Going into X-MAS, the Avalanche had a 21-13-2 record, good for 44 points. They were riding a three game winning streak, and playing very strong hockey despite numerous injuries. Most importantly, Peter Budaj was finally playing well, after Joel Quenneville finally decided it would be a good idea not to play José Théodore who couldn't stop a beach ball if his life were at sake. Only our powerplay was sucking. Fast forward to January 3rd, we are 21-16-3. Which means we've played four games and lost four. What happened??
Well for starters, our atrocious powerplay has continued to be atrocious. Not scoring on PP chances has cost us games and will cost us games. One of the reasons is the using of Wolski on the point. It's not working. I'm a huge Wolski fan, but he doesn't know what to do with the puck at the point.
Then you've got Peter Budaj who has started playing very average again. I'll be the first to say I bashed JQ for not picking and sticking with a goaltender. I trusted Budaj was our number 1. Well JQ has chosen Budaj as his number 1, and Budaj has struggled as of late. Can't blame the coach there. I'm starting to lose confidence in Budaj. He better start stopping pucks soon or my confidence will be absolutely vanished.
Another reason why this team has struggled as of late is the poor play of the Smyth, Stastny, Hejduk line. Smyth is injured now, but wasn't playing his best hockey before he got hurt. Paul Stastny has an excellent 44 points this year, but he has been very inconsistent, and hasn't scored a goal in seven games. Milan Hejduk has been excellent in bursts, and invisble in long periods of time. Maybe its time for a shakeup.
Oh yeah, and injuries haven't helped. Sakic out for the year if we don't make the playoffs, Smyth is out indefenitely, Kurt Sauer has a concussion, Arnason (who is horrendous) is out because of a hand injury, and Jordan I-am-made-of-glass Leopold is finally healthy again. But injuries are part of the game. Joe Sakic will not be part of this team forever. It might even be his last year. So the Avs better learn how to start winning games without him.
When Ilya Bryzgalov was waived, I was certain the Avs would pick him up. First of all, he is an AVs killer,is huge in the net, and is a really good goaltender! Which is what we don't seem to have here. Hello Francois Giguère? By the way, Budaj wasn't playing well at the time.
To add insult to injury, Bryzgalov just beat us twice in a back to back,and former Avs Steven Reinprecht and Radim Vrbata ripped it up.
So if the Avs actually WANT to make the playoffs, they better start playing well. And Francois Giguère should make some moves to improve the team. Al Montoya might be available? Trade for him! I am not interested in winning 15 of the last 19 games of the year and missing the playoffs by one point. I want to see the Avs in the playoffs. Some of you might say it's only four losses, but these problems have been persisting.
To end this really negative blog, here's a question: Why the hell is Scott Hannan winning 4.5$ million a year?