So ends another week of strange futility by the Avalanche. I can’t decide what to write about them because really, I can’t figure out anything to write about. I actually had this conversation with a friend today over the phone:
“I have nothing to write about, and I don’t think many people can say much about the Avalanche that isn’t obvious. They either stink badly or only stink a little. The Denver Post just did an article about how Paul Stastny uses wood sticks for crying out loud! This team can’t even seem to be interestingly bad most of the time. ”
“Didn’t Budaj get a shutout in the last game? You can write about that.”
“I don’t want to. There are shutouts which are well deserved. And there are shutouts which are the product of desperation. You know, like how a guy who knows he might get fired starts pumping out a ridiculous amount of work? Well, Budaj’s was the latter. My head hurts.”
Even worse, have you ever had one of those dead weeks in sports where not even your fantasy squad meets with much luck? You know the kind where none of your goalies do anything of merit against easy teams?
I had one of those weeks this week.
Neither the Avalanche nor the Iron Mullets did much except lose. On top of that, nothing feels quite as lame as having your real and fantasy Captain go down with a bad back...
The lameness isn’t a good or bad feeling so much as it is neither shocking nor unpredictable.
One of the more interesting developments this week was Darcy Tucker finding his way onto the score sheet. Tucker has chalked up 6 points in 14 games and sits at minus-2 on the season. Contrast that with Andrew Brunette who has 9 points in 13 games and is also a minus-2.
Tucker makes 2,250,000 a season
Brunette makes 2,333,000 a season
Bruno has more points in fewer games and costs a mere 83,000 more in Monopoly money. I’m not quite sure what this means but I swear I’m not at all bitter about it.
In better news, T.J. Hensick and Kyle Cumiskey were brought up for a tour with the big club, which caused me to start a list:
Signs You Might Want to Avoid Becoming Emotionally Attached to Your Hockey Team
#1 Your 39 year old warhorse goes out with a bad back a month into the season.
#2 Fans are begging the coach to play the kids with less than a quarter of the season gone, and their wish is granted out of sheer necessity.
#3 Your goalie follows up five embarrassing losses with a shutout. (Because, you know, enough is enough already!)
#4 Your team has people who felt that pillaging at least one player from the Maple Leafs was a good idea.
I got tired of writing the list after number four because I got distracted by a rerun of Bear Grylls dissecting and then sleeping in a camel.
Writing about this team is frustrating.
One of the problems that the Avalanche is having is a glaring identity problem. This team is attempting to be both bruising and built for speed. If I had to wager I would say that coming out of the lockout management felt that the game was going in a newer, faster direction ala the Buffalo Sabres. Only the new style hung around for precisely one season in the Western Conference.
Sports in general are all about systems. This is why Detroit never seemed to falter after the lockout. Ken Holland and Scottie Bowman had a system, and spent the last decade drafting players tailored to Detroit’s method of hockey. The reason the Avalanche are struggling is that they are a mish-mash of players tailored to various coaching systems.
The Avalanche caught their mistake and seem to be attempting to turn the tide, but at times the tide seems directionless. Throw in a new/old coach and the system gets even more convoluted.
In order to see some kind of success this year the team must answer a question that many fans are beginning to ask: Who exactly are the Avalanche?
If only because I’d like to have something interesting to write about…