Friday, June 26, 2009

Drafting Up A Future

For those that had become used to seeing the Avalanche succeed up until the time of the lockout (and even for a couple of years thereafter) it has to boggle the mind that the Avalanche haven't managed to land a top five pick in the NHL draft in seventeen years.

Yep, the last time the Avalanche (then Nordiques) landed in a position to certifiably draft talent Dan Quayle was writing "potatoe" on a chalkboard in a classroom full children, John Gotti was getting hauled off to the clink, and yours truly was stumbling through high school while clad head to toe in flannel.

People, few things were good about calendar year 1992.

Flash forward to today, and I have to say the future looks a little bit brighter for our beloved hockey club. For the first time in a very long time, the Avalanche have managed to truck in some talent without having to trade Brian Rolston...or Alex Tanguay...or Chris Drury...or...I could go on.

Matt Duchene!

Now all we need is to find a team looking to fill their lineup with some scratch and dent players (Marek Svatos, Scott Hannan) and the Avalanche will be well on their way to success!

Success you say? How? They stink!

Yes kids, like many a crappy team before them the team from The Mountains is fully engaged in what I like to call "The National Hockey League's Talent Bailout Program!"

It is a simple program sponsored by Gary Bettman's irrational belief that parity is a good thing. All it takes is semi-coherent management and a group of athletes who are completely incapable of winning games. Mix in three to four years of pathetic performance, a few salary dumps here and there, a dash of fan sponsored apathy, and before long your team will be signing up top-five draft picks like NAMBLA sponsors at a Jonas Brothers concert!

No need to look any further than the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins as the best example of the benefits of prolonged tanking! Crosby, Malkin, Fleury. In fact the Pens acquired so much talent during their decade from hell that they were even able to throw some of it away (Esposito) in pursuit of players who later refused to play for them (Hossa), and still etch their names on that glorious chalice!

Need more examples?

Okay, how about the soon to be perennial Western Conference Finalist Chicago Blackhawks?

Oh and there's the St. Louis Blues...and what about the Phoenix Coyotes (save Wayne "I can't coach my way out of a wet paper sack" Gretzky)?

See a trend developing?

This is the great part of supporting a pathetic hockey team. At some point they will suck hard enough that they will be afforded the opportunity to get much, much better.

Better yet, if fans are lucky ticket prices will drop along with attendance, and Jim Balsille will swoop in and attempt to move the squad to Canada. At which point The Commish will step in, shut down the Canadian Supervillain and even *ahem* tilt the draft in your favor. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.

And like Christmas in July you have yourself the likes of Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin.

It's juuust that easy!

Now for the next act, getting
Jonas Gustavsson into a nice condo in Cherry Creek.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Because Sometimes You Get A Job

Okay, I admit it, I suck.

Having posted only one single rant wherein I held aloft the accomplishments the mighty Patrick Roy during calendar year 2009 I must hang my head lower than the vaunted Red Wings after they choked away the Stanley Cup.

I feel shame.

There are excuses. Oh yes, there are excuses!

Perhaps the best and worst thing ever to happen in the history of communication has been the advent of the good ol web log. It has allowed many a downtrodden or bored individual to throw up opinions for all the world to see in a public format. This can be good if you are an Avalanche fan (see the playoffs of 2008) and also bad...if you are an Avalanche fan (see the season from hell of 2009).

When I started hammering out these DNP's in 2007 I was in the middle of a quandary of Chaucerian proportions. Simply, it was the best of times, and the worst of times.

I was one of the first people laid off in what has become a very long year and a half for the rest of America. See, I work in architecture (General Contractors please arm your nail guns) and towards the end of the Bush era I think we all know what happened to the construction market. Kaputsky.

Strangely enough my unemployment at the beginning of last year led to me knocking out daily Dog and Ponies for the masses which in a short span of time gained me some notoriety (I think IWOCPO and his gang of idiots over at Kukla's Korner is still trying to find me so they can try and break my knees). I even got published in the Great Book of Denver Sports Lists by Irv Brown and Joe Williams, for which I was paid in nothing but honor. But in that case honor was more than enough.

Therein lay the crux of the problem. Writing gigs don't pay in money.

Flummoxed, and running out of government funding I signed on with a large firm in Phoenix (they have an iced hockey teem), and proceeded to work my living ass off for the entirely of the last calendar year. Much like my beloved Avalanche I was frequently beaten about the head and neck by stingy clientèle, and shortly after my mighty relocation *poof* no more Dog and Ponies for my hockey starved friends.

Bottom line, steady employment ruined by writing career.

All apologies gang.

LET IT BE KNOWN I still do pay attention to the sport of GOD and fully plan on righting this ship. Much like the Avalanche I am hard at work "cleaning house" so to speak, and fully intend to participate in the glorious art of writing for free so that you MY READERS have something to do when you aren't secretly burning discs of your work in your cubicles for use in future interviews.

A couple of quick comments from the last few months:

- Joe Sacco?!

Okay, so Patty Roy didn't want the gig. Fair enough. But could Lacroix have selected someone who has a name that won't completely confuse everyone?

In previous years I got the idea that Pierre always had something up his sleeve. This time around I'm convinced that he is fully intending on tanking the next four years of hockey in Denver.

Certainly Sacco did a good job working out the kids in the minors, but I can't help but get the idea that working as head coach for Pierre Lacroix must be worse than working for Donald Trump, i.e. piss off Pierre and you will never be allowed back in the building.

Bob Hartley isn't up to anything, and Marc Crawford got snapped up by Dallas...and these guys weren't on speed dial once Roy turned down the job? BOTH former Stanley Cup winning coaches weren't considered? Seriously, who did Bob Harley ever hurt? Did he crap in Lacroix's desk on the way out? I don't get it.

-Sidney Crosby didn't shake my hand fast enough and it made me feel poopy.

I find it amazing that all Chris Draper and Nik Lidstrom could do after CHOKING away a Stanley Cup was bitch about Sid the Kid not making it to the post-game lineup fast enough...because he was being interviewed. And then every Detroit fan on the planet spent the next week of their lives whining about it. Really? Weren't the Wings THE CLASS of the NHL? It is whining. It is lame. Stop acting like children. Red. Wings. Suck.

-Deader and Steve. Welcome back.

Even though Adam Deadmarsh and Steve Konowalchuk aren't playing we should all be happy that the Avs have two more leaders back in the or-gan-eye-zation who can help bring the club back to prominence.

-Now that the Avs certifiably suck does this mean Ryan Smyth is due for a career year?

(Someone had to point this out. For whatever reason Smitty thrives when he is THE guy)

-Will Wojtek ever be good?

Ummm...did you catch him in the shootouts last season? I say if he shows up to camp with some more body fat he may just have a (don't take this the wrong way) Todd Bertuzzi-like coming out party. Everyone forgets this but Bertuzzi wasn't Bertuzzi (pre-murderous rampage) until he was in the league for a few years and he grew into his body. I'm not sayin'...I'm just sayin'...

-Finally, Paul Stastny. Next great center of the Avalanche, or next great second line center?

Pay attention people, this next season will be crucial in Stastny's development. Can he stay healthy? Can he take over games? Again, this next season is HUGE for number 26.

That's all for now gang. It's good to be back from the woods.