As I was thinking what I would blog about today after last nights embarrassing loss I saw this article in the Denver Post. Kizsla hit it right on the head. We are passionate fans, we love our team, and better yet we love the success that we have had. We expect the management to put together a competitive team every year.
We don't expect to win the cup every year, that is ridiculous. However we do expect the management team to address the needs of the team, and get what the team needs. Andrew Raycroft is an ok backup goalie who has played decent this year to rack some wins. He is not the starting goaltender we need. Peter Budaj has proven he isn't worth risking any more seasons on. Last night showed how truly inconsistent he is. Raycroft's glove hand proved weak once again.
The bright spots in the game don't matter if there isn't at least a point taken away from the game. Goaltending is what keeps you in games. To build an offensive rush you have to at some point take risks, its the nature of the game. If you take an odd man rush, you will likely give one up the other way if you don't score.
John Tortorella is available, a fire and ice coach. We haven't had that in Avalanche land in a while. Todd McClellan all but said he would take the job. Pat Quinn is now available, and proving that he can coach young talent. There are probably others in the AHL system that are worth looking at. Look at how long Boudreau coached at that level before getting a chance, and look at what he has done with the dynamic team in Washington. FG mismanaged the coaching decision.
I am not saying that Granato is a bad head coach, he is just not the coach for the Colorado Avalanche Organization. I don't believe that FG is the General manager that we want with this organization. I can't think of a legitimate thing that this tandem has accomplished. Yes, Giguere signed Smyth and Hannan. Granato may have had the highest winning percentage, but that doesn't mean this is what will work in today's NHL.
Last night was painful to watch. The goaltending was awful. It needed some serious help early on in the second period. Budaj should have been pulled much earlier, oh wait, Raycroft let in two soft ones on the glove side. Maybe they should have strapped the pads on Clark, he seems to like to get in the way of the puck more than our goalie tandem. I have made it a point this season to put some confidence in my team and its management, but after last nights loss I have no reason to.
The Avs are for the the most part an offensively challenged team. They scored 5, I repeat, 5 goals last night. The young guys worked hard to keep the team in the game. Chris Stewart had a Gordie Howe hat trick. T.J. Hensick had a two point night, Salei had two assists, Tucker had two assists, Liles had one and McCleod and Svatos had a goal. Well rounded scoring with the young gun second line performing and working hard. It was all for naught as the goalies couldn't come up with a big save.
Penalty killing. Lappy's work ethic is sorely missed in this area. Foote's calm presence on the back end is needed. The Kings were 50% on the power play last night. This Avalanche team needs to set its sights higher in that area.
The Avalanche went 2 for 8 on the power play. Now that isn't a bad number per say, but balance that with the 50% kill and you have problems. You can't score on 25% of your power plays against a bottom feeder team trying catch and give them a chance with 50% of their own power plays finding the back of the net.
The number one line was shut down last night. Not a single one of them managed to find their way onto the score sheet. Hejduk, Wolski, and Smyth all had a pretty rough night, even though it looked like they tried pretty hard. To some extent it feels like Wolski has been leashed again and isn't able to move like he wants. To some extent it feels like he is being told to be more defensive. The guys on Altitude were gushing about his accomplishments defensively. That is fine and dandy guys, but Wolski is a natural goal scorer, that is his strength, burying the puck. Hejduk has always been strong on the back check, ask more of him, ask Smyth to get the puck to Wolski more in the slot, it will go in.
I am going to finish my rant by asking all of you who watched this game to tell me what you saw. Positives and negatives. Stewart and Hensick are about the only fun thing to watch with this team right now, and attendance at the Can showed it. Lets rant and rave and give something for Mr. Kroenke to chew on. Denver loves hockey, the Rocky Mountain region loves the Avalanche. Please give us a management team that can help, or at least tell us what the plan is to make this team move forward.
GET A GOALIE!!!!!