Perhaps there is something deft in Joel Quenneville’s statement to the media that Jose Theodore is going to get the start for game 3 of the Avalanche – Red Wings series. Maybe he is telling a little fib, to get the Wings over-confident, and then pull a switcharoo, putting Budaj in net, and watch the Wings spin their wheels.
Or Coach Q is out of his freaking mind. I’m thinking it’s the latter. For the life of me, I can not figure out what Budaj said that has kept him on the bench this much. Seriously, did he sleep with someone’s wife? He’s more in the doghouse than anyone this side of Brad Richardson. Theodore played brilliantly in the first round against the Wild, stealing at least one game, if not two. The key word is “played,” as in past tense.
Look at the numbers: Theodore has let in eight goals on 36 shots, in 51:24 of play. Budaj gave up one goal on 40 shots in 67:30. Who do you put in?
From the Rocky Mountain News, Coach Q has faith in Jose:
“Jose’s going to play,” Quenneville said. “He’s been our guy. He’s had a great stretch run for us and was great in the first series and we expect him to be a big factor going forward in this series.”
That’s a lot of faith, for a guy you pull two games in a row. What did he say about Budaj? From the Denver Post:
I thought ‘Boods’ did a real nice job in relief again tonight, but Jose, he’s the one that brought us here.
A real nice job? Can you hear the clinched teeth, and the resentment here? Something is up, or Budaj would be the no-brainer decision. For all the talk the Versus crew was giving Q for being a Jack Adams contender, I think you can safely bet they have shut their collective mouths. And, in “My NHL,” you do not get to finish in the bottom five in power play, and get Coach of the Year.
If the Carolina Hurricanes hadn’t put Cam Ward in net, and stuck with Martin Gerber, would they have won the Stanley Cup? No. Hell no. The lesson should be obvious. You don’t have to always dance with the one you brought.
The question is: Who do you risk the next game on? The guy who you haven’t played, or the guy who has lost his game? Jose better find it quick.
In other areas, the Avalanche know they need to get their collective backsides in order. Such as this little tidbit from the Rocky Mountain News:
Only two Avalanche players – Sakic in both games and Paul Stastny on Saturday – have managed as many as three shots on goal in a game.
If that doesn’t jolt the Avs into some sort of action, I don’t know what will. I am going to cringe when the Versus guys start saying things like “your best players have to be your best players.” If it’s Eddie O calling color, I’m guessing two minutes. Dudes, we can barely ice our best players.
For all the complaining about the bust that has been Peter Forsberg, there are some key elements to remember about him:
He was relatively cheap. One million, while not chump change to you or I, isn’t much against the cap, all things considered. And it certainly isn’t much when that money isn’t going to be doing you any good just sitting there, unused.
Would the Avs have gotten into the playoffs without him? The race was tight until the end of the season, and there were few players who could have shoehorned the Avs in as effectively as Forsberg.
Forsberg sells tickets. When he is in a lineup, fans get excited, and buy more tickets. That’s spending money to make money.
I don’t see Forsberg being a bust, just that he should be around more often than he is. It’s certainly frustrating that he is out so often, and kind of an oxymoron tat you have to limit his time to get long term use out of him, but when he is healthy (not often enough), he is a factor.
Scott Hannan may be back, but we will wait and see. Hannan has some sort of foot injury, and I never thought I would say this at the beginning of the season, but the Avs need him, badly.
OK, looking at the roster, and who to insert in the lineup with Wolski gone, and Forsberg only a possibility, I’m not seeing the usefulness of Cody McLeod at this time. He has an unhealthy relationship with the penalty box, and for all his “toughness,” isn’t being a positive factor on the ice. Who else could they fit in there? Let’s look at the scratches from the game on Saturday:
Oh, look at that, out of left wingers. How special. Is there any way they can ask Hensick or Richardson to move over to the left side? Anyone want to guess what the Avs will be drafting this year?
The only thing left to say is that the Avs have to come out strong, and stay that way. What else is there? Get the damn puck, and keep the damn puck.
It finally becomes a series tonight.