Blues vs Avs: Another Reason the Goal Should Have Counted

In the Avalanche’s 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues, the game winning goal was one surrounded by controversy.  Maybe surrounded isn’t the right word.  Briefly huddled around?  Anyways, here it is, in case you missed it:

The NHL Situation Room blog explained the decision this way:

At 14:07 of the second period in the Blues / Avalanche game , video review was inconclusive in determining if the net was completely dislodged before the puck crossed the goal line. There for,  the referee’s call on the ice stands. Good goal Colorado.

78.5 (x)  When the net becomes displaced accidentally. The goal frame is considered to be displaced if either or both goal pegs are no longer in their respective holes in the ice, or the net has come completely off one or both pegs, prior to or as the puck enters the goal.

The question of whether the net was off it’s pegs was inconclusive, so the “call on the ice” stands.  Two things about this:

First, there was no call on the ice.  If there was, it was done in secret.  The ref neither signaled goal or no goal (wash out).  That is academic, but interesting to note.

The second thing is another rule that could have been applied, from section 25 of the NHL rulebook, Awarded Goals, and rule 25.2, which states:

25.2 Infractions – When Goalkeeper is On the Ice – A goal will be awarded when an attacking player, in the act of shooting the puck into the goal (between the normal position of the posts and completely across the goal line), is prevented from scoring as a result of a defending player or goalkeeper displacing the goal post, either deliberately or accidentally.

I think we can safely say that this is what happened.  Not only did the Blues players take the net off it’s moorings, they carried the puck in with them as well.  You could say that the puck wasn’t shot by an Avalanche player, but you could say that a shot was what put the puck into the defenseman (OK, it was a pass) in the first place.  And if you check out rule 78.4, Scoring a Goal, the second paragraph states:

A goal shall be scored if the puck is put into the goal in any way by a player of the defending side. The player of the attacking side who last touched the puck shall be credited with the goal but no assist shall be awarded.

If the net had stayed on it’s moorings, the goal would have counted.  The Blues knocked it off, and therefor the right call would have been to award the goal anyways.

The unfortunate part is that this was the game winning goal.  Had the Avs tried to score in the third period, rather than sit back and defend a one goal lead, they might have scored another goal or two, and St. Louis fans might feel a little less screwed over by the call (which they weren’t, really).

The Avs have won seven in a row at home, which is a stark contrast to the beginning of the season.  Maybe they can keep it up against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who were shellacked by the Sharks tonight.

Research, for the win.

Research!

(I don’t photograph well)

There Is Other Hockey

There are games other than the Winter Classic, you know. And I’m at one.

Go Avs!

I Musr Be In The Front Row

I have never sat this high for a game before.

And even though we still have a half an hour to go, no one is here.

Oh well, Go Avs.

Hey Versus, Goals Were Scored, Can We See Them?

From Bob Harwood of Versus at the top of the postgame show:

In fact, there are so many goals we can’t show them all.

And this quote is why I am sick of the NHL on Versus.  The worst hockey highlights this side of ESPN Sportcenter.

No, instead of showing you goals, we are going to have an interview with Ryan Smyth.  And we won’t even ask him anything interesting like what he said to the ref that got him sent back in the box for the second Wild power play goal.

6-5 Avs.  Over the Wild.  That’s like a Nashville – Islanders score.  The new NHL lives on.

Frozen Fury 2008: Better Late Than Never (massive post with lots of photos)

People don’t usually care too much about hockey game after they happen, unless they are epic battles, classic wins, or moments of greatness for ones own team. Even less so for a preseason game with “no consequences.” But the Frozen Fury, held every year at the MGM Grand, is one of those hockey games that is more than just players on ice, it’s an experience for the fans that doesn’t really compare to the rest of the NHL world. Frozen Fury isn’t just a game, it’s an event. There aren’t many any venues in the NHL where you can step out of the game and start gambling. The Frozen Fury is a good litmus test for the NHL moving to Las Vegas, for many a forgone conclusion. While the league looks at Kansas City with scrutiny, Vegas looks like a lock.

It’s well past time I put up my photos and talked about my first time at Frozen Fury. It was my intention to post this right away, but Las Vegas hotels would rather that you were on the casino floor, instead of the internet.

There are going to be a lot of photos, and many of them are not going to be hockey related at first. But stay with me, there are some gems.

There are many types of travelers in the world, and all of them react differently to the various difficulties inherent to the industry. For instance, computer failures. Your boarding pass doesn’t get printed right away, but a bunch of people after you get theirs in a timely fashion. My own sense of traveler zen depends on the amount of time I have arrived at the airport before my flight, and the amount of distraction I have at hand. This was a good day for me.

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Not that I had where to really go, or anything to do in the Kansas City Airport. And calling this and international airport is a bit of a stretch. This is simply a bus depot for planes.
P1000785 P1000786

Compare that to Denver International Airport, with good food, lots of space, and moving walkways from here to eternity.
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To see the rest of this, click the link below. I promise there will be hockey photos, and talk about the game. Really.
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I Don’t Miss Theo

The Washington Capitals started their season on the road in Atlanta last night, with Jose Theodore getting the start. And I have to say, Theo is proving right off the bat why I don’t miss him. This picture should tell you everything you need to know. That looks familiar. Or how about this stat: 4 goals on 17 shots. Yep, the Theodore era continues somewhere else.

Now, you may be saying that Peter Budaj didn’t do that much better, letting in five on 20 shots, and you may have a point.

Screenshot 01-28
But I saw a lot of good from Budaj the other day, and several goals that were not his fault. There were defensive gaffs, along with the holes down low that go along with “fire wagon hockey,” which is what the Avs are subscribing to (until they get lit up one too many times and go into a defensive shell again).

I don’t miss Jose Theodore one bit. One playoff series is not enough to win me back from a season and a half of high priced mediocrity, which is what the Caps fans may be experiencing right off the bat.

I’m with Jibblescribbits on this one.
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Avalanche Roundtable 2008 Edition Day 3: Granato

Roundtablelogofullb Medium
Roundtable time snuck up on me this year, much like the hockey season. Perhaps it was Joe Sakic taking his sweet time to tell us he would be back for the year, the lack of late offseason free agency signing, or just an incredible busy work life for the past several months (which is the default blogger excuse, I know, but I don’t think it has ever applied to my life like it has this summer). Still, it’s more than my pleasure to participate this year, since this is as fine a group of bloggers as I could hope to be a part of. When I started blogging, there was one other Avs blog, and it died around the same time (was it something I said?). Now the community is thriving, and I couldn’t be happier.
Each blogger is hosting a question for the roundtable. Mine has to deal with Tony Granato,

What will be the most identifiable difference between the Quenneville Era and the Granato Era v2.0?

Jay Vean – Avs Hockey Podcast:
What I’d hope Granato 2.0 emphasizes that Quenneville apparently never did is being more aggressive on the power play. Too many times last season there were zero and/or one shot power play opportunities. You would expect that eventually the coaching staff would take the “system”, throw it out the window and tell everyone to throw everything they could at the net during the PP when you’re dead last in the league for the majority of the season. If I have my facts straight, Granato has been in charge of the power play in the past as well. I’d assume he’s smart enough to know that what the team was trying to accomplish last season wasn’t working very well and obviously needs to be revamped.

Justin – Avalanche Guild:
The most obvious difference will be the consistent physical toughness to the Avs’ game. There are a few other obvious changes Granato is making to their style of play, including the grit and speed elements, but he’s also employing some other strategic moves on the power play with things like parking Ryan Smyth and Scott Parker right in front of the net and some new face-off techniques.

Granato is what you call a player’s coach, meaning he gets to know his players on a much more personal, friendly and compassionate level. He’s an older player with experience and wisdom and ‘one of the guys’ in the locker room. Granato is also a very demanding coach when it comes to effort, which is EXACTLY what the Avalanche need this year. They were far too complacent and inconsistent last season and far too often failed to put together 60 minutes of complete hockey.

Therefore, expect a major shift in the forechecking and back-checking efforts of the forwards, as the Avs will ultimately improve their team game. So the biggest difference in Granato’s tenure will not be a tangible aspect of play, but more of an improvement of the team’s collective mental focus.

Mike – Mile High Hockey:
A lack of facial hair? Better game-day ties? Ray Ferraro and sister Cammi on speed-dial? Most likely, but the biggest differences will be a willingness to let the players’ play determine whether or not they get to embrace the A. I don’t think he’ll show untoward leniency toward certain players (*cough* Arnason *cough*) while penalizing the younger players who may make mistakes. I believe he’ll show patience with Budaj, rather than a hair trigger. I believe he’ll let line combos stay together for more than half a shift. I also believe he’ll let the future stars of the team (Son of Stastny, Baron von Wolski, The Svats Machine, “Little Davey” Jones, Hensiiick, and Boots) start to carry the lion’s share of the load.

Joe – Mile High Hockey:
I think one thing Tony Granato brings to the Avalanche bench that Joel Quenneville never did is a fiery demeanor. Q is a technician, an autocrat. Granato is an “old-school” hockey player, the kind of guy that would slash somebody across the face for looking at him funny. When you consider the first two Avalanche coaches, Crawford and Hartley, the first thing that pops into your head is batshit craziness. Hair-trigger tempers. Quenneville could get mad from time to time, get fiery here and there, but nobody ever seemed to fear his temper. I’ve seen Granato explode behind the bench a couple of times, and I hope he is still willing to go nuts when necessary (or even when it would just be fun). I want the highlight reel of every third Avalanche game to include shots of Granato trying to climb over the glass at some other team’s arena. I want bottles and sticks to be thrown onto the ice once a month. I want the players to feel like every game is a war and I want Granato to be their Patton.

Shane – Avs Talk:
There will be no more random benchings, no more goalie carousels, no more cycle game, no more random line pairings and no more sitting on your ass while things go downhill. You know what, even if he does 3 of those 5, I’ll be happy.

However the biggest change will be the passion level. Sakic’s calm demeanor – while a great asset – needs to be backed up by the fire and brimstone Patrick Roy used to provide.

If the last couple seasons are any indicator, Granato has shown the ability to get pissed off and fire up the players while still maintaining their respect. Quenneville seemed to have trouble with both.

Jibblescribbits @ Jibblescribbits:
II think the most obvious answer is the best one here. The speed, and flow of the offense. No more putting 3 forwards behind the goal. Putting Smytty in front of the net. I am looking forward to all of those this season.

Oh and having a goalie start 2-3 games in a row will be a nice change of pace too.

I am worried about his organization. What I hope to not see is sloppy line changes and Avs players being goons in blowout losses and wins. For all the crap Q was (deservedly) given he ran a tight ship and his players played with class. I always thought Granato didn’t install the proper discipline needed from a head coach the first time around.

Jori – Avs Prospects:
Under Tony Granato, I expect the Avs to return to the up tempo pre-lockout form that made the team famous and exciting. I suspect Granato will have a better handle of his goaltenders then the Avs previous coach. I believe the Avs younger players, Wojtek Wolski in particular, will flourish under Granato (similar to what happened to Alex Tanguay after Granato replaced Hartley).

GEO – The Avslova Factor:
The major difference will be Granato’s ability to get the most out of his players. Upon getting hired, Granato said,
“I think that my energy and the passion that I bring to the game will be contagious. I’ve worked with most of these guys for a long time and I think I have a pretty good idea of how to set the expectations and how to get the most out of them.”
This means that if a guy like Arnason isn’t performing, there won’t be a “next time” simply because of his contract. With that, Wojtek Wolski will no longer be the whipping boy game-in and game-out and be demoted to the 4th line at random times.
Granato will make sure guys play for him.

Aaron – The Dog and Pony Show:
If you ask me the difference between Granato and Quenneville is the lack of unintentional comedic appeal.

With Coach Q we saw him in all of his beady-eyed glory sitting in the dark in some secret radio booth answering questions by somehow relating hockey to GMC Suburbans in commercials. With Granato I get the idea he’ll be feeling the pressure from Day 1, and may just end up being some kind of stressed out, half-depressed nutcase…which makes sense when you consider he is a few spectacular losses to the Wings away from pumping gas at the Circle K (especially when you think of how the Avs have to win most of their games to capture the attention of the average Bronco fan, despite the fact that they are the most successful Denver franchise since their inception)

In Coach Q we could count on him to be red-faced with veins bulging from his forehead every time Theo let in a soft goal. I kind of miss Coach Q and is Magic Fantastic Goalie Carousel of Doom. If Budaj craps the tub we’ll be left to watch what could be the end to Andrew Raycroft’s once promising career, and that won’t be at all funny, instead it will just be kind of sad.

DD – In the Cheap Seats:
You mean, besides the Magnum PI mustache?

Hopefully, the Avs will be a tad more creative under Granato. And by creative, I’ll take just about anything over 8,000 variations of the down-low cycle.

Most of all, I’m hoping for an end to the goaltending Q-arousel.

As for myself, I think Granato did the right thing by stepping to the side after his first reign of error, and probably learned a lot from the Quenneville era, including some things not to do. He was a good soldier in taking one for the team, and probably doesn’t deserve as much blame for the Avs performance during his first stint as head coach (has anyone seen the real Paul Kariya since he left Anaheim?). Everything rests on the coaches shoulders, and these are some big shoulders if they can carry the burden of what came before.

And what did come before? A second round playoff exit, which is the same thing that happened this year. Hell, Granato got the Avs into the playoffs, while Quenneville was part of the first ever playoff miss. And we beat up Granato for what, exactly?

I’ll be happy for the end of the Goalie-Go-Round. Not that there is much choice, but a little more stability and less coin flipping will be a welcome change. Also, Granato will bring some passion to a team that has had a brooding leader for too long. I can’t wait to see him get into another unwarranted screaming match with Mike Babcock. At least it will be entertaining.

I never did care for Quenneville, and never took on the same disdain for Granato as a lot of people. When his surprise hiring as head coach was announced, I didn’t feel this was a step back like many I heard from. I just figured that maybe it was time to give him another shot. Mind you, if it doesn’t work out, it will be his last.

Mile High Hockey is hosting the table of contents, and make sure you check out all the Avs blogs and bloggers linked here. You may find another daily read or two.

Sakic is Back, Hockey Exists One More Year

The Colorado Avalanche have just announced that Joe Sakic is returning for his 20th season. From the Colorado Avalanche:

“I am happy to announce the signing of Joe Sakic to a one-year contract,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President and General Manager Francois Giguere. “Our entire organization is very excited to have Joe back for another season. As the only captain of the Avalanche, his record of achievement speaks for itself. Having him return is great for our franchise and community, but also for the game of hockey.”

“Ultimately it came down to the fact that I still enjoy playing and competing,” said Sakic. “I’m comfortable with my conditioning and my overall health. I’m ready for the start of camp and am looking forward to the upcoming season.”

I haven’t heard a dollar figure, but I’m sure it is up there. Not that I mind, of course. Super Joe can have all the money left in the cap space, and it still would seem like a bargain.

I guess this is why Joe said he would be answering any questions the media have for him at his press conference before his charity golf tournament.

The Avs are back baby, yeah.

Update: Dater says $6 million. Good enough for me. That leaves $4.6 million of cap space, according to nhlnumbers.com, who are still keeping it real.

Free Agency Day, 2008

It’s always amuses me that Canada Day and Free Agency Day occur simultaneously. While it may make sense to some, Canada being a hockey mad country, I think the pain associated with losing a player in the free agent market would make many Canadians wish the two were separated (Ryan Smyth anyone?). Also, with phones that have data plans, I hope those of you keeping a constant vigil keep your eyes on the road, and don’t ignore the kids too much.

Twelve noon, every July 1st since starting this blog, a little buzzer goes off in my head. I get excited, and watch the screen. At 12:02 PM, I start pacing, and about a minute later, I start to realize that this is going to be a long day. A feeding frenzy doesn’t look like a frenzy until it’s well under way.

Last year, I had to get on a plane, and found out when I landed that Ryan Smyth had signed a five year deal with the Avalanche. As exciting as it was to get one of the big four free agents, I am yet to be seriously impressed with his output (55 game, 37 points, yee-haa).

The year before, I was salivating over my keyboard, and all I got for it was Tyler Arnason, and watching Rob Blake go to the Kings, and Dan Hinote go to the Blues. Disappointed? Sure. Could I see the writing on the wall, that the Avs would miss the playoffs? No.

This year, the Avs need goaltending help. The market is thin, and while conventional wisdom says that Jose Theodore is the best one out there, which should tell you about the market. The Avs still have Tyler Weiman in the system, but he needs a little more time down there before being a solid choice for the big club. Aside from that, what does the team need?

Defense? Sure, you can never have too much, but with Liles locked up, and Adam Foote signed, show me the holes?

Forwards? A few wouldn’t hurt, but until the decision of Joe Sakic is made (and for all we know, the decision will be made to be a free agent), there aren’t going to be any big splashes.

Check back later for updates.

1:39 PM EST: Andrew Brunette is back with the Minnesota Wild. Three disappointing things here. 1) He is no longer an Av. 2) He is back with the Wild. 3) TSN’s free agent tracker is so lame, this news hasn’t popped up yet. My reputable sources right now are Alanah at Kukla’s Korner and James Mirtle. Bloggers win again.

2:51 PM EST: I thought this was old news, but I guess not. From the Colorado Avalanche:

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that it has signed forward Per Ledin to a one-year contract.

Ledin, 29, spent this past season with HV 71 Jonkoping of the Swedish Elite League, where he tallied 33 points (16g/17a) and 137 penalty minutes in 52 games. The left winger finished third on the team in penalty minutes, fifth in goals and sixth in points. He also appeared in all 17 playoff games for Jonkoping, which captured the league title.

Um… OK. I have no idea what to make of this. Are the Avs still looking to make up fro the sins of Hlinka?

BIG UPDATE: 3:00 PM EST: Things are starting to pick up, with some Avalanche related signings. Jose Theodore is going to be with the Capitals for the next two years, and Kurt Sauer got signed by the Phoenix Coyotes for four years, continuing a tradition of Avalanche defensemen going directly to the ‘Yotes.

The Theodore signing is big for the Capitals, and could tip the team in either direction, depending on which Theo shoes up that night. I haven’t seen a dollar figure yet, but I can’t wait to see how it lines up with his previous contract. I’m guessing that a one year deal was all the Avs wanted to offer, and Theo was looking for two. But that’s only a guess. Now, if the Avs signed Huet….

3:12 PM EST: This was one deal I thought may happen, and puts the fear back in my heart. Andrew Raycroft signed a one year deal with the Avalanche. Seriously. One bad goalie for another? Peter Budaj had better be ready, or this could be a wild ride. This had better be a two way deal, meaning they can send him down to the minors if need be.

3:22 PM EST: The day is getting worse and worse. From Jori at Colorado Avalanche Prospects:

According to NHL.com, it is now confirmed that Mitch Love, Dan DaSilva and Tyler Weiman were not extended qualifying offers. All three are unrestricted free agents as of 10:00 AM MST today.

I like Mitch Love, and I think the world of Tyler Weiman. This sucks. Nuff said.

3:26 PM EST: It seems like as soon as I update, something else happens. Jeff Finger was just signed as a free agent by the Toronto Maple Leafs, for 4 years at 3.5 million a season. There was no way the Avs were going to sign him for that long, with the signings of Liles and Foote. I think the Leafs are overpaying for someone who isn’t as proven as other defensemen out there, but good for Finger. The debate will last around four years as to who the Avs should have signed, Liles or Finger, but I feel the right choice was made. Leafs fans, pray he doesn’t drop his stick.

3:32 PM EST: I’m reading that the Theodore deal was for 2 years at $4.5 million a year. And with that, you can forget about feeling bad about Jose moving on. Overpaid? Sure, but he’s able to play a market where goalies are a little harder to come by, and number one goalies are in short supply. I don’t feel much of a loss here, other than a few blogging stories about how bad he’s playing. I’m sure Raycroft will more than make up for things.

4:19 PM EST: I go to the grocery store, and the Avs sign Darcy Tucker. The Avs got him for 2 years at $4.5 million total. I guess this isn’t a bad deal, but we’ll wait and see.

Why is Tapeleg Smiling?

And why is he speaking in the third person.

Because Jose Theodore is out the door.

From the Denver Post (which is not the AP, so I can quote the story):

Talks between the Avalanche and Jose Theodore have broken down, and it now appears the veteran goalie will test the NHL open market beginning Tuesday.

Good. Don’t let the door hit you.

Oh, is that mean? Is that harsh? Whatever. He can keep on walking.

I’m embroiled in work this week, so my “analysis” (ie: reasons I ain’t crying) will have to wait until the weekend. But for now, I can not wait to write “Theodore has his usual meltdown,” and he isn’t in an Avalanche uniform.

Mind you, it isn’t July 1st yet, so he could still be signed. Oh, now I am sad.