Sunday, February 11, 2007

Post-game vs Dallas - Feb 11, 2007

Well that was a ridiculous game. If you weren't a fan of the Avalanche and weren't watching them slowly let the playoffs slip out of reach...then you might have actually enjoyed watching this one. As it stands, I was left to comment, on more than one occasion: "What the hell is going on in this game?". It was a wild affair that saw Dallas survive with a 7-5 win after nearly giving up the lead on 2 separate occasions.

The Stars flew out to a 3-0 lead before the Avalanche tied it up with under a minute left in the first. You'd think that would be the kind of play to send you to the dressing room and come out firing in the 2nd. Not if you're the Avalanche. Just over 3 minutes in to the second they went up 4-1 and that ended Peter Budaj's night as Quenneville tried to shake up the team. It worked as the Avs scored 2 goals in under a minute shortly after. Unfortunately Dallas answered back about 20 seconds later. So it was 6-3 going into the 3rd. In typical fashion, the Avalanche decided to show up for the third and played a bit better and were able to pull within 2 again. But Jeff Halpern dashed any hope as he put the Stars up by 2 with just 2 1/2 minutes left. And you can only pull a Florida-style win so many times.

Joe Sakic, Paul Stastny, Wojtek Wolski, Milan Hejduk, Brad May, and Ken Klee should be commended for actually showing up tonight to play. Everybody else should be ashamed of themselves for the effort they put in. That doesn't include either goaltender who really must have felt as though the team hated them tonight. I'm not sure how many more times this team can not show up for either goaltender before one of them snaps on the team and screams "Why!!!" at the top of their lungs.

It wasn't just the Avalanche goaltenders tonight who were having troubles. The Avs chased Turco, again, after 3 goals and promptly decided that Mike Smith was worthy of a few soft short-side goals. Unfortunately, Smith was able to pull off a game-turning save when he made a huge glove save to deny an Avalanche 2-on-1 opportunity. If that had gone in, the Avs would have tied the game and got a point, I have no doubt. And why would I? It's a hypothetical so I can feel whatever I want!

Pierre Turgeon made his return to the lineup tonight and was on the ice for an outstanding 3:41. What made Q think putting a slow, soft Turgeon in would be better than having a speedy Richardson or gritty Rycroft? I suppose maybe he hoped some veteran leadership and craftiness could help out the team. Instead Turgeon had rusty legs and had 4 shifts in total in the 2nd and 3rd periods. I'll say that putting Turgeon in the lineup was a flat out mistake by Q.

Jordan Leopold had a terrible, terrible night. He took 3 minor penalties and was a -3 on the night. He looked lost out there on the ice. That was fairly evident when he closed his hand on the puck at one point rather than just batting it out of the air. And since Q went with 6 D tonight, scratching Ossi Vaananen, there wasn't much he could do to tune back his ice-time. He was still the least of all d-men but tallied 16:47 altogether which is pretty high for someone crapping the bed.

Unfortunately, I have a lot of work to do tonight or I could actually go on for quite a while about this game. There was a lot of interesting things, good and bad. More bad than good. But hey, the youngsters were looking good so the future is bright! Too bad the playoffs are a dimming light for this season's future.

The Good
- 5 goals for
- chasing Turco is always good

The Bad
- 7 goals against
- 2 horrid games in a row
- apparently not wanting to make the playoffs

The Ugly
- Skrastins effort on the first goal

Pre-game vs Dallas - Feb 11, 2007

It's an afternoon game on NBC as Colorado rolls into Dallas for the last meeting of the year between these two teams. So far, Colorado is 0-2-1 in the series and will be looking to remedy that situation. After a tough 6-3 against the Thrashers on Thursday, I hope the Avalanche come out p*ssed right off. If they don't, Dallas is going to toss them around and walk away with a win. The Avalanche buckle against physical teams and Dallas has some grinders out there who are always willing to finish their checks.

The overwhelming response from the Avalanche locker room was that the team came out absolutely flat and couldn't recover, even after a decent third period. Giving up a 4-0 lead pretty much counts you out of the game even in the "new" NHL. The players had nobody to blame but themselves and realize that they simply need to buckle down and fight out there. There's no point to team meetings or calling anybody out. They just need to gather up as a team and get it done on the ice or they'll be getting it done on the greens very soon.

The odds are that Peter Budaj gets the start after back-to-back starts for Jose Theodore. It's now official according to the Denver Post. I wrote most of this up last night and get a gold star for predicting the goaltender ;) As I've said before, I don't think Theodore played terrible lately, but he did nothing to earn the #1 job back. Hopefully Budaj has rested up and is ready for the stretch run b/c if this team doesn't get some solid-to-stellar goaltending, they're not going to make it. No pressure Peter!

It should be interesting to see if Q keeps running with 7 defensemen or decides to prune it back to 6 and have a D be a healthy scratch instead of 3 forwards. Turgeon, Richardson, and Rycroft were the scratches last game. I can't see Turgeon making his way back into the lineup so it's between Rycroft and Richardson. If it were me, I'd go with Rycroft. He's second on the team in hits and is the only other player to have a fighting major this year. He brings more grit than Richardson and I thought he and Guite played well together.

Brisebois - back, LTI

Morrow - wrist, IR
Barnaby - concussion, IR
Ott - ankle, IR

Stastny and Sakic have 4 in 2, Arnason and Mclean have 3 in 2, Hejduk has 5 in 5.

Jokinen has 3 in 2, Miettinen, Hagman, and Zubov have 2 in 2.

Svatos has 0 in 3, Klee has 0 in 18.

Lindros, Ribeiro, and Lehtenin have 0 in 3, Sydor has 0 in 9.

Peter Budaj - 16-13-3, 2.67 GAA, .908 save pct
Marty Turco - 26-17-2, 2.33 GAA, .908 save pct

Colorado - 26-24-4, 5th in NW, 10th in West
Dallas - 33-20-2, 2nd in Pacific, 6th in West