Brad May Out, Nobody Notices

The other Avs news is that Brad May is out 4-6 months for shoulder surgery he suffered in the Avs / Wings game I was at. From TSN:

”After further medical testing and evaluation it was determined that surgery was necessary,” said Avalanche head athletic trainer Matthew Sokolowski. ”The procedure took place yesterday and we are anticipating a full recovery in 4-6 months.”

Just like the Avs, he has surgery, then announce his status. This is why it’s hard to be an Avs fan, and an Avs blogger. They treat news like this is a White House press briefing. Come on, guys, help us like you.

My question is, how did May get hurt? I was at that game, and I didn’t see him do anything. Maybe it was when he was patting himself on the back for winning his fight. He won’t be missed much, a monkey could fill his skates. An untrained monkey. But with the news of Steve Konowalchuk retiring today, there are more holes in the lineup than ever. But Brad May? Hell, bring back Jim Cummins, for all I care. And I hate (as much as I can hate someone I don’t know) Cummins.


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Konowalchuk Retires

Steve Konowalchuk has decided to retire today, following an abnormal EKG test. After further testing, it seams there has been more of a problem than was originally thought.

From the Colorado Avalanche website:

Konowalchuk made this decision official after undergoing an additional series of tests relating to his heart condition. This condition was detected during medical tests that all Avalanche players underwent prior to the start of training camp. Results from a standard EKG test revealed an abnormal reading.

“In Steve’s case, the abnormal reading prompted further tests which revealed he has Long QT Syndrome, a genetic disease involving electrical conduction which can lead to irregular heart rhythms,” said Dr. Steve Friedrich, Avalanche cardiologist. “These findings were confirmed through a series of tests that Steve underwent at the University of Rochester Cardiac Center in New York, which runs an international LQTS registry and is a research center for the syndrome. Steve and the physicians in Rochester conferred with multiple national centers in order to form a consensus regarding his condition.”

So the biggest fears have been realized. Aside from being completely sad for a person who gave a lot to the team, Steve Konowalchuk is one of those guys I would challenge anyone to hate. When the mud is slung around at any player for anything (big misdeeds to small), none of it sticks to Steve. He came to the Avs when Paul Kariya was injured, and stepped up to the plate with leadership. He played way beyond his number ever indicated.

From Steve, via the same article:

“This has been a very painful process, but I’m very proud of a long NHL career and happy to have a lifetime of special memories and friends to take with me.”

What a way to retire. I’ll have more of the colder what-should-the-Avs-do-now thing later. Right now, I’m just sad.

Avs Profiled in the Paper(s)

The Avalanche players have been showing up piecemeal in our Denver newspapers, pretty much just little profile pieces. For those who don’t know, the relationship between the two papers is dubious at best. They share the same building, one delivers on Saturday, while the other delivers on Sunday, and they are entirely too agreeable with each other. They have pretty much been splitting the players between themselves. Here now, I make with the linky-links:

Jose Theodore

Peter Budaj

Ian Laperriere

Marek Svatos

Ken Klee

John-Michael Liles

Joe Sakic

Milan Hejduk

Ossi Vaananen

Tyler Weiman

Tyler Arnason

I’m sure more are to come. We’ll see what we can do to get them up. Enjoy, do your homework

A Quick Note to Media People

To all the media people who snub Tie Domi,

Please stop bashing Domi, for your own sake. You have had access to his locker room for years. He now has access to your buffet. This is called accountability.


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Avs vs. Stars: the Tilt

The Avs and the Stars played a preseason game in Dallas last night. Let’s see what we have here.

Jose Theodore lets in 3 goals on 4 shots in the first period. No matter who wins, that may be the most telling thing about the game.

Stastny is playing some with Hejduk and Brunette. That is normally Sakic’s place. That tells me how much they think of Stastny.

Stars suck not nearly as much as the Wings. Just saying.

Everyone seams to be chipping in on goals: Laaksonen, Laperriere, Arnason (for real this time), Hejduk, and Brunette (who also had two assists).

All but one Avs goal came on the PP. Dallas had a bad night, taking 10 minors (6 for the Avs).Avs get one 5 on 3 goal, which they did not the night I saw them. No punch-in-the-face contests.Why? May was watching the game.

Avs win, 5-3. Overall, the only one who shows up looking shaky on the game sheet is Theodore (3 goals on 6 shots for 30:17 of play). Peter Budaj saw 9 shots, stopping them all. Even Svatos was seeing some action tonight (13:40 of ice time). The step up people are becoming obvious.

Scoresheet
Recap

Is it just me, or is it kind of sad that the Colorado Avalanche website posts it’s game recaps directly from the AP?


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Does This Sell Papers in Canada?

The hockey season starts with some usual suspects every year. The overpriced preseason, hockey pools, bets on how long it takes Eric Lindros to get hurt, and the “story” about how hockey is so small and underachieving in America.

From Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star:

With a new season set to open next week, the National Hockey League is facing a new challenge to avoid hockey being dismissed as a minor sport in many major American markets.

U.S. TV ratings for the NHL hit an all-time low last season and newspapers in the league’s two largest markets, New York and Los Angeles, have either decided against sending reporters on the road with their home teams or are considering doing so.

Let’s get this straight. First off, the second paragraph is old news, which has been reported on at length in the blogs around the web. Like Sharkspage, for starters. OK, that could be considered news.

But come on. How much do Canadian newspapers need to tell Canadian readers that the sport is less popular in the states than Canada? What does this do for Canadians? Does this grow the sport? Tell them something they didn’t know? Sell newspapers? Ah, there you go. What was The Hockey News leading with during the Stanley Cup Finals? That the finals were on TV, and nobody was watching (What was that I was tuning in to? Fear Factor NHL Edition?). One word for it: hack.

Tell me you haven’t heard it all before. Tell me you haven’t heard about how nobody cares about hockey, while you are wearing your favorite jersey. Tell me this ‘reporting’ does anything for you. Some guy bangs out a hack article about the NHL in America, and pats himself on the back. We, the people who read about hockey, KNOW THIS ALREADY. Hockey fans know the size of the game in the States. And WE, not you at the Toronto Star, are doing something about it. We are writing about hockey, not hacking out sorry articles slanted to make the Canadians in the house feel better about themselves, or even just the us against the world mentality. It’s HACK. It’s been done before, to death, and much better. I didn’t think I would do this, but Chad Zelkovich, you’re on notice:

JAHL on notice

Want to write something worth reading, Chris? Here’s a challenge. Go find some hockey fans in America. Not just the easy hockey America, Original Fix America, go find some in the fun and surprising parts of America. Go read All Roads Lead to Hockey, by William T. Boyd, especially the chapter set in a border town of Texas. Do some leg work, and tell me something different. When one NASCAR event can bring out 100,000 people (on a slow day), and hockey lags behind dramatically, you could bang out an article without any research at all. Why don’t you go find some real fans in America, instead of pointing to the numbers. Find the people who can’t afford to go the the rink all the time, or the people who ride the bus to the out of town games, to cheer on their minor league team. Go talk to the people you consider hockey dumb, or even non-existent. Find out where they go after the game in Atlanta, or what the tailgaters who took the Carolina Hurricanes into their hearts before the Cup win are like.

Hey, I’ll tell you what. Don’t bother, Chris. I’ll do it for you. That’s the gauntlet.

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John Buccigross, How I Wanted To Miss You

John Buccigross made his return Monday, with his weekly column on ESPN.com. For those of you who don’t know who Bucci is, (and I discovered last night that some people don’t), he is one of the few employees who love and promote hockey. He, along with Barry Melrose (you know that name) and Ray Ferraro (that one too, I’m guessing) were on nhl2night, the post game and late night hockey wrap show that was canceled with the lockout and the television contract moving to OLN. Bucci is one of those guys on sports shows who can turn the volume down, be likable, and doesn’t seem to fit in with the mainstream. Like Dennis Miller (without being conceited) , he brings in some obscure references (mostly indie bands, and U2) that you feel cool to catch.

John Buccigross writes an article a week (or so) through the season. He was doing caption contests, making predictions, and this year starts us off with predictions for the Eastern Conference. But first, an extended rant about his Uncle!!! Crap, I’m going to fall asleep. He gets to hockey eventually, telling us how hockey is just the right size of market share for what it is. Whoo – hoo. Thanks for the update. Finally, on to the teams.

From his New York Islanders prediction:

Am I the only guy in the world who doesn’t think the Rick DiPietro signing was outlandish? (Booming, Michael Clarke Duncan voice from above: “Yes, John, you are.”) If DiPietro becomes a top-five goalie, it’s a great deal for the Islanders. If he becomes a top-10 goalie, it’s about right. Goalies can play for a long time.

If you are not jumping up and down on your chair, screaming at this, you have a better grip on life than me (not really surprising). But, come on. Is this for real? Bucci isn’t dumb, and often is allowed (remember, this is ESPN) to say what he wants. But would you put Martin Brodeur a 15 year contract five years after he was drafted? Or Patrick Roy? Or any goalie? Luongo has been traded twice since he came to the league, and is thought of as one of the best around. Goalies can play for a long time? Dude.

After that, I stopped reading. I admit it, I was bored. There are predictions everywhere. After sifting through the first rant, looking for the relation to hockey, I moved on, bored, and lost interest. Why pick on one column? Why point to John Buccigross? Bucci is like a writer in the mist. He is part of the mainstream media, but is loose enough that he doesn’t seem like it. His column coming back marks the start of the season for a lot of hockey fans. And he is a good writer.

But there is so much good writing out there right now. There is so much, I don’t have time to read it all, which I wish I could. If you are here, reading this, you know there is more to it than what ESPN or TSN, or your local newspaper (who half the time just reprints stories of the wire) has to say. I’ve listed a bunch on the right, and am constantly talking about them. And it’s really good writing. Bucci can go to a game with former players and tell you what that is like. I can go to a game, send updates from my seat, and tell you if it was worth the full price for preseason I paid (it was, but just the once). Bucci takes in hundreds of emails, while I take in my ten. I’m no Bucci, and I’m cool with that. But the Bucci column, if this is any indicator, tells me that I’m going to be sticking to the blogs this year.

If you want to find alternative sources for your Bucci like fix:
Caption contest every Friday at Waiting For Stanley
Humor and ranting at American Hockey Fan
Interesting and well written hockey stories at Eyes On The Prize
From the perspective of someone in the media at James Mirtle (his own blog)
Then click around the blogroll over to the right, and find some more you like. Stick with them.

Quick note: I like Bucci. I do. Reread that first paragraph. You’ll see. Good writer, seems nice, loves hockey. I’m not going to rip on him all season.


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Post Game Special

Some closing notes on tonights game (which are detailed and opinionated because I was at the game, so there):

* If I had my way, there would have been one or two posts tonight, rather than five. Unfortunately, the Palm does not have that sort of software. Also, my thumbs need to callus up. They are the ones who paid the price.

* The Avs preseason wins matter, the loses do not. That is the way it is. This is a fan blog, usually fair, and often balanced, but sometimes, you have to pull for your team, and that means pulling away from reason.

* Stastny with the goal in the second? I thought Arnason touched it. Damn. Arnason acted like he touched it. Damn. Well, anyways, Stastny rocks.

* I am not going to edit the previous posts. I was hurried during the game (which was liveblogging, like the format or not). No apologies.

* Williams and Samuelsson were the Wings I didn’t catch names of for the shootout. The booing was too loud. Of course, I was busy being a good little blogger. I sacrifice so much for this.

* Red Wings fans were everywhere. There was a time in this town when union workers would threaten your life for wearing a Wings jersey. I’ve seen it. What happened? The rivalry needs a boost. Regardless, they were very nice Wings fans.

* The Avs are in decent shape overall. Stastny will be sent down, even though he has done nothing short of earning a spot on the team. Sakic and Brunette round out tonight’s roster, and Klee can go away quite quick for all I care. See something different? Speak up. Comments are open.

* I had a great time at the game. Glad I went. I won’t liveblog every game I go to, but it sure was fun.

Scoresheet
Recap


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3rd Period

Richardson scores on the PP!.

Boychuk scores even strength. Double hell yeah!

Best taunt: “red and white makes you look fat!”

Wings score, and yet still suck. Go figure.

Skrastins cuts off a pass perfectly.

May earns his money in a punch in the face. May wins decisively, how embarassing for the Wings.

Klee trips, gets 2 minutes, hurts inside.

TV timeouts are better for blogging in than the game.

Jersey watch. Most unique jersey I have seen: Avs pink jersey. And yes, IwoCPO, it was on a woman.

Wings goal makes it 4-3 Detroit. Wings suck even worse. How unusual. Usualy goals make you better. Huh…

High stick to Laperiere. call is a little suspect.

I wish Brunette were playing.

Avs PK bails out Jose. Mad scramble behind Theodore. Why behind? Who knows. It’s Jose.

5 on 3 for the Avs for 1:21. Stastny is out for the PP, which makes me happy. He’s looking REALLY good out there.

Wolski is acting like a playmaker. Passing quick and crisp. He needs a line to work with regularly. He could shoot a little more. Like Thornton.

The Wings have iced a more balanced team tonight. But you can see where players like Sakic and Brunette are going to fit help make it a team.

AVS SCORE!!! 27.8 left on the clock! McLean gets it! We’ve got us some FREE HOCKEY!

OT:
Hejduk for tripping with1:28 left. Sadly, it was a good penalty to take.

and we go to the shootout.
It’s not sudden death, it’s ‘certain death.’ I like that.

The Zamboni drivers need more practice at the dry scrape.

Hejduk: miss
Houtler?: score
Stastny: SCORE!
Zetterburg: miss!
McLean: SCORE!!
?29wings: score
Wokski: SCORE!!!
37wings: MISS!!

AVS WIN!!!
5-4!!!


Sent from my Treo, from the winnerdome!

2nd period

Wolski plays hot potato. Hejduk isn’t ready.

Osgood looks good , but so does Theodore.

There was a time when a linesman knew how to jump over a puck.

Richardson for hooking. The crowd does it’s duty and boos. It’s a good call. Wings score on the PP.

PP avs. Let’s get it back.

AVS SCORE! Arnason from Stastny. Hell yeah!

Fire the scoreboard op. He’s got happy fingers.

Zetterburg in the box for hooking at the end of the period.

2-1 Wings. We got us a game.


Sent from my Treo