Avalanche Wake Up Too Late Against Capitals - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Avalanche Wake Up Too Late Against Capitals

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
That is if they even woke up at all. This was obviously a tired team playing back-to-back games on the road. No matter how conditioned these athletes are, they're still human.

Of course, that's never an excuse for a poor showing but it does help ease the blow of nearly getting shutout for a second straight game.

And boy was it close. Just 3:21 left before Marek Svatos scored a beauty off a 2-on-1 with Wojtek Wolski to break the shutout bid.

Unfortunately, just 38 seconds before that the Caps had got their second of the night on a 2-on-1 of their own. David Steckel got credit for the goal but it was actually Kyle Cumiskey - the man who created the 2-on-1 - who deflected the goal into his own net past a sliding Theodore.

Sluggish Skaters
The Avalanche looked very sluggish and it obviously got more noticeable as the game went on. The first goal was scored mere seconds after Glen Healey showed a clip of Marek Svatos dogging it on an offensive rush. Sure, there were a few players still giving hell every shift - both named Cody - but for the most part everyone felt a step slow. Cuthbert kept saying the Avalanche were in a "defensive shell" but they just didn't have the energy for offense it seemed.

Theo and the D
The defense and Theodore did a commendable job for the second straight game as they were able to shut down the trio of Ovechkin, Semin and Backstrom. Jordan Leopold played particularly well on D. He did a good job of getting body position and separating players from the puck along the wall.

Theodore made just 21 saves but there were quite a few quality saves to keep the Avalanche in it. In fact I just caught one on the SportsCenter Honour Roll. He's looking more comfortable in net than I can recall in a while.

That confidence might end quickly though if Q decides to switch back to Budaj for the next game. After all, it's been one loss more than he usually waits to swap 'tenders.

Honestly though, it's a tough call as Theodore is playing great hockey but he's not getting any wins. The W is the most important stat and it seems like the team has trouble getting it with Theodore in the net even when he's not giving up softies.

With a 2-day break before the next game, the odds are likely 75% in favor of Theodore starting. I'm taking bets if anyone wants in on it.


The lines were shifted up a bit today as Quenneville tried to spark the slumping Stastny and Hejduk. The duo was split up and Svatos moved up to skate with Stastny and Brunette while Hejduk moved down to play with Hlinka and Wolski.

Brunette looked completely out of place on the top line and Stastny and Svatos never really got any chemistry going. When Wolski and Svatos were on the ice together though, they tended to work well together.

Tyler Arnason skated on the fourth line with Cody McCormick and Kyle Cumiskey and I won't even dignify that line with any comments.

All-Star Game Shootout Contest
I caught this game on TSN - no Mcguire though thank goodness - and they broke the news that the All-Star game will feature a shootout contest. Which of course is exactly where the shootout belongs as Darren Dreger said. However Dreger had some rather dour news that he heard if players don't take this seriously (ie. no lacrosse style goals) the goaltenders union (there's a goaltenders union?) will complain.

Complain about what? It's the All-Star game you prima donna asses! The players absolutely should pull out moves that wouldn't be done during a regular game. This is for fun. It's for the fans. Hell, it's for the kids.

Those goals aren't going to count against your career stats so as I always say: relax, take a deep breath, down a Molson and chill the f' out.

- Wolski continues to be strong on the puck but he's not been as strong on the body as he was in the beginning of the season
- Jeff Finger broke up a sure goal on the first Caps PP as he continues to improve his play
- Bradley fought Finger after Finger "bailed on a play" by "moving out of the way of a player trying to hit him" (what, you're not allowed to move anymore?)
- Q was going with 2 D men on the point during the PP proving that he visits In the Cheap Seats
- Cody McCormick creates so much space on the ice due to his physical play
- Theo made a glove save at one point
- the Avs D got away with 3 notable no-calls (2 on Clark and one on Skrastins)
- the Capitals are much more physical than I expected
- could TSN be more enamored with Mike Green (yes, he's playing unreal but I don't need to be reminded each time he touches the puck)

Related Links
NHL.com Event Summary
ColoradoAvalanche.com Recap
In the Cheap Seats Recap
Japer's Rink Recap
Denver Post Recap