Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Will Ryan Smyth be Traded by Colorado?

No.

That is all.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

John-Michael Liles Out Indefinitely

Frickity frack.

John Liles hurt his hand against the Red Wings and is now out indefinitely.

Foote comes back, Stastny slated to return, fans getting hopes up and then *BOOM*, we lose our supermodel and top defenseman.

At least it wasn't another snowblowing debacle.

And hey, at least Darcy Tucker won't be in the lineup tonight.

Sigh.

Tony Granato expects Liles back at the end of the upcoming six-game roadtrip. So we'll see him on the ice sometimes in December.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Finally! Paul Stastny has come back...to the Avalanche

Paul Stastny will join the Avalanche on their upcoming six-game road trip. And there'd be no reason to bring him along unless he was going to play in at least one of those games.

He skated for a full practice today and centered a line with Ryan Smyth on the left and T.J. Hensick on the right.

So The Duke will likely stick with Wolski and I wouldn't be surprised to see Chris Stewart on that line.

These line changes won't matter for tomorrow's game against the Ottawa Senators as Granato said Stastny is not scheduled to suit up.

But it will sure be nice to see Stastny back on the ice forming a 1-2 punch up the middle with Wolski.

Time to check out the future, folks.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Avalanche Take Season Series Against Red Wings, Win 6-5


(AP)
Damn, that felt good!

The Avalanche took down the Winged Wheel by a score of 6-5 in a game that needed 5 shootout rounds to decide the winner.

For those counting, that's 3-0 against the Evil Empire this season. Yep, the team sitting last in the Western Conference was able to take down one of the best teams in the league three out of three times and has officially taken the season series regardless of what goes down on March 4th.

Ain't that just a kick in the pants?

Recap
Ian Laperriere scored just 16 seconds into the first period and Wings and Avs fans alike were shocked. If anyone would score first, you'd think it would be the Wings loaded offense against a 3.00+ GAA goaltender in Andrew Raycroft.

The remainder of the first period was fairly sloppy. Nearly as sloppy as Chris Osgood's puck handling abilities. The Avalanche killed off the first of their three 5-on-3 situations - conspiracy my ass, Wings fans - and headed in to the locker room with a 1-0 lead.

The second period opened with the Lappy line and once again, they didn't disappoint. They pushed the puck deep into the Wings zone and then Laperriere got in front of Osgood to help create havoc in front of him, allowing a Ruslan Salei point shot to find the twine.

2-0 and the feelings of "Is this real life?" were starting to kick in.

The question was quickly answered with four penalties, two 5-on-3 sequences and two Red Wings PP goals in the span of 2 1/2 minutes. Tack on a beauty Marian Hossa goal at 8:58 and real life was rearing its ugly head with a 3-2 Wings lead.

Then the third period started and everyone was thinking "It can't happen again." But happen it did. Andreas Lilja took a penalty just nine seconds into the period which ended at the 1:01 mark when Marek Svatos got a stick on a Wojtek Wolski shot to even things up at 3-3.

Marian Hossa put the Wings up 4-3, Ben Guite tied it up. Jiri Hudler put the Wings up 5-4, Milan Hejduk tied it up. Who would have thought the Avs would have the gumption to keep battling back against the Wings?

The Avalanche held off a late onslaught from the Wings to take it to OT. An OT which proved fairly uneventful so it was off to a shootout.

I won't detail all the shooters since it went five rounds, but suffice to say that Wolski is still money and when Leopold scored to end it, I leaped out of my chair with more joy than should be afforded to simply cheering for the winning team in a sporting event.

Tonight, I'm going to revel in the honeymoon phase of this win. Because when I wake up tomorrow, it will be to a bleak, uncertain future.

Boo-ya!

(AP)

Random Thoughts
The Avalanche still get undisciplined when caught for an extended time in their own zone. The wingers leaving their d-men to go "help out" leaves a wide-open cycle game for the opposition.

The Hossa or Franzen question should be answered by now. If it has to be one, it has to be Hossa.

The Wings announcers were bemoaning the "bounces not going their way" early in the first period. I guess it's not just Granato. It's merely a common refrain from the losing team.

But hey, what can you expect from an announcing squad who sound like they're on downers all game long? Here's some gems:

"Probably a hold on Colorado." - Nope, Interference on the Wings.
"It's a 2-2 tie." - Nope, it was 3-2 at that point
"Wings have three games in hand on the Sharks." - Nope, Sharks have three in hand on the Wings.

Please, please, please let me have the Altidudes next game. At least they have energy and factual statements.

The conspiracy theories should be able to be put to bed after Mikael Samuellson jumped on Ben Guite, ground his face into the ice, then popped up scot-free to help create a screen on the 5-4 goal. If that one had stood up to be the winner, I would have been pissed. But I wouldn't have blamed Bettman.

But hey, Ruslan Salei got away with a high stick in the final minutes so...conspiracy back on!

Line of the night
Ian Laperriere, CodyMcCormick and Ben Guite were the line of the night tonight. Granato wisely opened the first two periods with that crew and they rewarded him both times with early goals.

Not content with just scoresheet contributions, they drew a penalty which led to the Avs third goal and were busting their asses all night.

If Giguere wants to trade Lappy, I won't be happy unless a first-rounder comes over to the Avs.

And I would guess Guite didn't appreciate being benched in favor of players like Darcy Tucker and Tyler Arnason. Hopefully he's shown Granato that he should stay in the lineup.

Goaltender of the night
No question here, Andrew Raycroft gets the nod with a 40-save performance. But it's not like Chris Osgood gave him any competition with his own 23-save performance.

I still find Andrew Raycroft overplays a lot of shots but who am I to complain when he gets the job done?

On conspiracies and injuries
You know what, I'll just let the headline speak for itself.

Related Links
NHL.com Event Summary
Avs beat Red Wings, again

Avalanche @ Red Wings Game Preview

So close.

The Avalanche took it to the Canadiens on Friday but with under five minutes remaining, the Avs did what they do best - give up a goal at the most inopportune moment.

The worst part? I knew it was coming. Literally seconds before the go-ahead goal was scored, I said "Colorado is notorious for giving up a late goal." And sure as hell, they make me look like a genius. So sad but it is the story of the season for this squad.

Odds are...
Today, they take on the Detroit Red Wings at a sold out (?!?!) Joe Louis Arena. What are the odds that the Avalanche can again take down their nemesis? The bookmakers have it at greater than 3-to-1 odds that the Avs will lose. Ouch. It's not often you see odds that high.

But can you blame them? There's obviously no way to know the outcome of a game for certain (that's why it's called gambling) but how can anyone truly believe the Avs will beat the Wings today?

Foote back
The Avs did get a spot of good news recently. Not only will Adam Foote be back in the lineup today but Paul Stastny has been spotted on the ice (in the Notes section). Too little, too late but it will still be nice to see Stastny back in the lineup.

Take it to the bank
There are two things to know for certain if the Avalanche come out ahead today: 1) the season is still over; 2) Red Wings fans will blame Gary Bettman.

Game time
The game is a mid-afternoon game, starting at 5:00pm ET, 3:00pm MT. I'll be getting the Altitude feed though since it's an away game, it won't be in hi-def.

Normally I'm ticked at not getting an HD feed but this time, I'm relieved. Why? Because I watched most of the Columbus-Detroit game Friday on the local feed and do you know who's whinier than Wings fans? Wings announcers.

Related Links
Avalanche-Red Wings Game Notes
Avalanche-Red Wings Game Preview