Archive for the ‘Game Thoughts’ Category


I thought it was going to be tough for the Avs to come out and have play strong after fighting hard down the stretch only to come up short. That combined with this being the last game of the season had all the makings of a blowout, and that is exactly what happened.

I did not get a chance to watch the game, but after seeing the score it is tough to say I wish I would have watched. Nashville got the scoring started three minutes into the game when David Legwand beat Giguere, glove side. Not much of a surprise, because Giguere is 100% positioning, and as long as the shot is not at a spot he already occupies and it on net, it’s going in.

I give the Avs some credit for bouncing back though. Matt Duchene scooped up a juicy rebound and knocked it in. Duchene had a very rough season, but at least he can go out on a high note. It was an easy goal because Nashville goalie Anders Lindback didn’t know where the puck was, but it was a solid play from the whole team to get the puck into the net. Unfortunately for the Avs, it was all downhill from there.

The Preds scored five unanswered goals. From what I’ve seen, most of them were soft. After Nashville scored with a second left in the first period to make it 3-1, I would imagine the Avs called it a night. It was a meaningless game, their hopes had just been deflated, and the motion of a slapshot could affect their golf swings tomorrow. If the Avs wouldn’t have gave away their jerseys at the end of the game, I’m pretty sure the final horn would have sounded into an empty Pepsi Center.

The offseason will be filled with a lot of questions and excitement for Avs fans. What kind of contracts will Duchene and O’Reilly get? How much will Erik Johnson get? How much cap room will Colorado have after resigning most of their free agents? Will players like Jay McClement and Cody McLeod be wearing an Avs sweater next fall? Will the Avs make a run at a big free agent this summer, someone like Zach Parise, Alex Semin, or Ryan Suter? And lastly, has Milan Hejduk played his final game in the NHL? All of these questions, and many more will be answered in the coming months. It will be very interesting to see what direction the Avs go this summer.

I will hopefully keep the blog updated over the summer about all of the Avs signing, trades, draft picks etc. It will be an exciting time for Avs fans. Now begins the stretch of 6 months without Avs hockey, but the 2012 playoffs will be fun for hockey fans everywhere.

Thanks for reading this year, and I hope you continue to check in for Avs info over the summer, but definitely with the start of what should be a thrilling Avalanche season starting in October.

For a game that had much more meaning than I would have thought 5 days ago, the Colorado Avalanche came out flat, and never held a lead against the worst team in the NHL.

Everything went right for the Avs tonight…outside of Pepsi Center. The Stars lost, the Kings grabbed an early lead, but Colorado could not find a way to beat Steve Mason and the worst NHL team this year. The Avs split the season series with the bottom dwellers, and ultimately that is why they are not going to the playoffs. After a five day break, and their season on the line, the Avs came out like it was November. Just an average game, so they gave an average effort.

Columbus got on the board a little over six minutes into the game, on a breakaway goal. Teams started to figure Varlamov out on breakaways as the season came to an end, but that is not the story. In the absolute biggest game of the year, the Avs simply cannot give up breakaways like they did. Unacceptable.

They fought back, and I thought they turned the motors on when David Jones tipped a McGinn pass, past Mason. They had things tied up, and it was still early. The momentum was on their side, and they were playing an awful team, but it didn’t matter.

Rick Nash found the net with two and a half minutes left in the first period to give the Jackets the lead. Varlamov thought he had the puck, but it squeezed past him and Nash was able to get the puck into the wide open net. Huge momentum killer. In games like this, the Avs have to bury the game early, the longer it stays close the more the Blue Jackets are going to want it, and that is why the Jackets won.

Erik Johnson drew a 4 minute, double minor penalty from a high stick, and the Avs quickly capitalized on the powerplay. Paul Stastny was able to lift a backhand over Mason’s left pad and into the net. The Avs still had a full 2 minute powerplay after the goal, but couldn’t find a way to take the lead. That was the game changer, the momentum killer, and it was all downhill from there.

Paul Stastny and Ryan O’Byrne took penalties 30 seconds apart that resulted in the game winning goal on the powerplay. Rick Nash beat Varlamov high glove before Varlamov could get from one post to the other to make the save. If the Avs would have killed off the 5-3, it really could have gotten them back into the game.

Columbus added another goal about 12 minutes into the period which put the nail in the coffin. I kept telling myself that if there was one team the Avs could come back on, it was the Jackets, but they had the door shut on them by Mason. The Avs didn’t have too many quality chances to begin with, not once was I telling myself they should have scored on a particular play, but any potential chances were stopped by Mason.

The Avs kept constant pressure on Columbus in the third, but just couldn’t score. They ended up pulling Varlamov with 4 minutes left in a desperation move that resulted in Cam Atkinson scoring an empty netter for his hat trick. In my mind, there were many individual accomplishments that players can hang their hats on this season, but as far as I’m concerned, but only positive outcome from a team standpoint is, it does not look like Washington will end up having a top 10 pick from the Avs in the next draft.

The last game of the Avs season will be played on Saturday against the Nashville Predators at Pepsi Center. The game starts at 7 p.m. Mountain time.

It is probably too little too late, but the Avs can feel a little better about themselves after beating the Flames 4-1 on their final road game of the season.

Colorado got off to a perfect start tonight, showing a lot of energy and generating some good chances. Those chances were quickly rewarded when “Mark Olver” scored 3:21 into the first period. Jay Bouwmeester actually scored on his own goal, but after all the complete domination the Flames had over the Avs for a long time, they deserve a lucky break.

The shots kept coming, and just under halfway through the period, Erik Johnson made a great play with the puck circling behind Calgary’s net, bringing it back out to the point, and then got the puck to the net where David Jones was able to tip it past Kiprusoff. The Avs took thier foot off of the gas a little after this goal, but Varlamov was very solid in net to maintain the two goal lead.

At 8:29 of the second period, Milan Hejduk slapped one past Kiprusoff’s blocker making it 3-0. The Avs put their game on cruise control. The Flames however, did not. But once again Semyon Varlamov was SOLID in net, and kept the Flames off of the board.

You have to give Calgary a lot of credit for continuing to kick back. They easily could have called it a night and just make sure the score didn’t get out of hand, but they kept constant pressure on the Avs for most of the game.

The third period was all defense for the Avs. They were making sure that Calgary didn’t get any momentum, and they did a good job. In fact, the Avs probably took more momentum away from Calgary by having Varlamov frustrate them constantly.

The Flames ultimately ended Varlamov’s shutout with 38 seconds left in the game when Jarome Iginla buried one in the top left corner on a 6-4 powerplay. Disappointing to see Varlamov not rewarded with a shutout (especially for my fantasy squad) but it was a good shot.

The Flames kept Kiprusoff on the bench and five seconds later, Peter Mueller scored a backhanded empty netter.

All in all, it was good to see the Avs win, but with LA winning, and the Avs having only 2 games left…it is a meaningless 2 points.

The Avs next game is Thursday against the Blue Jackets at Pepsi Center. The game begins at 7 p.m. Mountain time.

If there was any hope left for the Avs to make the playoffs before the game, there no longer is after the game.

The Avs got off to a good start tonight. They came out how I expected them to play against San Jose. I saw a lot of energy and quickly got a 6-1 shot advantage against the Canucks, but tonight it was the powerplay that doomed them.
Colorado did a great job killing off a 5-3 powerplay for the Canucks halfway through the period that seemed to give them a lot of momentum, but momentum went right back to the Canucks when Chris Higgins scored on a shorthanded breakaway with less than 3 minutes left in the period.

The breakaway was a result of some sketchy stick handling by Matt Hunwick followed by his indecision about whether to go for the puck, or get back on defense. The goal took a ton of energy away from the Avs.

The rest of the game reminded me of the Avs of early in the season. They were getting chances, they were getting a lot of shots, but they couldn’t find the back of the net. I have to give a lot of credit to Cory Schneider because he played fantastic, but the Avs had 5 powerplays, plus an empty net for 1:30 at the end of the game, and just couldn’t score.

They definitely had some chances, but nothing that absolutely should have gone in. Schneider didn’t allow the Avs to score on him all year. All 85ish minutes. Vancouver is 15-0-2 against the Avs in the last 17 games, and I thought Calgary gave the Avs fits.

The bottom line this year is the Avs blew it. They had games against Phoenix and San Jose, a 2-0 lead against Vancouver, and allowed only 1 goal to Vancouver in a separate game, all down the stretch. If the Avs get even 4 points from those 4 games they probably make the playoffs, but they ended up with only 1. That truly shows that the Avs are the youngest, most inexperienced team in the league. These next 3 games will be interesting with no meaningful games for the Avs or any of their opponents left.

The Avs next game is Friday against the Calgary Flames in Alberta. The game starts at 7 p.m. Mountain time.

Well, the Avs gave it a good run this season, but after tonight I do not think there is any chance left for Colorado to play in the postseason.

The Avs played the first period like it was a preseason game. I saw no urgency and they didn’t capitalize on what chances they had.

Surprisingly the period ended without a goal, but there was a lot of action. Semyon Varlamov stopped a breakaway from Patrick Marleau just 5 minutes into the game. I thought that save might wake up the Avs, but there was little change. The best chance for the Avs in the period came from Matt Hunwick who drew Antti Niemi out of the net, swooped behind the goal line, but couldn’t get the pass to the front of the net.

The heartbreak started early in the second period. Less than 4 minutes in, Joe Pavelski beat Varlamov to give the Sharks the lead. If Pavelski and Mike Smith ever end up on the same team, I don’t think the Avs would ever beat them. Pavelski owns the Avs.

Five and a half minutes later the Sharks added another. Andrew Desjardans fired a wrist shot from the faceoff dot that bounced off and then under Varlamov’s pad. Shane O’Brien did a pretty good job screening Varlamov on the play. I’m not really sure what he was doing. I thought the game was over right then and there.

But Shane O’Brien had a different idea, and made up for the screen two and a half minutes later by finally cracking Niemi. The credit should go to Ryan O’Reilly who made a great pass that set O’Brien up for the tap in. Suddenly there was life and for a while the Avs had a ton of momentum but couldn’t get the tying goal. Other than the goal scored, Shane O’Brien had an awful game.

The Sharks were not done with scoring either, and with just over 4 minutes left in the period Torrey Mitchell put the Sharks back up by two. This time is was Jan Hejda who was to blame. He fell down in the crease, blocking Varlamov from moving across to try and stop the shot.

At the end of the period, O’Brien lost the puck between his feet in San Jose’s zone, and took a penalty after he cross checked the closest man to him. This penalty led to a Joe Pavelski powerplay goal early in the third. The puck was just sitting between Varly’s pads for a while, but Pavelski managed to get a stick on it and put it in. This goal also led me to turning the game off.

I’m sure the third period was just as awful as the rest of the game, however. It looks like San Jose just added an empty netter with 3:30+ left in the game, which is an interesting move by Sacco.

Other notes:

-A win would have been huge tonight, with LA, Dallas, and what would have been SJ all losing.

-Matt Duchene is that kid on your 6th grade team everyone hated, but was good enough to make him needed. And by that I mean he is a bit of a puck hog. He holds onto the puck WAY too long and uses way more finesse than anyone should.

-This game easily could have been 8-1 or 9-1. The Sharks missed some gift wrapped chances and Semyon kept the Avs close for a long time.

The Avs next game is Wednesday against the Canucks in Vancouver. The game starts at 7 p.m. Mountain time and will probably be meaningless for both teams.

The quicker I write this one tonight, the better, because it is hard to swallow. The Avs did manage to get a point but lost ground on most of the playoff contenders.

I didn’t get to watch all of the first period, but it looks like the Avs had a great period. Just over a minute into the game Landeskog knocked one in on the powerplay to take the early need. Exactly what the Avs needed against such a good team. But a terrible penalty by the Canucks to take a too many men penalty on the first line change of the game.

Then the Avs kill off a 5-3 powerplay for the Canucks. That has to be a huge momentum swing toward the Avs for killing off over a minute of a two man advantage. All and all, I couldn’t have asked for a better period from Colorado.

And then halfway through the second period, Semyon Varlamov makes the play of the game when he makes a tremendous pass from his crease to the Canucks blue line right to Paul Stastny who quickly got it to Jamie McGinn who beat Luongo stick side for a 2-0 lead.

I think the Avs relaxed after the goal and Vancouver never let them get their edge back. Six minutes later, Mason Raymond scored a powerplay goal over Varlamov’s glove and you could just feel it coming. The Canucks were turning it on and the Avs were sitting on the side of the road with their hood up and steam coming out.

Two minutes later, Chris Higgins got the puck in the slot, skated left, shot right, and beat Varlamov over the glove again. The tie game awoke the Avs, but Roberto Luongo is too good for a team to blow a 2-0 lead against him.

The Avs actually did a good job getting back in the game by not letting Vancouver get another goal. There was a lot of sitting back in the third period, they had chances of their own but Luongo was solid.

Overtime was a disaster. The Avs looked as comfortable on the ice as two strangers in a long elevator ride. Tyson Barrie made a TERRIBLE play by letting Jannik Hansen push him off the puck in his own zone with the force of a 10th grader. Hansen quickly got the puck to Higgins who one timed it past Varlamov for the win. Terrible play, terrible loss, terrible night for the Avs.

Other notes:

-Duchene looked better and worse. He had A TON of chances, but was not even close to scoring.

-Luongo had a great game for the Canucks

-Peter Mueller a healthy scratch for Chuck Kobasew? You can do that in November, but not with 6 games left fighting for a playoff spot.

-Three point game for SJ/PHX so the Avs lose ground on SJ and don’t gain any on PHX. Just awful. The Stars also won and the only good thing that happened for the Avs was a Kings loss to Boston.

-The Avs have an essential win or you’re not making the playoffs on Monday. They have to get it done.

The Avs next game is Monday against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion. The game starts at 8:30 p.m. Mountain time.