As the news rolls in about the condition of Ryan Smith and Marek Svatos, the two men involved in the drive by checkings at the Can on Saturday, Avs fans are left wondering what will become of the team.
That got me thinking...well that and some really strong coffee.
-Will they win games?
Yes. Certainly the loss of Smitty and Svatos hurts. Especially Smitty. But as I've mentioned before, the Avs were cranking out a great team game before the great influx of talent over the last two weeks. They'll be fine. I'm convinced that they've turned the corner. But the big question is:
-Who will play with who?
I thought about this a long time
First of all, there are no changes that should be made on defense. Foote and Salei have turned that crew around, along with the team. I can't say enough how nice it is to have Adam Foote back, and even better Rusty Salei has a boomstick! Eck-cellent...you learn something new every game.
(Here's an idea:
Just as Ruslan Salei is about to be introduced we get the PA guy at the Can to say "heeeeere's RUSTY!" and then have Rusty break out and do a lap while greyhounds chase him. Can we make this happen?)
As of now I don't see any reason why the Avs couldn't keep the same lines that they had in the 3rd period on Saturday. Laperriere should continue to see time on a line with Sakic. He has historically jived quite well with Joe and is more than happy to do the dirty work down low and along the boards. Plus, you gotta protect Super Joe.
On Joe's other side I have a feeling Wolski will be involved. This could be good...it could also end with Wolski being demoted to the 4th line. The kid worries me along the same lines that Martin Skoula worried me.
He seems to think that he can control the puck through traffic, when he doesn't have the body to do that. Marek Svatos, or even better Martin St. Louis or Daniel Briere can do that. Wolski can't.
He is too lanky, and I get the feeling he may never fill out causing him to continue his apparent belief that he is actually quick. So he goes chugging straight into double teams as the announcers mention his "deceptive speed". Let's get this straight. Momentum is different than speed and quickness, please refer to Bertuzzi, Todd or Chara, Zdeno vs. Ovechkin, Alex and Gaborik, Marian.
But enough on the kid. If I know Quenneville he'll probably mix in Brunette as soon as Wolski starts bailing out on rushes.
Stastny should stay with Hejduk. They do good work. The big question seems to be whether Forsberg will play center or wing. Can he even skate fast enough to play wing? Is that even a good idea? Maybe they can just strap Forrest Gump leg braces to him and sit him in front of the goalie.
How many people out there have absolutely no idea what Forsberg is going to do? 99% of hockey fans? Everyone? I think I'll feel better when he finally steps on the ice. Part of me expects to see him in the owner's box three weeks from now, and part of me thinks he'll rule the playoffs. It can go either way and I wouldn't be shocked.
Ultimately I think the Avs will survive. Foote has the blue line under control and Sakic still has the best wrister in the game. The guys are grinding hard...and did I mention how happy I am that Footer is back?
Now if we can just get Theo to kick his game up even higher the Avs can keep playing long enough that Smitty and Svatos have a chance at returning.