Avs vs. Wild: At Least One Colorado Team Won

Talk about mixed emotions.

The Avs handed the Wild only their second loss in regulation. Mind you, that wasn’t super difficult for the Avs, as the Wild were missing Marian Gaborik, Pavol Demitra and Niklas Backstrom were all out. I mean, I could have gotten a goal. OK, no, I couldn’t. But Smyth, Svatos, and Wolski could. And did. Budaj had some stellar saves, while Josh Harding was decent in net, but had a goal go in off his melon. Two points against a division foe, it’s hard to complain. The game was decent to watch, but I was distracted, waiting for different game.

On the other end of the scale, in the world of baseball, the Rockies got swept by the Red Sox tonight to win the World Series. To say the Rockies were out matched, out classed, or out worked would have been to miss the series completely. It all came down to pitching, and the Rockies did not perform well enough on either side. The bats were never as hot, nor the arms throwing as well as the previous two series. In the series, the only wild pitch was thrown tonight, the venue didn’t matter, and right to the end, there was belief in the stands. As for the quality of the series, it could have been better. It could have been longer. It could have been a greater battle. It should have been. The Rockies were out played, but still, they showed up. They may have lost hard, but they didn’t just roll over and give up. They made it to the World Series. That alone will be great for baseball in Colorado. It created fans, and it created a new faithful.

Until a few hours ago, I had two baseball jerseys. One Red Sox, and one Rockies. Now, I own only one. I gave the Red Sox one away. I parted with a jersey. Me. I could never wear it again, in Denver, or elsewhere. I will still root on the Sox, in the American League, but even in “defeat”, the Rockies played themselves into my heart. Go Rockies.

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Avs Beat Flames: Nuff Said

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The Avs make it 2 road victories in a row, and you wouldn’t think that would be anything special. I mean, it’s just the road, right? The only unfortunate part it that they have given up another point to Calgary. That makes 2 points, or one whole win, and that’s the type of thing that can come back to haunt you.

That’s all I have on this one. I was laid up all night, and didn’t have a feed. Tomorrow, it’s the Avs vs the Wild, and I get the home feed. Plus, they scheduled the game around the World Series coming to Colorado for the first time. Ah, it’s nice to be from Denver.

Your blogger recaps:

Colorado Avalanche Talk
In The Cheap Seats
Mile High Hockey
Red Mile

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Shift Charts: Yes, Mirtle, They Did.

I just saw this posted on James Mirlte’s blog:

I hadn’t even realized they were gone, but did the NHL really scrap shift charts on game summaries on NHL.com this season?

What am I, chopped liver over here (answer: yes)? I’ve been posting about this for a couple weeks here. Oh well. Now that one of the big guys has noticed, we’ll probably get them back. Go blogging! Whoo-hoo!

Remember, posting peeps playing hockey will not get you taken seriously.

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Not Doing Much

Just thought I would throw this out there. Don’t expect much from me for the next couple of days, as I had 2 teeth removed today. I think I will be taking the day off. See you tomorrow. Avs take on the Wild killing Oilers Flames tonight. Go Avs.

Dealing with Figure Skaters

Look, I’m no fan of figure skaters. Instead of doing nice simple skating, they take up the whole ice, take out chunks with their toe picks, and generally behave badly at public skate. And they have something called a Kiss and Cry after they skate (which in hockey, is reserved for Ryan Smyth). When there was the big problem with the Islanders Ice Girls last season, that was my biggest complaint, that they were wearing figure skates on the NHL ice. If I were the goalie, I wouldn’t let them in my crease either.

But is this really how to deal with the problem?

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Actually, now that I think of it, I do believe it is. I’d pay 20¢ for that.

Triple Sow Cows Salchows are for the birds.

I got the image from Chris’s Invincible Super Blog, which is the awesome. I wish there was a hockey blog like it.

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That Doesn’t Suck

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No, it does not. Avs pick up their first road win of the season. Why they couldn’t do it while I was at the Wild game, sporting the team colors is beyond me. Budaj in net, only one minor penalty, no PP goals through the game, and that about does it. Ryan Smyth got so choked up, he didn’t even get an assist, much less a goal (which would have been interesting to see how the crowd reacted).

I don’t have much to say about this one, because I was at a concert tonight (the space-rock octuplet (???) Do Make Say Think), so I will leave it to the experts tonight. But the question that needs to be answered, maybe ad naseum lie the lead up, is did the game live up to the hype? And even better yet, now that Smyth has played his old team for the first time, is he still Captain Canada, or is he simply a hockey player?

Blogger Recaps:

In The Cheap Seats
Colorado Avalanche Talk

As a side note, is it significant that perennial starter Joe Sakic hasn’t been in the starting lineup in the last few games? This being a homecoming of sorts for Smyth, it doesn’t surprise me that he should be a starter, but I am very used to seeing Joe Sakic take the opening faceoff. What does that say?

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Shift Chart: A Little Help From Our Friends

Milk Box

While the Shift Chart is on a (hopefully temporary) vacation from NHL.com, Draft Dodger at In The Cheap Seats has a solution, roll your own. DD has come up with a system to create a shift chart from the numbers on NHL.com. It’s not in the final stages yet, but it’s a start. Get yourself to his blog.

From the email I have gotten, and the comments I have seen everywhere the subject has been brought up, people miss the shift charts. Come on, NHL, make the people happy. Bring them back.

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NHL Score Sheet: We Spoke, They Started to Listen

The ongoing battle for better scoresheets on NHL.com is starting to make headway. Take a look at tonight’s game summary from the ongoing Bruins/Canadiens game:

Game Summary 1193098388321

Notice what’s back in?
Goalies

Goaltenders!!!! You can see who is in goal form the same sheet you get the rest of your important info. Did the NHL read the posts about the score sheets? Did they see your comments?

Next, let’s see if we can get the shift charts back.

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Avs vs Wild: At the Game Recap

I was able to go to the game in Minnesota, and have only a few photos, but plenty of thoughts. I’m going to hit it and quit it, with point by point breakdowns. Or, just some things I think, which is good enough. Let’s do this:

Roy – First off, let me get to the best part of the night. I went to the game with Roy, who blogs at Wild Puck Banter. Roy is not only a a good blogger, but a serious hockey fan who knows his stuff, and a nice person. I could hit him with a player number, and the answer was automatic. He knows his Minnesota hockey inside and out, and was a a gracious winner. A lot of fun to be around. Get ye to his blog.

1st Wild Goal – There are power play goals that should happen (see 2nd Wild Goal), and those that should not. When the PK knows where to be, there should be very few opportunities for a power play to get a goal. A finer example of a PK not being in position would be harder to find than on this goal. It’s one of those situations where you have a hard time picking out who to blame for letting Mark Parrish in alone on the goal. On the one hand, you could blame Sauer for not taking his nearest man. On the other, you could look at Hannan for making a lousy move towards open ice, and making Sauer split his attention towards two people. Hlinka for peeling out early? The only one who seemed to know what to do was Lapp, who was keeping an eye on the two players near the blue line. Hmmm… I’ll get back to you on this one.

2nd Wild Goal – 5 on 3. What can you do? Budaj was completely screened, and that’s just the way it works sometimes. I can’t blame anyone here. Some goals are just meant to be. 5 on 3 isn’t easy.–

3rd Wild Goal – Clark and I had a nice time watching this goal. Clark makes a weak clearing attempt, then watches as Koivu (and not even the good Koivu) skates around him and puts the puck in Budaj’s 5-hole. Let’s be clear here. Clark gave up, and expected Paul Stastny to take over his defensive duties. And while Finger wasn’t doing much, he was watching for the pass to the slot, which was a more likely play, considering Koivu should have had some version of pressure on him. And while it is the job of a good forward to pitch in on defense, it isn’t the defender’s job to watch that happen. The goal was unassisted, but Clark earned one.

1st Avs Goal – The entire goal was about being in the right place at the right time, and keeping your eye on the puck. All night long, the Avs weren’t aware of where the puck was, when they didn’t have it directly on their stick. The amount of times “feet” must have been yelled…. Still, it was nice to see a shot from the blue line (thank you, Sakic) followed up by someone on the same team getting a stick on it after the rebound.

2nd Avs Goal – Brunette puts it in the wide open. Backstrom stayed a little closer to the net after that. Wolski looked great bringing the puck in the zone and protecting it while his teammates were coming in behind him. Sauer = meh.

Hannan – Was he playing tonight? I can’t really remember him after the first Wild goal, or before for that matter. I can’t figure him out. I have yet to be impressed.

Wyatt Smith – What does this guy do for the team, exactly? And why is he on the PK? He got more ice time than Arnason (who scored a goal), Hlinka (wha???), Guite (working hard so you don’t have to), and Lappy (????). What is this, Bizzaro Land?

Clark – Brett had to be covered for way to often. I found myself wondering if he was going to get back to the point on his offensive shifts, and worrying that he was going to get caught too low. Speaking of which…

Leopold – Three penalties. Dull play. Whatever.

Laperriere – If Lappy is skating backwards, the defense screwed up. Simple as that. Don’t make Lappy skate backwards for you. He will beat some ass for you, but don’t make him cover your poor pinch.

Stastny – Didn’t do much out there tonight. Too bad, they could have used him.

Sakic – I have yet to see Sakic light a fire. Sure, he got a hat trick recently, but I wonder if there isn’t something else going on. He just doesn’t seem to have the same spark. I have been asked about his age, and if that is a factor. While he may be one of the elder statesmen of the game, I don’t but it. I do have a theory, but I’m going to let it cook for a day.

Brunette – Best player on the ice? Could be.

Budaj – Budaj was great. The only goal you could really as anything more from him on was the game winner, and that goal wasn’t even about him. As soon a Koivu was around the defense, the goal was scored, no matter which option he chose. It was the patience of Koivu that allowed him to go 5 hole (when Budaj had to scoot over more to cover), but if he hadn’t the goal could have gone over a pad with ease. I don’t blame Budaj for the loss. If a defense could be tallied for a loss, this was the game. He absolutely robbed Gaborik of a shorthaded goal in the third. Don’t blame him.

Defense – There is no reason why a defense like this can not shut down a team. There is no reason a defense with this skill should not be able to play a decent system to success. There are 2 (supposed) first line defensive D, 1 first line offensive D, 2 (supposed) second line D, and a few younger D who can play well. But that isn’t what is happening. Again, I have a theory, which I will get to in another post soon.

Lines – If there was a line combination to be had, it was put on the ice. I saw Lappy and Svatos (who looked decent) moved around from line to line, and just about every defensive pairing you can think of, shy of Hannan and Leopold. I still have that theory, and it doesn’t make me smile.

Leaving the game – When you wear the jersey of the away team, you should expect some muck thrown at you. And while I got some ribbing, that was all I got. The fans of the Wild were damn nice, much like you would expect from the Northern states. The Avs fans in attendance were friendly, but so were the Wild fans. The best exchange came from when I bought a puck from the Wild store:

Woman behind counter – “You need to buy a jersey.”

Me – “Really? You sell Avs jerseys here? That would be awesome.”

She laughed, and it was fun. I have been heckled by meaner.

Overall, I had a great time. I can’t wait to do it again.

Your blogger recaps:

Colorado Avalanche Talk
In The Cheap Seats

NHL Boxscore

Update: Roy has posted his account of the evening.  I think I need to meet Mrs. Roy to let her know I’m on the up and up.  Funny point, she has there.

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Not An Island

Hockey is a team sport, and watching it should be too. Friday night, I had the pleasure of taking in a Lincoln Stars game, and had I never gone, I would never have experienced a game like it. While that may seem pretty basic – if we don’t experience something, then we miss out – but I would have had my assumptions about the Lincoln Stars, their fans, and Mid-America hockey to go by, and I would have been completely wrong. The only drawback was that I couldn’t really share the experience. Sure, I had pictures to show, but I can’t tell you how loud it was (F’n A loud!!!), what the intro was like (intimidating, to say the least), what the crowd was like (knew their stuff), or how the game felt. There was a shared experience with 4,464 (announced) other people, but it isn’t the same as turning to someone you know and telling them how you feel about a play at the time, or having someone to high five about a goal with, or even someone you know you can laugh at for a goal against their team and get away with it. Hockey is, and should be, a shared experience.

Often times, blogging is not. You sit at the keyboard, write for a while, and get a few comments. You may interact with a few people, but you don’t get to really chat them up, share a moment, or connect on a one-on-one level. I have had the pleasure of meeting up with several bloggers, who are fun, interesting and know their hockey, so much so that it puts me to shame. I have had drinks on a few occasions, and become friends with Greg from Post-Pessimist and Hockey Rants, struck up a friendship with Eric McErlain from Off Wing Opinion, watched the first round of the draft with Acid Queen of Sweet Tea, BBQ, and Bodychecks, and met some very fine people at the blogger meetup at the Draft this year. I’ve commented and emailed several others who I hope to meet face to face one day. And strangely, I still have not seen a hockey game with another hockey blogger.

Until tonight. I am now in Minnesota, and get the distinct honor of taking in a hockey game, namely the Avs vs the Minnesota Wild, with Roy of Wild Puck Banter. If you don’t know anything about Roy, get yourself over to his blog. We started blogging hockey around the same time, and he helped keep me going at the beginning, when doubt sets in and you feel like there is nothing you can do right. I am really happy I get to take a game in with him.

Look for a game recap late in the night, or sometime Monday. I hear a hockey bar is in order (in fact, I demanded it), so who knows what form it will take. I bet it will be fun.

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