Saturday, March 1, 2008

La Migra!

Hot off the presses comes news that Peter Forsberg has arrived in Denver pending further investigation by authorities. The former MVP was expected to join the team Friday in Denver but was detained due to problems with Canadian/American immigration.

Forsberg's detention came as a shock to many in the Denver area, and even got coverage on at least one Denver sports radio station. The DNP has acquired a transcript of what Don Cherry termed an "international incident".

March 1, 2008
Airport Security
Vancouver International Airport.

Agent Burns: Okay Mr. Forsberg it looks like all your papers are in order. I think you should be all right to enter the US.

Peter Forsberg: Thank you. It's been kind of a pain. I started thinking for a minute that you guys weren't going to let me out of the country.

Agent Burns: Oh! Funny guy. Well you know...

Unfortunate that you couldn't play in the Canucks game, eh? Sorry about that.

Forsberg: Well I'm a bit sore you know, from the surgeries.

Agent Burns: Yeah, yeah.

You, uh, ever think about playing for the Canucks?

Forsberg: I thought about it a little. Markus and I are friends.

Agent: Markusss....?

Forsberg: Naslund.

Agent: Naslund! Yeah. That's what I thought. So you know Mr. Forsberg, we have mountains here too. Plenty of skiing...

Forsberg: Funny.

Agent Burns: What's funny?

Forsberg: to recruit me?

Agent Burns: You're a real funny guy, eh?

Forsberg: eh? heh (laughing)

Agent Burns: (staring) So no Canucks?

Forsberg: No. So can I go? I'm going to miss my plane.

Agent Burns: Sure, sure...but um, what's this? Is this...marijuana?

Forsberg: What?! I don't!

From that point Forsberg was detained in Vancouver. What we know is Vancouver authorities were charging Forsberg with marijuana posession over 4 ounces until he agreed to play for the Canucks.

In exchange, the Vancouver organization proposed to the Colorado Avalanche what they deemed a fair trade offer which involved Brad Isbister and Mike Weaver for the rights to Forsberg, three first round draft picks, and a case of Fat Tire.

That is where the story ended until about noon Colorado time, when it was reported that Forsberg was actually with the team.

When Avalanche officials were questioned Pierre Lacroix informed the DNP that Forsberg was rescued from Vancouver by the Stastny Family who snuck him out of the country in the trunk of a 1987 Buick Skylark.

We'll keep you posted if there are any further developments.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Good Vibrations

I have to admit, about 90% of the Avs-Vancouver game last night seemed like the old typical Avs. They played hard enough to lose by a goal, even if Scott Hannan should have been given an assist on a goal that bounced in past Theo off of his foot.

Then the Avs woke up.

For years I've been bothered by playoff Avs fans (you people know who you are) about how the "Avs really need Chris Drury". And for years I've wanted to kick these people. Many times.

Last night Joe Sakic, as he has always been, was CLUTCH.

Robbie Luongo was merrily chugging along, making great save after great save, and just when all seemed lost for the Avs, there was Joe chipping in a Ruslan Salei rebound with about 15 seconds left to throw it to over time.

Again, CLUTCH.

Now, the Avs carry on with the momentum from Joey's game tying goal, and Theo's penchant for shutting people down in the shootout into the coming weeks, as they get healthier and more confident by the minute.

This game may go down as the pivotal game of the Avs season.

This is when they turned it around.

All thanks to Super Joe and his ability to be in the right place at the right time, all the time.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thoughts on the Deadline

When I woke up this morning I fully expected Toronto to be in flames after Don Cherry ripped Mats Sundin a new one for not waiving his NTC. I totally fault Mats for being such a team player, it isn't the fault of the Toronto management that they couldn't find talent for the better part of the last decade. Good players are hard to find, man! If Mats was a great captain he would have thought only of himself and left for another team.

With that said, here are a couple of short thoughts on the deadline before I go back to micromanaging my fantasy team into the ground.

-Hossa to the Pens makes that offense positively terrifying. I had completely forgotten about Angelo Esposito before that deal. Maybe the trick in the "New NHL" is to absolutely suck for years, nearly lose your team to a number of different cities, then turn around and draft a dynasty with so much talent that you can swing phenoms like Esposito for rentals like Hossa.

-No Rob Blake to the Avs, eh? Oh well, after seeing Footer run the ice while smacking around the Flames last night, I am fully satiated. Even if Foote does nothing he's still a great leader...and that isn't counting the effect he's already had on the natural wonder known as Scott Parker's biker beard. As Footer sat down on the bench last night Liles actually looked happy for once...that was enough for me.

The only thing I can compare that to is how the crew lights up whenever the competent grill manager clocks in at the Mickey D's.

-Brad Richards to Dallas
Am I the only one who thinks the best part of this deal was Mike Smith getting a chance to start in Tampa? Richards is a good fit in Dallas, and Modano can now retire in peace...or overstay his welcome until he is eventually traded...kinda like...

-Fedorov to Washington.
Why was this even news? Fedorov should have retired 5 years ago, but there he is getting overvalued in a trade. Backstrom will still be centering Ovechkin when they are mercilessly knocked out of the first round of the playoffs in a few weeks. Oh and bang up job getting Huet. Nothing like picking up a former back up keeper who lost his job to a rookie to back up for your sub par starter.

-Prospal to Philly
This slays me. Philly slays me. I think Forsberg going back to the Avs destroyed the moral fabric of that squad and now they are so desperate that they've taken to trading for warm bodies like a drunk at the bars. What is Prospal going to do there exactly? Doesn't Holmgren know that he is in the tail end of his "Up" season and like clockwork he'll drop to 55 points next year?

-Skrastins for Salei.
Let me let you in on a joke my friends and I have whenever we spot a hot chick at the Can: We say "Skrastins". Seriously. And not "SKRAS-TICH" like it is pronounced, it's "Skrass-tins...dude". It works like a charm! They think we are talking about Karlis every time, when we are actually busy talking about the tensile strength of cashmere sweaters...

I'm going to miss doing that. We need the Avs to get another Euro defenseman with a funky name...Salei sort of works, but not really.

-Andrew Ladd for Tuomo Ruutu.
Ladd is an up and comer. Ruutu is an out of control Finn with no knees. Do the math.
Good move by the Hawks.

-Detroit doing almost nothing outside of getting Brad Stuart.
I'd make fun of Detroit here, but I'm not the kind of person who likes to make fun of the handicapped. Sooo...they need offense...sooo they get Brad Stuart. Mmmkay. Here's a notion, has it occurred to the Wings that their goalies are old and overrated? What's that you say? Jimmy Howard is the real deal? why wasn't he playing 3 years ago?

-The Rangers failing to get Boyle, but filling up with some pluggers on D.
I'm kinda pissed about this because I have Lundqvist on my fantasy team. Imagine having Marty Brodeur on your squad but tying his legs together and taking his stick from him before every game. That's what this season with Lundy has been like for me.

Does Slats just not understand the concept of having a defense composed of shut down defensemen? Oh wait...he did leave Grant Fuhr on an island all those years.

I don't understand the Rangers some...well...ALL of the time.

-Minnesota adding Chris Simon to Boogaard and Fedoruk. So...they are going to fight their way to more goals? The O'Sullivan trade for Demitra last year is looking dumber by the minute. I hate Jacques Lemaire. His coaching, Carl Polhad, and the fact the Vikings will never win a Superbowl are responsible for taking about 12 years off of my Dad's life.

Here's an idea, why don't they get all three guys Chiefs sweaters and thick glasses and get it over with.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

We're Getting the Band Back Together!

Well, well, well. Just when I thought that the Avs were done dealing, now we get word that tough as nails Adam Foote will be joining the squad along with Pedro.

Good gravy!

Somebody get Patty on the phone. And while we're at it, why not ring up The Messiah, Ricci, Keane, Claude, Podein, Jake and Elwood Blues, Curtis Lechishnmannsncchhinninn,

*excuse me*

and Theo Fleury's AA counselor!

Thank you, I'll be here all week.

So what are we supposed to make of this?
I had preached before that the Avs needed a people mover...well they just got one. Albeit, two years slower and older, but man oh man! Few guys in the league short of Rob Blake (who wouldn't waive his NTC the last time I looked) would have worked and voila!

The Avs got their hammer back.

I think the only thing that could make me happier is if my champion college intramural team, The Iron Mullets, all landed at the University of Colorado rec center this evening.

So many much flannel...

Okay, so the Avs now sport the likes of:

(Note: I'm not making out lines on purpose. As I've learned from The Q, it is somehow important to only have one functioning, cohesive top line while allowing the other guys to figure out the rest, but I digress...)

Sakic, Stastny, Smyth, Forsberg, Hejduk , Arnason, Ben Guite (whodathunkit) and about 64 3rd liners, AND the scarecrow from the Wizard of OZ: Wojtek Wolski

...if he only had a brain...

On the back end they get more stout with Foote, Sauer, Hannan, Leopold, Liles, Cumiskey and now Ruslan Salei...for some reason...AND play in front of a not so jittery as he used to be, Jose Theodore.

From the looks of it, if everyone can come together and magically become healthy the Avs might be able to make a run. Over the last month or so they have managed to play as a unit, albeit a nifty four line grinding unit featuring Marek Svatos, but they did come together.

Now all we can hope for is that the old guard can somehow fit in...and play well...and stay healthy...and get along...and stay healthy...

This is going to be interesting.

Monday, February 25, 2008

My Favorite Things

Revive the ghost of John Facenda! We need a smoky voice over for this segment!

"Hockey fans in Colorado will forever remember this day. This day when their prodigal son returned home..."

I remember where I was when Peter Forsberg left. It rained. Hard.
"The jerk...the traitor!" I mumbled as I swung my car through the gridlock of frightened Californian transplants on my way home from work, my phone blowing up with calls from angry friends looking for an answer which I couldn't provide. There weren't any answers. They just didn't exist. He left.

That was it for me. The day the energy got sucked from the Pepsi Center.

Certainly hockey in the Mile High City would roll on. We tried. But still, they...who am I kidding, WE were missing a certain fiery Swede. The man who scared the crap out of everyone while controlling the game like few others could. And that was what few people outside of Denver seemed to understand, that nobody carried a hockey presence like Forsberg. Not Sakic. Not even Bourque seemed to measure up to the phenomenon that was Peter the Great.

I couldn't understand his thinking the day he left. Why would he leave for just over a million bucks more? Why didn't management give him more money? What did he need that extra million for? Didn't he already own half of Sweden? And why did Footer think he had to leave too? What the hell?!

I've hated the damn salary cap every day since. Our team that showed the world that Colorado was a hockey state was torn apart before our very eyes, as parity settled in like a dense fog.

Then the rains came.

Sure, there were the teams that survived after the lock out. Detroit and Ottawa come to mind. But those teams got lucky in the draft and were able to have home grown talent ready when the Big Crunch set in. Unfortunately the Avs did not after the "Cold War" of the late 90's. They had work to do after the exodus, which only seemed to finally end after Blake left.

They hit the draft hard, and came up with some gems like Stastny and Cumiskey.
They cut away one bad goalie (Abby) for what turned out to be a good one (Theo).
They scored big in free agency with Smyth and Hannan.
They did everything in their power to keep the Avs in the minds of the fickle Bronco fans who only seemed to care when the Cup was on the line. Oh and the Rockies made the Series...yay!

Try as they might, the Avs just couldn't draw as well as when the big guy was in the house, and they weren't exactly blowing away the people who showed up either...

Why only last season, playing for that team from Tennessee, as Pedro was quietly putting the boys out of the playoffs with a two assist night, the love was still there in the form of a compilation of highlights on the big board at The Can. The Avs knew it. The fans knew it. Maybe even Forsberg knew it. Things just weren't the same without #21. Maybe he would come back one day?

Avs fans became like jaded lovers.
The teams he went to didn't make any sense. They didn't fit. Philly and Nashville? Really?
There was no other place where he should be playing. Ever!

But things got worse. There he was this year, dragging his bum feet around Sweden probably to never see American ice again, never to retire an Av. Things looked lost to him. They looked lost to an injury riddled Avs team as well, who were good at times but still didn't have that "spark".

I had almost written off the Avs for this season. They seemed a year away. And just when things looked their worst a day after an embarrassing loss to the Oilers, the rains stopped and the clouds parted.

The Avalanche organization is notoriously quiet, so predicting what they are going to do is something that is better left to The Psychic Friends Network or the Toronto Maple Leafs Rumour Factory Bar N' Grill.

First he was in Ottawa...then he was in Philly...then he was going back to Nashville for some reason...then he was going to Detroit...then he was all but inked in Philly...then he was out of hockey...then I stopped paying attention...and then, cerifiably, miraculously, the boys got their spark back in one fell swoop.

Peter Forsberg is once again an Avalanche.

Now the healing can begin.

Welcome back old friend.

Avs need a defenseman...but you already knew that.

After last night's contest in which Edmonton outworked the Avs defensive corps, it is now more evident than ever that they need a "rock" of a defenseman. By "rock" I mean a defensive defenseman who can move people.

Surely Hannan and Leopold make a great pairing, but after Karlis Skrastins, who is a premiere shot blocker, I'm just not seeing anyone who can unclutter the net, despite all efforts by Kyle Cumiskey to speedily rush the puck into the opposing zone. This "people moving" element of the Avs defense has been missing since Rob Blake and his 40 ton backside left for the West coast.

Should the Avs make a move to maybe get Blake back? They have the money, and the way I see it, with the return of Super Joe the offense should gain cohesiveness in the coming weeks. Yet for every outstanding save that Jose Theodore is pulling of, there is going to be an Andrew Cogliano waiting on the doorstep for a meaty rebound.

If the Avs are going to hold the fort, and gain any ground in the Northwest and Western Conference, they need a people mover. Failing that Avs fans may be looking at yet another long spring as their team falls out of playoff contention.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Like sands through the hourglass, these are the rankings of our blog

You ever get into a situation where you would rather be doing something you like but you have to work on 10 other things instead? That's what yours truly has been dealing with since I was left jobless a week ago. Ahh the sweet smell of sending out resumes...kickass!

Nevertheless I'm returning, and after reading some of my previous posts I have to admit that I probably shouldn't be dealing in the area of predicting trades...or teams that could win the cup BEFORE the deadline. Oops!

A little more than a week ago I had Phoenix absolutely pegged for the playoffs. They were hot, and Bryzgalov was going to tug them to an upset. Well, a few days later, the Yotes seem to have hit the wall and might not make the big dance along with my Avalanche, who may be getting too little too late from their returning stars.

So let's say I give the picks another shot on Wednesday after the trades are done. Deal?

Speaking of done deals...

In my impression there may not be a bunch of moves this year at the deadline. As Brian Engblom so aptly pointed out on his blog on Hockeybuzz, too many people have no trade clauses and this has GM's completely hamstrung. When you throw in the new fad of giving superstars (Ovechkin) and not so super-stars (Mike Richards, Rick DiPietro) huge long term contracts , that further compounds the difficulty of trading for those put-your-team-over-the-top players.

Yes there is Mats Sundin who now may be stoned to death by aggravated Leafs fans for not readily waiving his NTC. And then there's Marian Hossa who could be pinching the Trashers into trading him for 50 cents on the dollar. But when I look around I just don't see too many teams that seem willing to swing big name guys for future fixes.

Since when is Vinny Prospal, who only shows up every other year, considered a "ringer" come trade time?!

To me this lack of deadline star power is wrong, as hockey to me has always been defined by a nearly universal willingness to trade whomever and whatever to a crappy team to gain an advantage.

I mean, where are those insane six player deals that would be roundly rejected in almost any hockey fantasy league?

Give me the Avs selling off the farm for 14 games from Theo Fleury! At least it would be more exciting than watching them squeak out wins over the likes of the Coyotes after dropping a pair to the Wings and Ducks!

Come on boys! Let's get with the gettin!