Avalanche Slide Past Oilers, Win 3-2 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Avalanche Slide Past Oilers, Win 3-2

I got back from volleyball last night in time to catch all of the first period and haphazard moments of the final 2.2 periods. And what I saw to start the game had me yelling at the TV.

Take the first goal. Peter Budaj kicks out a rebound, Brett Clark falls down and, while sliding, kicks the puck in to the net. Just what in the hell was Clark planning on doing there? I'm assuming he wanted to kick it away from the Oiler forechecker but he could have stayed on his feet and done that. And failing staying on your feet, at least try and aim towards the corner of the rink.

But the main thing that had me shaking my head was Budaj's second effort. To hell with trying to make a picture perfect side-push over, just scramble to stop the f'n puck. Pull a Tim Thomas, I don't care how ugly you think it looks. Keeping the puck out of the goal looks pretty no matter how you do it. I 100% believe that was a stoppable "shot" if Budaj had simply abandoned the fundamentals and remembered that he just need to keep the puck out of the net, not pass a test while doing so.

Transition? To what?
Who is in charge of the Avalanche's transition "strategy"? Because they should be fired immediately with no severance. Plus a kick in the ass on the way out. Early on in the season I bemoaned their "flying I" strategy where they all crowd together in a straight line and try to carry the puck up the ice. It. Doesn't. Work.

It's the same story time and time again. The center gets the puck, crowds over to the right side, the left wing slides over to the right side of center and they make 2-inch passes to each others skates before finally dumping it in. They will then try to forecheck or, if you're Darcy Tucker, peel off at the blueline and look angry at the world.

I was watching the Red Wings play a couple nights ago and they went from the left side of their blueline to the right side of the opposition blueline in one pass. And then they scored. I don't think I've seen the Avalanche do that once this season.

I think the lack of transition is the most frustrating aspect of watching this team. You can tell it pisses off some players too. By the end of the night, John-Michael Liles was just carrying the puck up the ice every time rather than giving it to the forwards so they could screw it up.

In-zone coverage? We're supposed to do that?
Marc Crawford was mentioning - seemingly with glee - that the Avalanche have a "fire drill" defense deep in their own zone. And unfortunately he's 100% accurate.

The biggest reason everybody gets confused is because nobody is simply paying attention to their own assignment and are instead worrying that somebody else is forgetting theirs. Remember kids, the other player's assignments are their responsibility, not yours. Hockey is a team game and it's done by being selfish and worrying about what you're doing, not what your teammates are doing.

Once again, I'm watching a Red Wings game - because I have money on them beating Columbus this afternoon - and their wingers rarely, if ever, go lower than the top of the circle in their own zone. Why? Because they're covering the opposing defensemen - as they should be - and waiting to help break out of the zone. You can't do either if you're past the hashmarks, getting in the way of your own defensemen while trying to "help out"

The urge to do more than you're responsible for is hard to resist, especially when your team is playing sub-par, but you have to fight it. When you start trying to do too much, everybody gets confused. When you concentrate on doing your job right, things often start to fall in to place.

Geez, Nancy. Lighten up on the negativity
At the end of the day, a win's a win and I was happy when Liles put the game winner past Dwayne "Don't touch me!" Roloson but the frustration of being in last place in the West should have these guys playing from the opening bell, not waking up midway through the game.

It's just poor preparation and it has sunk this team.

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