It looks like the Avs came out on the short end of what would have been an easy victory last night at the Can. Any game can get nasty when your boys are playing a team with nothing to lose coached by Marc Crawford.
This was supposed to be a celebration of the return of Adam Foote, as well as the first home game for Joe Sakic upon return from injury...and it was.
The first period dragged a bit, but the Avs quickly found cohesiveness and began to bury some shots against Dan Cloutier. (Is it ever a good sign when your starting goalie doesn't have his helmet painted?)
Then things got ugly.
First Marek Svatos was shoved into the boards and came out with a bum knee.
It isn't often you see a guy get nailed into the stanchion at the end of the bench. But there was Jack Johnson on a perfectly legal hit, knocking Ryan Smyth off of the "turnbuckle". Hits off of anything around the bench area are often spectacular, but I have never seen a man get hit that hard off of the end of the glass.
Up to that point Smyth had been dominating. In true Deadmarsh-like fashion he was doing the dirty work around the net and had potted two goals, one off of a deflection of a booming slapper from Ruslan Salei.
Yet there he was near the end of the 2nd period, out cold on the ice.
What is it with Marc Crawford coached teams that an Avs player ultimately ends up motionless on the ice? Sure, the Johnson hit wasn't of the dirty variety, he didn't leave his feet, and he didn't end up with his elbows up on Smyth's head as it was bouncing off of the minuscule padding that covers the end of the glass. But this seems to be a developing trend with Marc Crawford coached teams.
Certainly "Crow" is a firebrand. Avs fans are quite familiar with Marc's battles against Detroit, especially Scotty Bowman. Then there was the Steve Moore. Now, we have both Ryan Smyth and Marek Svatos out of the Avs lineup for indefinite periods of time.
Would Avs fans have been satiated if Rob Blake had allowed Laperriere to fight Johnson? Would it have made up for everything had Joe Quenneville sent out Scott Parker to take down, say Anze Kopitar? What's the point?
Perhaps Crow still harbors anger against the Avs since he was fired so long ago? Maybe that didn't even come into play and the Smyth injury was just the result of a hard hit by an up and coming defeseman. But does it even matter?
Hopefully Smitty and Svatos will be back soon, and the Avalanche can continue to come together as a potential Cup contender. But after the events of last night, after already enduring lengthy injuries to their top three players, I think Avs fans are left asking the most valid question of all.
When is enough, enough?