Saturday, October 31, 2009

Jay Onrait Chats with Craig Anderson

Jay Onrait - the funniest man on TSN - just put up a blog post after not writing anything for the last 15 years (give or take a few months). In it, he has a chat with our very own Mr. Anderson.

I don't know when Jay decided to play it straight but I'll take it anyway I can get it. I was going to make joke there but decided I didn't want to touch that. Not even with a ten foot pole...

Anderson Set to Make 15th Straight Start

Wow. Craig Anderson will make his 15th straight start tomorrow against the Vancouver Canucks.

I can only presume that the coaching staff believe the hype behind the wheels coming off for this team and have decided to ride Neo while he is hot. Once our youngsters hit the wall and the losses start piling up, Peter Budaj should see some playing time.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Avalanche vs Sharks - Game Preview

I was off the blogging grid for about a week and it looks like the world kept turning. Who knew!

In the time I've been gone, the Avalanche have continued winning, the bodies on the injured list have continued to pile up and the media (mainstream and otherwise) are looking for the Avs to cool off.

I'll take 2 out of 3 of those any day of the week. The injuries however have got to stop. With the latest news being that T.J. Galiardi is out for 4-6 weeks, the franchise's organizational depth will be tested. Philippe Dupuis has been called up and joins Chris Durno and Brian Willsie from the Monsters roster and press box hound T.J. Hensick finds himself drawing in to the lineup again. Thankfully John-Michael Liles makes his return tonight which should help the powerplay pick up steam.

Though Peter Budaj has recovered from his bout with H1N1, Craig Anderson will make his 14th straight start tonight. I guess coach Sacco felt that with organizational depth being tested, it was best to stick with a hot goaltender. I concur.

As this week has been draining, I'm going to be splayed out on my couch in full relax mode for this one. Enjoy the game everybody. I know I will.

Oh, and Matt Duchene will get goal #2 tonight.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Avalanche 3 - Red Wings 1; Game Thoughts

This morning as soon as I woke up, I said to the gf "Hey, the Avs are tied for 1st in the league" (yes, I said it with a hyperlink). She said "Maybe Sakic was bad luck. Good thing he's gone!" After she cleaned up the glass of water I dumped over her head (kidding...probably), she said "Well what's the difference?"

My answer was simple: goaltending and youth.

Sean at Anyone But Detroit has a good article up this morning about how Craig Anderson might be flirting with greatness. It certainly is all right for Avalanche fans to get excited about Mr. Anderson, especially after a 48 save performance against the Red Wings. Without Anderson, there is no doubt that the Avs would be flirting with .500.

As for youth, well just take a look at the team scoring stats. Ryan O'Reilly is tied for the team lead with Wojtek Wolski and Paul Statsny. So two 23-year old players and an 18-year old rookie are leading the team in scoring. And it's not even the 18-year old we expected to be up there. How's that for surprising?

Game Highlights

I was hosting a UFC party last night but recorded the game and kept up-to-date on it via Twitter. It's not likely I'll watch it as I've got things to do today, but I am curious to check out Anderson's full performance, particularly in the penalty-filled ending of the game. I wonder how many Detroit fans are claiming a conspiracy today after what sounds like a farcical amount of penalty calls against the Avs?

Next game

The Avalanche head out on another road trip, this one for a mere four games. However, three of those four games are against division rivals in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. Stay excited folks, it could end any given Sundaymoment.

Related Links

Dear Excluding Zetterberg
It's all about Andy
The after party

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Darcy Tucker likely out 10 days

Darren Dreger just sent a tweet that Darcy Tucker received 40 stitches after hitting his head on the ice and will likely be out for 10 days.

That's a lot of stitches but it's good that he is already out of the hospital after being patched up.

10 days of time would mean he could be back for the Nov 4th game against the Avalanche. There are 5 games between that time, including tonight's tilt against the Red Wings (Hey Ozzy, make sure to be in Coyotes form again tonight, eh)

Puck Daddy has a post up asking if the suspension to Ruutu was enough. So far, most people are saying it sounds about right. I would have preferred a stiffer sentence but it's better than just sitting out a token game.

Tuomo Ruutu Suspended Three Games for Hit on Darcy Tucker; Willsie Recalled

Tuomo Ruutu has received a three-game suspension for his hit on Darcy Tucker last night. Good. I don't know if I have to add anything more beyond my rant last night, but hopefully Ruutu never does this again to another player.

Tucker is out of the hospital and Brian Willsie has been recalled from Lake Erie. I think we'll see T.J. Hensick in the lineup tonight as opposed to Willsie but I think everyone is more curious if Craig Anderson will get the back-to-back starts.

A few folks felt Tyler Weiman should have got the call last night against the Hurricanes, saving Anderson for tonights game against the Wings. But maybe Budaj is feeling better today and Joe Sacco wants to toss him into the deep end.

EDIT: AD got the question answered right after practice. Anderson gets the call again tonight.

I don't mind that decision. It's still early in the season and there will be plenty of time for Budaj to give Anderson some rest. I do like Weiman but I'm not sure I want to see him put up against the Wings, even if they are struggling right now.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Avalanche 5 - Hurricanes 4; Game Highlights

A couple weeks back, I was covering a World Junior announcement regarding ticket packages at TCU Place in Saskatoon. While I was there, I decided to pick up a couple tickets to A Chorus Line. I'm not a big fan of musicals but it's a pretty famous one and I thought it would be a good way to score some points with the lady friend.

"What day?", the ticket agent asked. "How about Friday?", I said, thinking that way I could get it out of the way and enjoy the weekend. Of course, I forgot to check the Avs schedule and I was left taping the game for later viewing.

And view it I did. Most times when I record a game, I fast-forward through a lot, only checking out goals or big hits. This time, I skipped through commercial breaks and intermissions but didn't touch the remote while play was underway.

When you think about it, it's not hard to understand why I would be willing to sit through a whole game even though the outcome was already decided. This team is simply fun and exciting to watch. 2-0 deficit? No problem, I'll keep watching.

And as Peter Mcnab said, any fans at that game will be coming back to the next one. And hopefully they bring their friends because my goodness there were a lot of empty seats.

Game highlights

Did anybody have any doubt once the first Avalanche goal went in that this game was about to be tied real quick?

The Avalanche continue to have trouble clearing pucks. It was a bad decision on a clearing opportunity by David Jones that led to Carolina's third goal. They need to solve this problem.

With John-Michael Liles still injured, the Avs tried Milan Hejduk out on the point on the powerplay. The first shift, it did not go so well. But after that, things settled down and Hejduk ended up scoring a beauty of a goal after sneaking in from the left side. I'm still not a huge fan of putting a forward on the point but their options are limited with Liles out of the lineup.

After Darcy Tucker was injured - oh don't worry, I'll get to that - the lines were shuffled around a bit to fill in the gap. But the overall combos felt very solid tonight. Marek Svatos is not a first line talent but moving Milan Hejduk down to play with Matt Duchene was a solid move. Hejduk and Paul Stastny still have more chemistry than Duchene and Hejduk but it was nice to see Duchene with someone who can move the puck with him rather than seeing Duchene try to do it all himself.

Oh, and the Canes first two goals? From the left side D-men? Maybe somebody could cover that spot in the future, mkay?

Player Highlights

Paul Stastny had what could be his breakout game for this season. Two goals and one assist along with an excellent defensive showing has me hopeful that he's picked up the pace on what was a bit of a lackluster start for Staz.

Wojtek Wolski has appeared again now that the team is back on home ice. Maybe he gets lonely on the road but home ice advantage really seems to help out Wolski's game. He played on the third line with Ryan O'Reilly and Chris Stewart and I thought that was a solid combo.

And speaking of Chris Stewart, after being sent down to Lake Erie he was called right back up - notably skipping above T.J. Hensick - and put in a good showing on the night. I still wouldn't call it great, even though he did assist on two goals and had five shots. I still expect more out of Stewart and find he isn't strong on his skates and isn't throwing his body around with as much conviction as he can.

Matt Duchene has started firing the puck with a much more relaxed release. He got off eight shots on the night, four of which were on goal. While some are undoubtedly disappointed he only has one goal, it's not for lack of trying.

Ryan O'Reilly really doesn't even need explanation anymore. There is no doubt that he is the steal of the 2009 draft at this point. 10 games, two goals, seven assists. He played for 19 minutes tonight which is a new career high. It was nice to see him get some powerplay time as he's certainly earned it.

Ryan Wilson could be making Brett Clark expendable. Once John-Michael Liles is back, I wouldn't mind seeing Wilson stay up with the club and have Clark watch from the press box.

The Darcy Tucker injury

Cover your ears, kids as this one won't be pretty.

There is absolutely no f'n room in hockey for bullshit hits like the one Tuomo Ruutu put on Darcy Tucker tonight. I don't care that Ruutu is not a dirty or overly aggressive player or that he didn't mean to hurt him. I don't care if he was sainted by JC himself, it's a complete brainfart of a move and Ruutu deserves a suspension and fine to prevent his brain from farting again.

The concept is so braindead simple that I could teach it to a monkey in about 20 minutes. IF YOU SEE THE NUMBERS, YOU DO NOT HIT THAT PLAYER. No exceptions. No "Oh, he turned his back to me." No "I thought he was turning into it." No "The game is so fast it was just a 'bang-bang' play". Bullshit. Those are all excuses that players use because they couldn't pull their head out of their ass.

It happened to me once and I still feel the effects to this day and I'm one of the lucky ones. Others have suffered serious injuries including broken necks and paralysis due to completely avoidable hits. Are we really waiting for a poster child from the NHL to be paralyzed before people start raising hell about this problem? Won't somebody think of the children?

And I'm serious about the children. To get this completely out of the game, you have to start at the lowest level and drill it into their heads from day one. Coaches teach kids to "finish their man", which is great and I 100% agree with that, but it has to be tempered with the caution that you never finish a player who has their back to you.

If a player turns and gives up their back, you let up. I don't care what sort of insults you hurl at the player who pulled a coward move like that, but it can not be an excuse for delivering a hit from behind. Do you really want to be the person who injures someone because your coach will yell at you if you don't?

While watching Team Canada's U20 squad practice in Saskatoon over the summer, I noticed they all had "STOP" signs on the backs of their jerseys. Maybe that needs to be there from day one all the way through to the show.

Related Links Game Summary
Update on Tucker from AD
MHH Recap
Video and thoughts from Puck Daddy on Ruuto hit on Tucker

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Matt Duchene Staying with the Avalanche

I don't think anyone will be surprised by the news that Matt Duchene is with the Colorado Avalanche for the season.

And I'm not even surprised that Jori scooped everybody on this one and had the news up on her site before any other Avs related coverage did.

She also found an article hinting that O'Reilly is staying with the team for the season. That would have been surprising at the start of the season, not so much after seeing his play through 8 games.

So two 18-year olds, one 21-year old and one 23-year old will patrol the middle for the Avs. Youth, enthusiasm and skill. I'm loving this season so far.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Avalanche 4 - Red Wings 3; Game Highlights

That ending was so unexpected and yet so damn heartwarming. It was like a cheesy Hollywood movie but it's one I could get behind. After falling behind 2-0 and being absolutely dominated in the first two periods, the Avalanche came out in the third, tied it up, fell behind again, tied it up one more time and won it in the shootout.


Cody Mcleod and Ryan O'Reilly are going to stick on a line for a while with the chemistry they showed tonight. Cody Mac had 2 goals + a fight against Brad May while Ryan O'Reilly had 2 assists including a sweet, sweet feed to Mcleod for the second tying goal.

There is no way O'Reilly is going back to juniors. Good news for Avalanche fans, bad news for Team Canada's junior squad.

TJ Galiardi was aching to make himself the next healthy scratch after a weak performance today. He turned it up a bit in the final two minutes but that's nowhere near good enough. His only saving grace will be that the entire team stunk it up in the first two periods.

Wojtek Wolski was planted on the bench in the 3rd period and only had four shifts in the 2nd. He is on a really short leash with Joe Sacco this year. While I'm all for sending messages, it's tough to send a message to just one player on a night like tonight.

Milan Hejduk still has some sick, sick hands. He was smooth as silk out there today and had some moves that made Detroit defenders look silly.

Craig Anderson made some stellar saves in the third period to keep the team in it and if it wasn't for him, the Avs would have been heading into the third down 10-0.

And finally, Matt Duchene got his first goal of the season. It was so quick that it took a second to register. He flew down what would be his off wing and sniped a wrist shot to the top corner, making Chris Osgood look silly, though not as silly as he looked in the shootout. Hopefully with that monkey off his back, Duchene will open up and start potting more of his opportunities. Lord knows he's had enough of them.

Suck it, Wings.

Avs 3 Stars

1) Cody Mcleod
2) Ryan O'Reilly
3) Matt Duchene

Highlight Video

Poll time

Related Links Game Summary
Paul Stastny - "We're just four lines playing with confidence"

Quincey Cup Snub Brings Out the Sniveling

Kyle Quincey is a little bothered that the Detroit Red Wings voted and said he wouldn't get his name on the '08 Stanley Cup. Red Wings fans are annoyed that Quincey is bothered. Quincey is now a member of the Colorado Avalanche. Perfect.

Wings fans are saying it's a joke that Quincey is making an issue of this and that he's nothing but a "biotch". Talk about a fanbase just aching to have somebody to deride. The Wings do good? Poke fun at other teams and players. The Wings do bad? Poke fun at other teams and players. Talk about a joke.

Quincey said:

"It bothers me a little that I didn't get a ring. That's kind of a gray area, and they decided not to give us one. That's their decision," Quincey said. "It just drives me more and more to have an opportunity to get one with this team."

Yeah, what a whiny little bastard. A sniveling coward. A pussy. Wimp. Biotch.

Of course, they never commented on what Quincey said about his time in Detroit:
"I was very privileged to be there and being able to learn so much from so many legendary players,"

Yeah, what a terrible excuse of a player.

You know what, Wings fans? STFU and cheer on your team. It's what real fans do.

Avalanche @ Red Wings; Game Preview

The first place Colorado Avalanche head to Detroit to take on the 11th place Red Wings tonight. I got joy out of writing that sentence. First place. 11th place. Mmmm...tasty.

Tonight will be the penultimate game of the Avs seven-game road trip which has seen them capture seven of a possible 10 points so far. I think that's far beyond what anybody's expectation of this trip would be so the only thing the Avalanche can do now is color us even more surprised.


Chris Stewart and TJ Hensick have been the scratches recently and I don't see a need to inject one of them in the lineup at this point.

John-Michael Liles is still out so Ryan Wilson will draw in again. Wilson looked solid in his debut against the Canadiens on a pairing with Brett Clark.

Kyle Cumiskey slotted up to take Liles spot on the pairing with Foote against Montreal and will likely do so again today as he had his best game of the season on Thursday.

Johan Franzen is out of the Wings lineup for a few months after undergoing knee surgery while Pavel Datsyuk is sitting out this game as well. As much as I enjoy watching Datsyuk play, I'm more than happy to see him in the press box tonight.

Our old pal Brad May will be in the lineup tonight for the Wings and already fans are predicting a David Koci-May square off. Dario is taking it up a notch and hoping for an Adam Foote-Todd Bertuzzi showdown. Hard to argue with that.


Craig Anderson gets his eight straight start and there is absolutely no way you can argue that call. Anderson has been lights out this season and has fans, coaches and players alike marveling at a world without goaltending worries.

Time for the first?

Ryan O'Reilly got his on Thursday. Will Matt Duchene get his tonight? Wouldn't it be poetic for the Avs great white hope to score his first goal against the Wings? We all know it's only a matter of time but could time run a bit quicker, maybe?

At least he's enjoying the travel in the meantime.

Game time

The puck drops at 7:08 ET. This is a can't miss so put away whatever else you had planned and settle down in front of the TV or computer.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Avalanche 3 - Montreal 2; Game Highlights

No, O'Reilly!

I'm late to the party so hopefully nobody has used that one yet.

A few thoughts:

Montreal's second goal should have been blown dead. The Avalanche's third goal should have seen a penalty on Cody Mcleod. The Canadiens had seven players on the ice in the final seconds of the game. They got more breaks, the Avs still won. Suck it.

You know everyone has confidence in a goaltender when Craig Anderson makes a huge save and Mike Haynes doesn't even mention it. Last year? "HUGE SAVE BY BUDAJ! WOW! DID YOU SEE THAT, PETER? AMAZING!" Now? Business as usual.

I should be back in full force after a week off due to unfortunate circumstances so be prepared for some gloating after the victory over the Wings tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Here comes the MSM

Pierre Lebrun and the rest of the media have started to notice the Avalanche.

You can't blame them as the Avs sit atop the Western conference, but this attention is not good karma. Let's hope the Avs can fight past some upcoming media hype

Avalanche 4 - Leafs 1; Game Highlights

The Canadian Press

I've got to make this quick but I had to get out a few thoughts.

Cody Mcleod's penalty was not a weak call, it was a 100% illegal hit. See the numbers? Don't hit. Simple.

The hit that took out John-Michael Liles was a very similar play and is the reason the boarding penalty is in place. A push/hit at that distance from the boards is very dangerous and if anybody feels otherwise, ask Liles' separate shoulder and see what it tells you.

Jeff Marek nailed it on his twitter last night - Ian White starts in net Saturday for Ron Wilson.

And it was White who denied me going 2-for-2 on predictions last night. Matt Duchene had his first goal looking him in the face while family, friends and former coaches looked on but White made a huge save to put that milestone off for at least one more game.

When the Avalanche signed Darcy Tucker, I had very mixed feelings but mostly on the negative side. He's wiping a few of those away with his points but I still can't help myself...I'm just not a big fan of the guy.

David Jones keeps pushing for his 30-goal season. I was all over this guy as soon as he came in during 07/08 and it looks like this could be his season.

Adam Foote may be slow, but he's still one strong SOB.

The Avalanche will have two 18-year old centers on their roster for the full season.

Oh, and the Avs are first in the West. In case anyone was curious.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Avalanche vs Leafs, Game Preview

The Colorado Avalanche (3-1-1) head to the ACC for part three of their seven part road trip to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs (0-4-1) tonight at 7:30pm ET.

This season has been going better than most Avalanche fans expected and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't expecting a win out of this game. I generally subscribe to the "the more things stay the same, the more likely they are to change" philosophy but I can't see the Leafs pulling it together after a blowout yesterday against the Rangers.

The opposition

The Leafs have yet to get one in the W column this season and I can't tell you how funny I find that. After Brian Burke was once again fellated by the media - or was that just TSN? - for his off-season signings and "toughening up" of the team, it appears the "Genius at work" sign outside Burke's office might need to be taken down.

It's all well and good to build a team that's tough to play against, but there's tough to play against and there's annoying to play against. The Leafs are simply an annoyance at the moment. The only credible threat they display is violence and it's frankly not all that credible.

They're like the bully who picks on people because they suck at everything else in life. It's not scary, it's just sad.

Backup duel?

Most people are expecting to see Peter Budaj's first appearance for the 09/10 season tonight and it would make sense. Back-to-back games heading into a weaker opponent is generally the equation for when to bring a backup in. But given how early it is in the season, Anderson getting the nod wouldn't be terribly shocking or anything to stir significant analysis.

On the Leafs side, they'll be starting Joey Macdonald after prize signing, Jonas Gustavsson, headed onto the IR and prized whipping boy, Vesa Toskala, taking the "do what he does" advice from goaltending coach Francoise Allaire to heart, ended up injuring himself as well.

But don't get too cocky as Joey Mac is the guy that helped hold the Islanders together after Rick Dipietro hurt himself...again. His stats belie the performances he put in with that squad last year.

David Jones returns, and it was good

David Jones made his return yesterday afternoon against the Bruins and Chris Stewart was the odd man out. It was a good, albeit obvious call, by coach Joe Sacco. Jones rewarded the move with a shorthanded goal plus an assist. That should easily put him on a pace to eclipse that 30-goal mark, eh?

Chris Stewart struggles

I'm not sure what is causing Stewart's early struggles but Sacco has a good comment in the latest DP column:
"We're OK; we'll work with him. He's a young player, and he kind of needs to find his niche again on our team. He'll be fine. We'll get him back in the lineup soon."

That's exactly the sort of comment a young player needs to hear. It's not heaped all on him to get better, the coaching staff is taking on the challenge as well. Who knew you couldn't just say "He needs to find his game" and hope it would magically get better?

Is tonight the night?

I think it's time for Matt Duchene to get his first goal and I think tonight is the night. The conditions are ripe for the picking and hopefully Duchene can get that monkey off his back. Hopefully I don't pull something when it happens.


I can't see the lineup changing from last game. With Jones' display and the need for David Koci in the lineup, it would be hard to find a slot for Hensick or Stewart to slide in. Another big body like Stewart would be nice but his less-than-inspired play leaves me thinking he would subtract more than he would add.

And if anyone suggests pulling Marek Svatos out, well it's pretty tough to do that when he's scoring goals. He's not gelling with Matt Duchene well and that's unfortunate - as is thinking Darcy Tucker would work better on his LW - but there are other options to deal with that issue.

Ryan Wilson was called up due to Ruslan Salei being placed on the IR but I'm not holding my breath to see him in action. If he were to slot in for anyone, it would most likely be Brett Clark, though that would leave an under-experienced 3rd pairing of Kyle Cumiskey and Wilson, or the unnecessary shifting of Foote or Liles "down" to the 3rd line.

Game time

The puck drops at 7:38pm ET and there is a bit of confusion on where to watch the game. It's listed as being on RIS and Leafs TV but there is no mention of an Altitude feed. "Center Ice to the rescue!", right? Apparently not as nobody can find it in their listings. I see it in ExpressVu's listings down here on the farm but if anybody figures out what's happening on the US side, I'd be interested to hear it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Game 5 Highlights: Avalanche vs Bruins

WTMF? Here I was relaxing at home, eating some sweet potato fries and turkey and while I was doing that, the Avalanche were busy beating the Boston Bruins.

I was able to tune in to the last five minutes on Center Ice and will likely check out most of the game via GameCenter Live. But first, a few thoughts in my limited viewing.

The Avalanche still cannot clear the zone, even if death were on their tail. In the last five minutes of the game, the puck was in their zone for four and a half minutes. Of course, that was skewed by a terrible call on Paul Stastny for "interference", but still. I don't know why it's such a trouble spot for this team but hopefully Sacco turns that around real quick.

Chris Stewart sat today with David Jones' return and that was 100% the right call. Stewart has been less than mediocre this season after a great run to finish up last season.

Milan Lucic buys into his own hype just a little too much.

More to come. Or I'll grab a nap and miss the replay too.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Game 4 Preview: Avalanche vs Blackhawks

The Colorado Avalanche continue their seven game road trip tonight with a game against 20-cent and his Chicago Blackhawks. Unlike the last game against Nashville, I'll be able to watch this one in HD. It's amazing what an HD-snob I've become. I recently downgraded my cable package to drop non-HD channels because every time I tuned in to them, I got annoyed that they weren't in HD. And hey, I'll save myself $30/month whichs sounds like the amount of money you need for a trip to Vegas! The flight + hotel part, that is. I can't be held accountable for the rest of the money I might spend (lose) there.

So now that you know even more about me, how about I get back to the hockey talk, eh?

Last two games

I haven't provided a full recap of the last two games but they weren't terribly impressive. Those last two games felt more like the Avalanche I expected. Some defensive gaffes, some blown leads and some exciting play from Matt Duchene.

Seriously, what does the kid have to do to get himself a goal? I'm worried that all these close chances are going to frustrate him, leading to more missed chances. Hopefully he's getting some good psych counselling in the locker room!

Last game against Nashville saw T.J. Hensick and Ruslan Salei draw in the lineup at the expense of David Koci and Brett Clark respectively. With Jordin Tootoo out of the lineup for the Preds, it was an easy choice for Joe Sacco to give Hensick some ice time. As for Salei, it was likely an attempt to figure which of the overpaid third-line defensemen were more valuable to the team. I'd say Clark is winning so far after a rusty performance by ol' Rusty.

Hensick surprised me with his speed and physical play. Could it be that coach Sacco is instilling a sense of work ethic in a player who was labelled as "Arnason 2.0"?

In the end, there's nothing to be disappointed about by this team starting 2-1-0 with 10 goals for and 5 goals against. Even with a blown lead against Nashville, Sacco is ensuring the team will learn from their mistakes. And that's the number one thing for a squad like this to do.

This game

I haven't given this game much thought as I had some bad news on Friday which took up most of my brain power. Well that and me deciding to re-read the whole Final Crisis series today to take my mind off things. Yes, that includes all the direct and indirect tie-ins. And in case you were curious, it's much better the second time around.

So tonight, I'm going to sit back, relax and enjoy an Avalanche win. That's right, I'm calling it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Red Wings Sign Brad May

The Detroit Red Wings have signed Brad May. He'll go along nicely with their offseason booby prize of Todd Bertuzzi. In Holland do they still trust?

I don't care that it's "only" $500K, it's still $500K that they could have spent on someone other than Brad friggin' May.

Honestly, what will Brad May bring to this team other than more hatred from Avalanche fans? It's almost like the Wings are accepting all the punditry that has them falling off this year and are doing their best to cede to the predictions.

Or maybe Holland retired unceremoniously and Brian Burke has taken a second job.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Craig Anderson Named NHL's Second Star of the Week

Craig Anderson has been named the second star of the week by the NHL, bested only by Alexander Ovechkin and his 6 points in 2 games.

Mr. Anderson has started his Avalanche career with a 2-0-0 record, a 1.00 GAA and .973 save percentage. All that for the low, low price of $1.5M for the year.

Well done, Mr. Anderson and well done Greg Sherman for snagging this guy.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Game 2 Highlights: Avalanche 3 - Canucks 0

Mr. Anderson. You're going to help us, whether you want to...or not.


Craig Anderson helped the Avalanche to their second straight win to start the season and he did it in style, out-dueling Roberto Luongo and shutting out the Vancouver Canucks. I wouldn't say he stole the game, but he was the main factor. Is it too soon to say our goaltending prayers have been answered?

Matt Duchene is only 2 games old and already is due for a goal. He has had no less than half a dozen great scoring chances over his first two games and we're all eager to blow the roof off when he does. If he keeps skating, backchecking, forechecking and deking the way he has, we won't have to wait for long.

Wojtek Wolski might be in the early throes of his breakout season. Finally.

Chris Stewart is looking uninspired and considering how big he is, he's knocked off the puck too often. Maybe a Red Bull before the game?

Kyle Cumiskey was moving the puck much better today. He's still making mistakes, but appears to be settling down.

AD twitted that press box whispers had Liles moving to Montreal. It makes sense for Montreal, but does it make sense for the Avalanche?

Can I get a d-man covered by a winger? Can I? Not yet, apparently. But I'll keep trying.

2-0 and on top of the Western Conference. Who'd a thunk it?

Hopefully back with a full recap later.

Game 2 Preview: Avalanche vs Canucks

(Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood / Getty Images)
Skyrockets in flight....peeewwww....afternoon delight. That's right, it's an afternoon game today as the Colorado Avalanche take on the Vancouver Canucks at 3:00pm ET.

It's also the last home game before the Avs embark on a 7-game road trip that will test their testicular fortitude pretty early in the season.

If they want to head out on a good note, what better way than to beat
Bobba Lu and the Canucks and still be home in time for supper?

Last game

The ceremony brought tears to everyone's eye's, the puck dropped and the Avalanche walked away with a "W". I expected the first two but not the last one. I'm not sure anybody expected the last one. The team was fast, energetic and had a will to win. Sure, they coughed up 19 shots against in the third period but those first two periods were lights out. If they keep playing with that energy, it's going to be a fun season.

The forwards

We finally got to watch the up-tempo play we were promised last season and it was about darn time! Fast breaks, crashing the net, utilizing the entire offensive zone to cycle rather than just below the goal line. Be still my beating heart.

The players have bought in to Sacco's system right from the start so there will be no struggles to identify roles. Everybody knows what they have to do and appear willing to do it. If the first game is any indication - and let's be honest, it often isn't - the Sacco hiring was a good one.

The one thing I still want the wingers to do is cover their defenseman better. Wingers have a tough assignment in the defensive zone in that they have to be ready to receive the first breakout pass, but also have to watch that the opposing D aren't getting free for point shots. Last season, I harped on it a lot. Last game, the D were still too open for my liking.

The defense

Ryan who? Kyle Quincey seems to have eliminated any doubts anyone - including myself - had about the Ryan Smyth trade. I know Detroit is deep on the blue line but how did they let this guy slip through waivers?

The first two defensive lines were solid Thursday but the third pairing of Brett Clark and Kyle Cumiskey was questionable. Cumiskey seems to be having trouble making puck decisions and ends up holding it too long, which led to San Jose's first goal Thursday night. And everyone's favorite overpaid D, Clark, continues to play a perimeter game and constantly looks to block shots as opposed to stopping players from shooting.

I'm curious is Sacco will swap out Clark for Salei today, showing that vets have to pull their weight too, or if Cumiskey will sit showing that rookies are held to the same standard as the vets. From what I understand of Sacco, he'll give Cumiskey some more rope before tying him to the press box.

The goaltending

How pleasant was it to not cringe/cross your fingers/pray to vishnu/cover your eyes on a shot from beyond the hashmarks? Or on a scramble in front? I found myself very confident with Craig Anderson between the pipes.

Anderson stopped all 19 shots he faced in the third, earning chants of "Anderson" from the Pepsi Center faithful, to pick up his first win in the burgundy sweater. I like Anderson's style as he looks like he's willing to do whatever it takes to make a save. And it looks like this team might need a lot of them.

The lines

With Ruslan Salei and TJ Hensick as healthy scratches, coach Joe Sacco went with the following lines:



It's tough to say if Sacco will try and inject Hensick into the lineup and if so, who would come out. Although he played well on Thursday night, it's entirely possible that Ryan O'Reilly will sit this one out to let Hensick work his stuff. Whatever that may be.

The return of howler

Howler is coming home! At least, I hope he is. The Avalanche said they were bringing back a mascot this season and they currently have a teaser splash page up on their site with a silhouette that looks an awful lot like a comical yeti. Anything less than Howler will bring out two thumbs down from this guy.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Game 1 Highlights: Avalanche 5 - Sharks 2

I'll try and get up an actual post tomorrow, but for now here are some quick hits.

Sakic ceremony had me pinch out a couple tears, particularly the locker stall enshrinement. Well done by the organization.

Matt Duchene is ffffffast, but he needs to strengthen up to fight in front of the net and along the boards better.

Wolski looks awake more so than in previous years. I'm liking it.

Who figured "crash the net" could be sound strategy? I was almost getting to like the cycle-but-don't-score strategy.

Galiardi was out a lot on the PK, the most of any forward by far. Sacco is showing confidence in the kids and I'm liking that, too.

Seeing Kyle Quincey play makes me feel much better about the Ryan Smyth trade. Dude was a beast! Ice-time is indicating #1 d-man status and he deserved it.

Was anybody else reminded of this goal on Cody Mac's goal off the rebound from Stewie?

Stastny pulled a Forsberg with his behind-the-back from behind the net out to Wolski. I was getting reminded of a lot of things tonight it seems.

Ryan O'Reilly got his first NHL point before Matt Duchene did. Oh snap!

And hey, Craig Anderson didn't let in any weak goals! Huzzah!

Check out the game highlights below from

Why stop there?

The city of Denver renamed 19th street to Joe Sakic Way, for the next 19 days. Cute but why stop there?

Make it permanent, Denver. Joe deserves it.

Joe Sakic Jersey Retirement Ceremony; Live on

We're less than an hour away from Joe Sakic's jersey retirement and doesn't it just feel so...mop? (Sorry, Scrubs reference)

I'm not really sad though, to be honest. I've come to terms with Sakic not being on the ice for the Avalanche ever again. But I'm excited to see how they honor what is undoubtedly one of the legends of the game. Will there be a long video montage? Will Ray Bourque make a surprise appearance? What will his former teammates say about him (if anything)?

That being said, it could just be me trying to "be a guy" about the situation. Once the ceremony starts, I could go fetal. And that's what is so exciting about it!

Online Viewing
The ceremony will be picked up live on which I think is a smart move on their part. Everybody will want to see this, Avs fan or not and with the back-to-back games on Versus, it's unlikely the feed would switch over before the previous game is done. So thank you, NHL, for realizing what the Internet is meant to do.

Online Archive

The video is now up at I've embedded it below for your viewing pleasure.