Over the last couple of days I’ve had a number of friends confront me with their distress and disdain over the condition of the Avalanche. Mostly everyone is in shock, and angry about the 2-0 series deficit. Here are some theories on how to fix the Avs on the first day after what may have been the worst weekend in Colorado sports history.
By my estimation Jose Theodore is sick. And I don’t mean “wicked” or “badass” I mean the man seems like he has some kind of bubonic flu at this point. I’ve played with the flu before and I’ve got to tell you, no position in any sport is more difficult to play while battling headaches, nausea, muscle stiffness and the inherent lack of timing brought on by massive amounts of NyQuil.
The question here is whether or not Joel Quenneville starts Peter Budaj in Theo’s spot for game three. For all intents and purposes Budaj has played the Wings well, and not allowed any crap to go into the net that hasn’t come off the stick of Johan Franzen.
If I were a betting man I would expect to see Theo back in net. If he struggles early he’ll get pulled. In this case “struggling early” should constitute anything in the area of pre-game sweating, a ghost-white complexion, glassy eyes or the potential presence of one Paris Hilton.
Because seriously, nothing on Earth sucks quite as bad as having to strap on damp, disease ridden pads while trying not to puke.
(Side note here: if Theo is as sick as I think he is, then half the team is sick at this point. Disease in a hockey locker room has a tendency to spread like wildfire, considering almost nothing in a locker room ever seems to dry out, and pretty much smells like a dumpster.)
On the other end of things, Peter Forsberg must play. Period. For the Avalanche to have any shot at a comeback they have to take pressure off of the top line and drop Ryan Smyth back into position on the third line, where his presence has fueled the likes of Tyler Arnason and Ben Guite.
I for one was tired of Forsberg’s constant injuries during his first run with the Avalanche. This time around his bad groin is making my groin hurt and I’d like it to end. Enough is enough Peter. Suck. It. Up.
Lastly, the Avalanche checkers need to do something more than kick the puck to Detroit forwards in their own end. Players like Guite and Ian Laperriere need to play without regard for their own safety. The Avs were able to succeed against the Wild because they took the body. Maybe the time has come when they must devolve into a trapping team. I hate that I just wrote that, but as long as the top teams in the West continue to cling to the notion of trapping hockey, then the Avalanche must adapt and attack.
The bottom line is that there is very little hope for the Avalanche in this series. Detroit is the deeper team that has stuck to its program of puck possession hockey all season. Add in the above par play of Chris Osgood and the Wings are a strong team that is staring at the potential for dominance.
Even still, this doesn’t mean the only existing team of relevance in Colorado sports can’t put up a fight. And on the edge of defeat, at least battle hard until the end.
If anything it would be nice to see the Avs come back and put a lid on obnoxious Wings fans, who really seem to have nothing better to do in their lives outside of posting insanity-laced comments on Red Wings blogs.
Maybe some day I too can turn into an alcoholic, semi-employed, uneducated, 1985 Buick Skylark driving, Merit smoking pipe fitter, who is more than willing to educate anyone who will listen on weekday evenings about the worlds of hockey and workman's compensation whilst sitting shirtless atop a lawn chair set up in my buddy's garage...yay Upper Midwest!