Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Be jealous

Yes Avs fans, it's true. I am at Pepsi Center tonight and will be for the next two games as well! I will try to write a bit between each period, but there's a good chance I'll be too mesmerized by the fact that I'm at Pepsi Center to formulate coherent thoughts, Either way, I will post pictures after the game, and as always.. GO AVS!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Game 47 Preview

Tonight, we will see a battle of two of the Western Conference powerhouses as the Kings travel to the Pepsi Center to take on the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche currently sit in 11th in the West while the Kings are nearly bringing up the rear in 13th, though only four points separates the two squads. Okay, so maybe "powerhouse" wasn't the best choice in adjective. Much to my father's chagrin, the Avs are 3-0 against the Kings this season, and they will go for the season sweep with Peter Budaj, who has won all three contests against the Kings this season, between the pipes tonight. In the opposing net will most likely be Jonathan Quick, but there's a chance we could see Jonathan Bernier in net since Quick played last night in Minnesota. Bernier has a 1-3 lifetime record in the NHL, but has supposedly played really well in the AHL thus far, giving the Kings extremely high hopes for the youngster. According to the Avs' official site, none of the injured men will return to the ice tonight, as they will take an extra week off to return to health due to the All-Star break. Personally, I think Stewart should give Johnny Zeiler the ol' Strachan treatment tonight. Thoughts?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Before the game recap, I want to give a gigantic, avalanche-sized congratulations to both Ryan Smyth and Milan Hejduk, who both netted career goals #300 in Sunday's win against the Flames. The majority of Smyth's goals came while playing with Edmonton, but all 300 of Hejduk's came for the good guys. What an accomplishment!

Now, onto the game! The Avs came out stronger on offense than the previous 45 games this year, but it appeared Flames' backup Curtis McElhinney was up for the challenge as he came up with big save after big save, but only managed to keep the Avs off the board for 16 minutes before Marek Svatos was able to bang home a rebound in the crease on the powerplay. Less than two minutes later, Salei hit Stewart with a homerun pass for a breakaway, and Stewey made no mistake in finding the back of the net for his fifth goal of the year. By the end of the first, the Avs were leading the shots on goal margin by a total of 20-8. I could be wrong, but I think that's the biggest one period shot differential in favor of the Avs this season.

Ten minutes into the second period, the game seemed to be turning to an all-too-familiar direction as Cammalerri notched his 20th goal of the season on a perfect cross-ice feed on the powerplay, closing the Flames deficit to only one goal. Less than two minutes later, Ruslan Salei took his second straight penalty, giving the red-hot Flames' powerplay a chance to even the score. BUT never fear, Ben Guite is here! After a big save by Budaj, Smyth took the puck up ice with Guite not too far behind creating a two-on-one chance for the Avs. The Flames were obviously SO terrified of how good Ben is as they left Ryan Smyth alone to take the shot of his choice and he buried career goal #300 in the back of the net. Teammate Milan Hejduk was also sitting at 299 career goals coming into the game, and I guess he figured that since Smytty scored #300, he couldn't be left behind with a mere 299 goals! About five minutes later, he was able to score big #300 as well on a powerplay feed from JML. Haynes' goal calls of "NUMBER 300!!!" were nearly identical, but I loved every second of it.

The Flames cut the score to 4-2 early in the third, but the Avs wouldn't let that last for long as they scored two goals in the final five minutes of the period, courtesy of Salei and MVP Cody McLeod. McLeod's TENTH (yes, you read that right) goal of the season came with less than one second left on the clock, and was the proverbial cherry on the top for all Avs fans, and the proverbial slap in the face for all Flames fans. Budaj had a great comeback game after a recent dry-spell of sorts, stopping 39 of 41 Flames shots.

After the game, Budaj was announced as the third star. Then, Alan Roach announced that there would be no second star of the game, as there were two FIRST STARS. Of course, he was referring to Smyth and Hejduk. It would've been special enough for each of them to reach the milestone at some point during this season, but too accomplish it together on the same night made it that much better. I think the saying "a picture is worth one thousand words" applies well here, as the size of their smiles in the picture above says all you need to know about how special that moment was. Hats off to you, Ryan and Milan. Congratulations.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Rayzor slips in an Oil slick.

Just when I was starting to turn to the 'dark side' (yes, I've been watching some Star Wars this week) and become a Rayzor supporter, he goes and pulls something absolutely terrible and unforgivable like that third-period, back-breaking, game-winning, completely demoralizing goal that knocked me, and his own confidence in net, back down to planet Earth. There are no excuses for a bone-headed play like that, in a game as important as tonight's. He had no business coming out to play that puck. That's the kind of thing good ol' Patrick used to do in his many attempts to score that one goal he always dreamed of. That's something Marty Turco, or his one-time understudy Mike Smith, is allowed to do because they actually possess basic puck-handling skils and are able to clear the puck by an opposing player with relative ease. This is NOT something The Rayzor should be thinking of doing, no matter how confident he feels in himself at the moment. Yes, the Oilers probably outplayed the Avs a bit tonight and deserved to win, but the fact is the team stayed in the game, and, if not for the stellar goaltending by Mathieu Garon, probably would've won and gotten the two HUGE points up for grabs in tonight's contest. Once again, absolutely inexcusable on Rayzor's part and it's going to take another seven-game winning streak for me to trust him again.

In other news, at various points early in the game, I happened to say a couple bad things about Tyler Arnason and T.J. Hensick's lack of ability to put the puck in the net. And what did they do about it? Not one, but BOTH OF THEM scored and made me eat my words, which happened to taste pretty good at the time until the bonehead ruined it. Maybe the rant you see above will put some good karma on Raycroft's side, as the hockey gods obviously love to prove me wrong.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Game 45 Preview

Is anyone really excited about watching this game after the last two performances this week? Thankfully the Rayzor will be back in net after an abysmal performance last night by Peter Budaj. I haven't found an update on Davey Jones' Locker but I'm hoping he'll be back, and that they'll send Dupuis or Willsie to the press box for the game. Lappy and Foote should be out again, which I think is a huge blow to this team that definitely needs a bit of leadership in both the offensive and defensive zone.

Tonight is the first of EIGHT straight home games, lasting until early February. Tonight, especially, is a must-win, as it is against a divisional opponent with the same number of points right now. In my opinion, the Avs MUST get 10+ points out of a possible 16 from these eight home games, or they'll sadly find themselves way outside the playoff race, barely able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I think it's time to start singing the Budaj Blues.

As much as I love Peter Budaj, he is starting to wear out his welcome very quickly in my mind. Three out of four goals the Blues scored tonight (not counting the empty netter) were just plain awful. Just like the beginning of the season, that five hole is killing him, and the team's chances to stay in games. The team didn't play it's best game tonight, but they had a decent number of chances and managed to get two goals past Legace in the third to bring it to a 3-2 score. Cody McLeod brought his MVP campaign back to life tonight with his 9th goal of the season, and Guite returned to action, bringing mega-stache back with him just to make me happy. Stewart had a monster of a fight and is quickly moving up my favorite players list. Once again, Tucker was out on the ice in crunch time. WHY?!?!?! I don't know what's going on in TG's mind to think that he is worthy of this ice time, but hopefully it changes soon. Let's see if he decides to shake anything up for tomorrow's game. Maybe a Ledin call-up?

Game 44 Preview

Tonight the Avs finish up a two-game roadtrip in St. Louis, before playing eight straight games at good ol' Pepsi Center. In fact, their next road game is against the very same Blues team they will face off against tonight on Saturday, February 7th. By my calculations, that means our boys will be at home for approximately 23 straight days. Tonight is the type of game that the team can not have any minor Tyler Arnason/Darcy Tucker moments because the team just flat out needs to win these contests against "lesser" opponents, as they try to gain some ground in the playoff race. The Avs enter tonight's game with 45 points, technically in 11th place in the west, but tied for 9th. However, the team is just four points behind slumping Vancouver, with the appropriate number of games in hand to tie the Casucks. Budaj will be in net for the first time since a 2-0 loss to the Wild on January 4th, and I'm sure he will do everything he can to prove his worth after being a bit outplayed recently by "backup" Andrew Raycroft. David Jones is listed as questionable with a back injury, and while I wish no harm on Jones, his injury means Guite could see the ice tonight so we all know what I'm hoping for!

I'm starting to really dislike the Jackets..

Over the years, the Avs have never had a problem with the Jackets. Never, ever, ever! But now, the Avs have acquired zero out of a possible six points this season against the only club in the NHL who has never made the playoffs. What is going on here?! Yes, I know the Jackets have gained a lot of young talent over the years through the draft, but shouldn't the Avs at least be able to keep up?! Frustration at it's finest, ladies and gentlemen.

Personally, I figured this game to be a 2-1 final, with the winner possibly coming in OT or even a shootout, based on how the two starting goaltenders had been playing recently. Through two periods, I was ready to crown myself victorious in predicting the final.. until all hell broke loose. In a span of 3:41, five pucks (in order: CBJ, COL, CBJ, CBJ, COL) found the back of the net to give the Jackets a 4-3 lead, which also ended up being the final score. I couldn't really tell what brought on this offensive onslaught by both clubs, but it was definitely the last thing I was expecting.

JML had what I would consider his best game defensivly, as he was constantly out-muscling bigger forwards in the corners to strip them of the puck. This is the kind of play we need from him after his big contract signing this past summer. Let's hope it's here to stay. Marek Svatos scored his first goal in who knows how long, and one could only hope that he has figured out what he's been doing wrong this season and add the offensive firepower the team has gotten from him in the past. If Liles was the team's best player on defense, Chris Stewart was hands down the best on the offensive side of the ice. Not only did he notch an assist on Svatos' goal; not only did he score his own goal in the third to tie the game at two, but he also was credited with four hits in the game as well, and they weren't exactly small little shoves. Stewey was throwing his body around out there like there was no tomorrow, as he should with that size, and is definitely making a case to stay on the team once the injury bug leaves. Also, congrats to one of my favorite players, Cody McLeod. Although he didn't continue his MVP campaign by getting on the scoresheet, he was registered with five hits and three blocked shots. That, my friends, is how you earn a roster spot.

One more thing. I've just about had enough with Darcy Tucker. I've never been one to dislike players on the teams that I live and breathe for, but he's making a case to be the first of his kind. His bonehead move at the end of the Minnesota game last week definitely sticks out in my mind, but a lot of the time he does his best Tyler Arnason impression and just seems completely lost out there. I do not understand Granato throwing him out there with one minute left in a one goal game, but I guess he had his reasons. Unless his play and bonehead penalty-taking change in the second half of the season, I'll be hoping he receives his second contract buy-out in as many years. Good luck Tuck.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Game 43 Preview

Hello my wonderful readers. I am back, and here to stay. After two awful bouts with the flu and some quality time with the family over the past couple of weeks, I am back to write about our (sometimes) wonderful team. So much has happened in the world of the Colorado Avalanche in the past two weeks, but I will choose to focus on the stellar play of late of Wojtek Wolski and Andrew Raycroft. Due to injuries cutting right through the middle of the lineup, TG finally decided to give WW (or Baron von Wolski as he is lovingly known as by some of my blogging buddies) a shot at his natural position of center, and he has yet to disappoint, scoring four goals and two assists in the last three games (all wins, mind you) and winning the NHL's "First Star Of The Week" honors. In net for those three games has been "backup" goalie extraordinaire Andrew Raycroft, and though I am a huge Budaj supporter, it's hard to not be a fan of the guy who's record is 9-1 and has won seven in a row in the process. He'll get the nod in net for his fourth straight game tonight, and goes up against Steve Mason, arguably the hottest goalie in the NHL at the moment. Will this be a goaltenders duel a la Budaj vs. Luongo earlier in the year? We will find out very soon.

It's good to be back!