have made an excellent NBA superstar with this mantra.
- “I will not quack at the principal.” Charlie’s behavior in the school fight scene smacks of a young Pacey Witter.
- During the State Championship in The Mighty Ducks, coach Riley tells his players that if they blow the game, none of them will make the team next year. The Hawks do indeed proceed to blow the game, but McGill, Larson and an unidentified third friend are still sporting Hawks jackets at the beginning of D2. Are they just nostalgic for the good old days, or did Riley go back on his promise?
- When gathering the team at the start of D2, Gordon gets Charlie first. Charlie then goes to get Jesse, Charlie and Jesse get Averman, Charlie, Jesse and Averman get Connie and Guy, Charlie, Jesse, Averman, Connie and Guy get Goldberg, and finally Charlie, Jesse, Averman, Connie, Guy and Goldberg get Fulton.
- Gordon Bombay’s idea of the Air Bombay loafer (with a pump) for kids who want to coach is the single worst idea ever.
- In the game against Iceland, the announcer says, “Captain Adam Banks has it for Team USA,” contradicting the idea that Charlie is the captain.
- “You lost it for me, Gunner.” … “You lost it for yourself. Let’s go shake their hands.” Great one-two from Iceland coach Wolf “The Dentist” Stanson and his best player, Gunner Stahl.
- During one practice in D3, Averman takes things way too seriously by literally ceasing all movement when Coach Orion screams, “Freeze!” Averman careens into the boards. Great physical comedy. How is it possible that Matt Doherty didn’t go on to have some great movie career post-Ducks? * Checks IMDB * Apparently he was in Argo, uncredited as a butler.
- When the varsity team sticks JV with the bill when they go out to dinner, Goldberg is for some reason more dismayed by the fact that they were called losers than that they owe $857.00 for dinner.
- Fulton’s jersey says “Fulton” on the back, not Reed.
- How in the hell does Eden Hall Academy get Paul Kariya to be the between periods guest for what is essentially an intra-squad game?