Sunday, December 28, 2008

Avs beat Wings, Part 2

Yes, that title is true. And while I've been battling not one, but two bouts with the flu since early Monday morning, I somehow found enough strength to make it in front of the tv for this one. I'm not going to write much as I need my sleep, but.. HAHA to any Wings fans out there :). Happy Holidays everyone. I'll be back when I recover fully.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I tried as hard as I could to think of one, single, solitary good thing that happened in today's game, but sadly, there is absolutely nothing worthwhile to write about.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lineup changes for Thursday night

The Avs travel to Tampa tomorrow and they will have both Darcy Tucker and BEN GUITE (!!!) back in the lineup. Philippe Dupuis has already been sent back, and I assume either Hensick or Cody1 (McCormick) will be the other forward scratched because I feel Stewart has been outplaying the both of them. In other, more controversial news, Andrew Raycroft will be getting the start in net over Peter Budaj. Raycroft played a hell of a game on Monday, but I don't think Peter deserves a benching after a flukey goal or two last night.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008



That's the sound of the Avs falling back down to Earth after an improbable win last night in Detroit. And that's not to say that the Avs didn't play well tonight, because they did. But they just seemed to be a bit outmatched by a better team who wanted it more, and who managed a few lucky bounces on the way. And even as the diehard fans we are, did we REALLY expect the team to dominate a red-hot Flyers team in their home building while the Avs are playing the second game of a back to back? In my heart, I expect the team to win them all, but there's some games that I know will be tougher than others, and this, of course, was one of them.

The Avs started out strong, just as last night, and Paul Stastny was able to score a PPG off what seemed like a broken play as he won the faceoff, and pushed it off the boards to Hejduk or Smyth, but both of them were tied up and the puck managed to find it's way right back to Stastny's stick, which he quickly stick-handled to his forehand to put it in the net. The Flyers didn't allow that lead to last long however, as they got goals by Mike Knuble on the powerplay and a shorthanded goal by Jeff Carter before the end of the period.

The second period saw the Flyers extend their lead to a comfortable 4-1 before David Jones had an absolutely beautiful tip-in on a T.J. Hensick from the point. I was a huge critic of him earlier in the season, partly because Guite was being benched in his favor, but I really think this guy is starting to come around and find his groove on the ice. The second period also saw two fights, the first resulted from Chris Stewart standing up for Jonesy after he took a big hit from Aaron Asham into the Flyers bench. I love Stewart more and more each game, and I feel that he won the fight as well. The second fight was a bout between Lappy and Scott Hartnell. I never knew Hartnell to be much of a fighter, but he definitely was ready for this one with Laperriere.

In the third, the Flyers scored their fifth and final goal of the night, bringing the score to it's final, 5-2 mark.

I really can't put too much blame on the Avs as a whole for this one, as some goals were flukey, and others were just great goals that most goalies wouldn't stand a chance against. They obviously were a bit tired after the game in Detroit last night, and you could sense that about halfway through the game. Jones had another great game, as did Stastny and Smyth, as usual. The Avs travel to the state of Florida next for two games before coming home for one game before the holidays. Barring any unforeseen news in the Avs world, I will be back Thursday to talk about the game against Vinny LeCavalier and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Red Wings win (opposite day edition)

I saw it, but I really don't believe it.. Did the Avs REALLY just beat the Red Wings, in Detroit, with Andrew Raycroft in net??? Pinch me, for I think I am dreaming!

In a game that no Avs fan really thought that they could win (don't deny it!), the Avs pulled off the absolutely unexpected and beat the team that has plagued them for longer than I can remember on their home ice. The team started the game stronger than almost any game this entire season. On a beautiful steal by Wolski in the neutral zone, just a minute into the game, he fed the puck to Tyler Arnason, who dished it back to him as he came in all alone on Osgood, and then proceeded to make Ozzie look like a mere rookie with one of his totally awesome moves usually reserved for the shootout. Just three minutes later, Paul Stastny decided a one goal lead wasn't enough and blasted a wrister top-shelf from the circles on the powerplay. 2-0 in Detroit, four minutes into the game?!?!?! WOW. A few minutes later, the Avs found themselves on the short end of a 5-on-3 with the league's top powerplay unit attacking their backup goaltender. Somehow, no pucks made it in and this probably ended up being the biggest penalty kill of the season thus far. If the Wings had cut the lead to just one that early, I think the entire momentum would've shifted in their favor, and we all know that is an absolutely terrible thing.

Raycroft, or "Rayzor", decided to give his best impression of #33 and came up with a number of huge, statue-of-liberty, glove saves, along with many other incredible saves, including some where he was completely out of position and had to scramble to get back and block the shot (Note: I refuse to actually come out and compare Rayzor to #33 by name, so the number will do for now). Of course, he couldn't stay perfect forever though and let in a second-period goal resulting from a big mess of bodies in front of the net. I won't necessarily place the blame on him on that one, it's just a matter of getting lucky in a situation like that.. every goalie saves some and lets others in.

Early in the third, the top-line, consisting of the Codys and Philippe Dupuis (what?) were battling in front of the net trying to slap the puck in when it seemed like a Detroit defender fell on the puck, aka PENALTY SHOT. I guess Granato felt like those three forwards score way too many goals and wanted to give someone else a shot, so he put the puck on Jordan Leopold's stick, and he proceeded to make Ozzie look like what we thought the goalie across the ice would look like, as he easily buried the puck on the backhand. The Wings managed to get another goal to pull the score to within one, but failed to tie it up in the final minute with no goalie.

To say I'm impressed with this win might be the understatement of the year. As much as I love this team with every fiber of my being, there's just some games that I know will be a loss. Apparently, I don't know this team as well as you would think a fan of 16 years would know a team as they completely surprised the sh*t out of me tonight. Tyler Arnason had a great game (yes, I know, oxymoron), as did David Jones, possibly his best of the year, even though he failed to get on the scoreboard.

Let's hope the team can keep it up as they play the red-hot Flyers tomorrow night. Budaj will be back in net, but it seems that Svatos, Guite, and Tucker will remain out of the lineup, even though they are on the trip with the team.

Game #30 Preview

Tonight the 14-14-1 Avs travel to Detroit to take on the defending Stanley Cup Champions in their home building. The Avs were 0-8 against this team last season (including a second-round sweep in the playoffs), and Andrew Raycroft will be found between the pipes tonight (at least to start the game..). Disaster waiting to happen? You tell me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


From the Avs site:

Darcy Tucker (knee) and Ben Guite (ribs) were both on the ice this morning, sporting bright orange non-contact jerseys. Both players joined the team when it embarked on its road trip this afternoon.

“I think they’ll both be able to play on the trip…I would doubt tomorrow night,” said Avalanche head coach Tony Granato.

Stop the presses! The best player in NHL history is making his return this week!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Blackhawk Down (opposite day edition)

After a two-plus week stretch where the Avs looked like the team that us Avs faithful had hoped and longed for, and gaining 11 out of 16 possible points, the team hit a monstrous wall in the third period (sound familiar?) and fell right back to Earth, where most "experts" had predicted.

The Avs gave up a very early goal on what seemed like a defensive breakdown in front of the net as a bunch of Avs players just stood around, letting Craig Adams skate right up to the puck and put it in the net on a shot that Budaj would've had on one of his good nights. The Avs didn't let them get that down though as MVP #2, Chris Stewart, shot an absolute BOMB from the point, Rob Blake-style, off of a beautiful drop-pass from Lappy, and beat the Bulin Wall top-shelf. This guy is here to stay, my friends, and I couldn't be happier for him. Lappy followed up his assist with a nice tip-in goal in front of the net, coming on the end of a great play by JM-Liles, who had by far his best game of the season. He took the puck from deep in the Avs zone and skated all the way down to nearly the Chicago goal-line, before feeding it to the front of the net as both Lappy and Stewy crashed the net for the tip in. Lappy got his stick on it, and then proceeded to give Johnny one of his patented post-goal kisses and exclaimed something along the lines of "What a f****n play!". As JM was skating across the red-line during the play, I said to my dad, "Look at Bobby Orr out there", and lo and behold, he actually finished the play in Bobby Orr fashion.

The second period didn't see much action, save for the Hawks tying the game at two on yet another goal that Mr. Budaj should've had. Four minutes into the third, however, Wojtek Wolski decided to take the game into his own hands, and made a play that Toews and Kane could only dream of, as he split through two defenders as he crossed the blue-line and made no mistake in burying the puck top-shelf. Could this be the start of a breakout year for Wooly? I sure f'n hope so! However, in the typical Avalanche style that we, as fans, have grown accustomed to since the lockout, the team decided to blow a third period lead, and not even get to overtime to secure a point. Hawks Goal #3 was ANOTHER goal that Budaj 100% should've had, as he let in an extremely weak five-hole goal to someone not necessarily known for scoring. Hawks Goal #4 came three seconds after the end of an Avs penalty, and I think was a result of the players just being dead-tired out there.

This was a very important game for the Avs, as a win would've put them within striking distance of the division lead, but this loss sets them towards the back of the pack, where they've spent most of the season thus far. This was a very winnable game, as the team had the lead with only 10 minutes to go. The loss is a bit inexcusable to me because I really feel they should've won this one, if it weren't for the bad goals Budaj let in. I am a big Budaj supporter, and maybe he was tired from being over-played due to the lack of a quality backup, but he really should've made those saves in a game with this significance. I know you can't win 'em all, but this was one that should've been won by the burgundy and blue.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Game #29 Preview

Tonight, the Avs host old buddy Joel Quenneville and his Chicago Blackhawks at the Pepsi Center. This will mark Q's first return to the can since his departure earlier this calendar year. Adam Foote will return to the line-up after missing the past three weeks with a whole slew of injuries, and Marek Svatos will be out after being listed as "day-to-day" after Tuesday's game. I was hoping that Granato would go the Q route and dress seven defensemen in tonight's game since the team is a forward short after losing Svatty, but it doesn't look like that will be the case as TG said that Daniel Tjarnqvist will be watching from the press-box, just as he was pre-Foote injury. I'm not sure I totally agree with this call, as Tjarny has been playing great in Foote's absence, but I guess that's why I'm not the coach. The Avs has called up forward Philippe Dupuis from Lake Erie to fill the empty void at forward, and could see his very first NHL action tonight. I don't know much about the guy, but I always like giving young guys a chance to prove themselves with the big team.

Game #28 Recap

If you consider yourself an Avs fan, there is no way that Tuesday night's game wouldn't be considered one of the best games of the year. The Avs came out strong, and kept the pressure on for nearly a full 60 minutes, something that is usually not one of their strong points. Just 3:28 into the game, Marek Svatos found the back of the net for the sixth time this season. On the ensuing faceoff, Lappy and Mr. Zeiler got down to business, which every Avs fan across the world was hoping for as Zeiler was the one to knock our poor Footer out of the lineup for nearly three weeks with a dirty hit. Lappy showed him what was up, and easily won the fight. Just 24 seconds later, Milan Hejduk was able to put one past Jason LaBarbera on a beautiful feed from Paul Stastny who was hiding behind the net. As soon as I saw the pass coming from Stazz, I stood up to cheer because I know my Hedjie will always bury that shot. Eight minutes later, Cody McLeod was able to keep his MVP campaign with his fourth goal of the season after knocking Derek Armstrong out of the game earlier in the play, which Mark Rycroft claimed to be "great" in the post-game show.

Two minutes into the second period, Ryan Smyth was able to score the first PPG of the night, on a beautiful feed from behind the net from T.J. Hensick. To be honest, it reminded me of an Andrew Brunette special, but this is not something I expect to see out of Henner every night, unfortunately. Two minutes later marked my favorite Avs moment of the season. Chris Stewart chased down the puck as LaBarbera was playing it in the 'zoid behind the net, and generated a steal. He then fed it to the front where Tyler Arnason failed to put it in (surprised?) but the rebound came right to Mr. MVP, Cody McLeod, who made no mistake in burrying it for his second of the night. However, as soon as he started to celebrate Raitis Ivanans attempted to ruin the party by attacking Cody for being a much better and far sexier player than he could ever dream to be. There was a bunch of pushing and shoving, but no real fights broke out. However, Cody taunted the big guy all the way to the box and even from inside the box as Raitis skated by. I must have watched this clip on youtube ( nearly 30 times by now, and still crack up every time. I absolutely love the fire and passion that Cody brings to the ice every night, and he is now the leading candidate for the jersey I will buy for next season so long as he gets re-signed. To make things even better, my homie, Chris Stewart, scored his first NHL point (assist) on this play, and I immediately went on facebook to congratulate him. Apparently getting his first NHL point wasn't enough as he followed it up with a short-handed goal on a breakaway later in the second, on which I had to offer my facebook congratulations yet again. Either he thinks I'm the coolest fan in the world, or he's one more "congratulations" post away from deleting me. At this point, it was 6-0, but the Kings managed a PPG of their own from new-comer Oscar Moller, ending Budaj's hope for a shutout.

Nothing major happened in the game after this, as 6-1 was the final, but being in the same room as a Kings fan for this game definitely had it's perks. My fellow Avs fan friend, Paul, and I came home about 10 minutes before game time, and the house was decorated with Kings paraphernalia nearly everywhere from my dear father. However, with each goal scored, I removed one Kings item from it's place and promptly threw it on the floor and stomped on it. Needless to say I was doing a lot of stomping! Fun night in the Hersh house-hold, let me tell you. To make things even better, we put a window-cling with a puck on it on my dad's back-windshield and put an Avs hat next to it, just to rub it in a little bit more (see picture below).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sakic Injury Update

Well, unfortunately, I guess it could be considered a "down-date" at this point. Yesterday afternoon, our very own SuperJoe broke three fingers and had tendon damage after a fight with his snow-blower, his first fight since the HOWDOYOULIKETHEMAPPLES bout with Dougy Gilmour. He had surgery on the tendon damage last night and is expected to make a full recovery, thankfully. However, now, on top of the back injury which was supposed to sideline him for six or more weeks, this injury will keep him out of action for about three months, or in my opinion, forever

Oh SuperJoe, please stop tugging on my heart-strings.

I will be posting my recap from last night's game later tonight, as I am off to attempt to fend off my sorrows at the happiest place on Earth that's not Ben Guite's house.. Disneyland.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Game #27 Recap

It's been a while yet again, and this past week was weird as it was an Avs-free week for me. Don't think I'm jumping ship at this point, rather, please allow me to explain. I spent the week with my family in lovely Las Vegas, missing three Avs games in the process. But never fear, faithful readers! I recorded not one, not two, but ALL three games on my tivo, and came home Friday night to an absolute Avalanche marathon! Now to make this task a complete success, I had to cut myself off from the Avalanche world for the entire week; no blogs, no Avs site, no nothing. It was tough, especially since my TV rarely leaves ESPN, but I somehow managed to make it five full days only seeing "Stastny: 2g, 1a" scroll across the ESPN's bottom-line during Monday Night Football. Can't win 'em all, right? The Avs seem to live by that rule, so my blog will as well.

So while Friday's Av-tastic (use that word, free of charge) marathon brought a great deal of mixed emotions through our teams efforts, I won't attempt to document all of them as I was running on a week's worth of "Vegas sleep" (about four hours a night or less) and can't remember much worth documenting.

So in that case, we fast forward to tonight's game against the Vancouver Canucks, losers of the last seven against the mighty Colorado Avalanche. Friday marked the first career NHL game of my dear facebook friend, Chris Stewart. While he didn't have a note-worthy debut, it wasn't necessarily bad either. Tonight, however, he appeared to have much more of a jump in his step (skate?), and the coaching staff noticed it as well, putting him on the ice for nearly 13 minutes, up from a mere 7.5 on Friday. This is a guy I've always wanted to see succeed, so although I hate the fact that the injury bug has already launched a full-scale attack on our roster, I'm glad to see him out there as well. As usual, Budaj made a number of huge saves to keep the team in the game, and for once, the team decided to put the necessary amount of pucks in the net to win a high-scoring game. As usual, part two, the RPM line was flying out there, combining for eight points, and a +8 rating. As usual, part three, our shootout shooters were stellar, finding the twine on all three shots. As noted by Shane, I think the Avs might have the most formidable three-some of shooters in the league. Wolski is an absolute beast in shootouts, logging the second best percentage of shootout goals all time, while Svatos and Hejduk aren't exactly slouches either. Budaj seems pretty dang confident in net for shootouts as well, something that plagued him earlier in his young career.

Tuesday night, the Kings and the most hated man in Denver, John Zeiler, travel to the Pepsi Center to take on a pissed-off Lappy and the rest of the squad. The Hersh house will be in it's fourth civil war of the season (three Avs vs Kings games and one fantasy football matchup) with me being the victor over my father on all three occasions. Let's hope this trend continues!