Saturday, April 17, 2010

Like Pucks Through the Hourglass...

Not so fresh off of what I am calling "Hockey Day in Korea," I feel I owe it to you, my readers, to drag my husk of a goaltender's body out of bed to deliver a new DNP. These are the playoffs after all, and if our boys in burgundy can get up and take it to the mighty Sharks, I can certainly sit in a chair and slap a keyboard.

The day began full of hope and anticipation as YOUR Colorado Avalanche took on the Sharks in San Jose, and ended with yours truly getting beaten in Cheongju, Korea by a shot that defied all logic and bounced into the goal off of my back. Kill me.

A few thoughts have been rattling around in my head since yesterday's overtime loss.

First, if the Avs had a top-flight, shut down defensemen, they would be up 2-0 on the Sharks and the terrible, constantly booing fans of San Jose would be trying to figure out how their Sharks were beaten by a bunch of upstart punks, 5-2.

Second, Ryan O'Reilly is neither man or machine. Rather he is an interstellar entity made of pure energy and sandpaper. I hereby call upon the Colorado Avalanche Research and Development Department to assemble the world's best scientists to research O'Reilly, and find a way to duplicate him in the form of a shut down defenseman.

Finally, if Daejeon had anything resembling actual, decent nachos, complete with "cheese" and jalapenos (or even better "deluxe" nachos with meat, sour cream, and guacamole like they have at the Pepsi Center) I would not have a blog, I would have a giant tub of nachos in the center of my tiny Korean apartment which I would swim through like Scrooge McDuck. I have seen "nachos" here and I would not touch them with a ten foot pole. Fake cheese is not supposed to be pinkish, or greenish. It is supposed to be neon yellow and taste like "spicy."

Surely the Avalanche have been defying expectations all season, but it is my belief that a series victory over San Jose would not only force that portion of California into hiding in their mom's basements out of shame, but would put the Avalanche on the fast track towards dominance next season.

Until the last game against the Sharks, the Avalanche had shown poise and confidence beyond their years. Behind the extremely stout goaltending of Craig Anderson they have given hope to many Colorado hockey fans who were otherwise ready to hunker down for many years of rebuilding.

Anderson did his best once again to stop the bleeding against the incredibly talented Sharks, stopping the puck 46 out of 52 times, but if the Avalanche are to have any chance of surviving the first round, they must patch the holes in their defense.

Ryan O'Reilly aside, the Avalanche seemed more like a group of eight year old children chasing around a soccer ball than a group of professional hockey players. They took penalties when penalties weren't necessary and avoided intelligent defensive zone tactics at inopportune moments.

I'm certain Joe Sacco did his best to explain to the boys that when you have the puck on your stick in your own zone on the penalty kill, the best option is to always hammer the thing to the other side of the rink, but this logic seemed to escape the Avalanche. Chalk one up to "lessons learned during your first playoff series."

This is a team of the future, but for them to have any chance of taking control of this series at home the Avalanche must play smarter and harder in their own zone.

If not, their inadequacies on defense will come back to bite them.

Pun intended.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pony is a Dish Best Served Cold

It is a grim day in Colorado sports history. Perennial patron of philanthropic pursuits Brandon Marshall has been traded to the Dolphins. Let me be the first to say how appalled I am by such an irrational move by such a storied blaggah de bloy blooo!

Excuse me.

As I was saying, who in their right mind would TJKDLSDFNGAJKKKKK!

Pardon me.

As a tax paying American citizen of sound mind and constitution I can only think one thought at such a seminal point in Colorado sports history:


That's right folks, after what has seemed like far too long, YOUR Colorado Avalanche are back in the big shoe! And what better way to start off the festivities than a little in-game blog. So un-bind those soiled Broncos pantaloons of yours and kick back for some sizzlin' hockey action!

As always, this one's for the children.


"Eh, once we get, uh, kinda that first shift under our belt everybody'll be good. But, uh, like I said, like, us everybody's been kinda sayin'; nobody been predictin' us to get into da playoffs, so we're just, uh, enjoyin' it right now, and we're gonna go out there and play hard and give 'em a good series for sure."

No front teeth. Wicked mohawk. Cody McCloud, ladies and gents!

First period

28 seconds- Penalty Chris Stewart. San Jose power play.

Did I mention this team is jocked? Calm down Avs.

Dany Heatley, fresh off of a stellar season played entirely out of spite for the Ottawa Senators, fires a howitzer into Craig Anderson as twelve Sharks shove the net off of its moorings. Two words nobody is using to describe the Sharks this season: hard up.

The Avalanche do manage to settle down a bit, and with a couple more stops by Andy this penalty is killed! The Sharks bench already looks unhappy.

While the teams grind it out I'd like to take a moment to jinx the hell out of the Sharks by pointing out how they have lost the first game of the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.

3:13- Ryane Clowe takes a sickle to the face of T.J. Galiardi. No penalty. Angry!

2:42- John-Michael Liles rings one off the post! I'm glad the Avs didn't trade Liles. He's been good for more than a few threatening shots on net lately.


I'd like to take a moment to give credit to the people of Phoenix for finding their way to Glendale in 90 degree heat for the game against Detroit. As my buddy Reggie, possibly the only decent Coyotes fan (by decent I mean he happens to be an Avs fan living in Phoenix, I refuse to believe there are actual Yotes fans) on the planet said recently, "last year I made it to six Yotes games and there were no people. This year they're actually good but we had a kid, so I couldn't make it to any games...not that anybody was going. Now they are in the playoffs and I can't get a ticket, and they are moving the team next season."

Desert hockey ladies and gentlemen!

Second Period

12:52- 4 on 4 hockey. Maybe it's me but something tells me the Avalanche might excel against the Sharks because of their skating. Maybe it is because Sharks are fat and slow.

11:40- The Avs buzz the net with Duchene and Liles skating circles around the Sharks defense.

I'd like to give kudos to Mike Haynes and Peter McNabb for constantly bringing up San Jose's shortcomings in the playoffs, specifically those of Joe Thornton. They are masters at the art of jinxing the hell out of opponents.

10:20- Sharks fans almost get a half-hearted cheer going. Good job gang. They are cheering for the #1 seed in the conference, yet their cheering always sounds forced. If I were a Sharks fan I wouldn't get my hopes up either.

8:14- Rob Blake goes to the box for hooking. No moleste!

Power play Avs.

Haynes mentions that the Avs have scored more power play goals against the Sharks this season than the Sharks have against the Avs. Yep, yep. Unh, huh. Keep it comin'.

7:22- SCORE!!!! John! Michael! Liles!

1-0 Avalanche.

Keep the focus, boys.

4:07- Matt Duchene heads off after getting slashed in the face by Evgeni Nabokov's stick. Again, no call. I'm starting to think the refs don't care too much if an Avs player takes some lumber in the grill.

3:35- The Avs surge, capped off by a point blank shot by Kyle Quincey. The boys seem to get riled up every time a young Avalanche star heads off the ice with an injury. I don't want the Sharks to hurt the Avs, but if it helps for them to draw blood, then so be it.

2:53- The Avs go on the power play after putting on a puck control clinic during the delay before a Sharks hooking call. All I can think of at this point is that Avs fans are going to enjoy many, many years of this kind of play, and it is only going to get better.

Power play Avs.

Duchene is literally bleeding from the mouth while skating on the power play. I believe this is known as "leadership."

The Sharks kill off the penalty but not before putting all of Silicon Valley to sleep.


Maybe I'm wrong but did I just hear that Chris Pronger scored his first goal against Marty Brodeur since 1997? Rewinding...yep! 1997. Wow. You would think he would have found a way to elbow a Devil with the puck past Marty sooner than that.

Third Period

19:30- Mike Haynes wonders if the Sharks are "squeezin' those sticks a little tighter." I don't think the Sharks can squeeze their sticks any tighter than they have over the last three years, Mike. They're crushing diamonds!

12:01- Score, Sharks. Ryane Clowe turns away from the boards and throws one in, utilizing a garbage move from the Olympics known as "The Crosby Special."

1-1 game.

10:00-7:40- I think the NHL should start tracking debris on the ice, just because nothing says "playoff hockey" quite like debris on the ice. For two minutes and twenty seconds Torrey Mitchell's broken stick sat along the end boards behind Craig Anderson. During this time Anderson stopped Joe Thornton point blank twice, Evgeni Nabokov fended off a solid shot by Adam Foote, T.J. Galiardi was boarded by two Sharks defenders, and Anderson stopped another chance off of the rush.

I like to think Detroit works on things like "passing the puck off of loose stick blades" in practice. Just like how they practice firing the puck off of the end board just to the right of the opposing goal at The Joe. You know the one that makes the puck rebound right in front of the net? God I hate Detroit.

6:44- Whoa nelly! Speaking of funky bounces, Anderson makes a diving save off of a dump-in that appears to have deflected off the stanchion at the end of the Avalanche bench and caromed straight at the Avalanche goal. That's all the Avs need is to lose on a stupid goal like that and have someone like Pierre McGuire make a jackassed remark about how San Jose got the "bounces" and not understand that that isn't a funny joke or appropriate analysis under any circumstances. That said, the Avs need some bounces.

2:00- Crunch time.


49 seconds- SCORE! Chris Stewart off of Rob Blake's foot in front of the net! GIDDYUP!

You want good bounces? You got good bounces!

Go Avalanche!