“Change on the Fly,” the 8th episode of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, appropriately describes Alex’s changing attitude as the Don’t Bothers continue their win streak. However, winning comes with a price: the Don’t Bothers are slowly becoming the Mighty Ducks.
NOTE: This review contains minor spoilers.
Episode 8 opens with Nick scoring his first goal, a game-winner that extends the Don’t Bothers’ win streak to three games. While the whole team is happy for Nick, Logan feels sad because he realizes that he is the only player on the team to not score a goal all season. Gordon Bombay offers to help Logan with some one-on-one hockey training.
Sofi’s parents, Amara and Brian, chew Alex’s ear with the latest gossip they’ve heard from the Duck’s parents. Apparently, Stephanie — Alex’s boss and the mother of two Ducks’ players — feels threatened by Alex and the Don’t Bothers. A local TV station also profiles Alex for a news segment about how she started a team that was about “putting fun first” instead of winning at all costs. Alex starts asserting herself at work and as a coach, which causes tension between her, Gordon and the team.
The Don’t Bothers believe their win streak has more to do with a new team ritual they develop — a 12-year-old kid’s answer to the “playoff beard” — than the extra training that Alex is foisting on them. The Don’t Bothers need to win the last six games of the season if they want to make it to the state tournament, and Alex might want that more than the players do.
“Change on the Fly” is a darn-near-perfect episode that features hockey action, humor, hockey action, team bonding, hockey action, and character growth. Oh, and did I mention hockey action? The only drawback to the story is that Alex becomes an overbearing hockey coach a little too quickly — and Sofi frequently reminds us of this in case we don’t pick up on the overhanded cues. Lack of subtlety aside, “Change on the Fly” is the best episode of Game Changers yet.
BONUS: Duck Eggs
Each week, I’ll share a few Easter Eggs, callbacks to the Ducks films, and interesting observations about the episode.
Alex’s full first name is “Alexandra.” And all this time, I assumed it was actually “Alexandria.”
Alex works for the Duckworth Law Firm. If you recall, Mr. Duckworth was the man who first sponsored the District 5 hockey team in the original Mighty Ducks movie, and who the Ducks team is named after.
Koobler, the team goalie, is wearing regular, non-goalie skates, when he’s shown taking his skates off in the locker room.
Evan wears a Minnesota Wild jersey a few times during the episode.
Tibor — the taller of the two Czech brothers who joined the Don’t Bothers in Episode 6 — actually says something in this episode. It was very short and in Czech, but I believe this is the first time one of the Czech kids say something in an episode.
Coach T. points out that the pizza place has a special named “The Mighty Duck.” If you buy a pizza and a salad, you get a free breadstick.
We know the Ice Palace is an old rink, but it may be anywhere from 60 to 100 years old. Hanging in the rafters next to the scoreboard and opposite the U.S. flag is a “Canadian Red Ensign,” which predates the familiar “maple leaf” flag that Canada has used since 1965. However, this particular version of the Red Ensign was used from 1921 to 1957, as it has green maple leaves at the bottom of the coat of arms. The leaves were changed to red in 1957 and then Canada adopted its current flag in 1965. (More about the history of Canada’s flag can be seen here.)
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk. ■