Three games in and everyone who didn't believe in the goaltending is crowing about how right they are. I've even heard talk amongst this team's "fans" that they hope the Avs lose so that they can properly rebuild. All this after three whole games. Maybe this is what sports is about these days - over reactions to everything. The Savard firing certainly looks that way from here - but something else about that move stinks.
Keeping the focus on the Avs - and on the ice - it should be fairly obvious that this team is close. How else can you describe three one goal losses? Again, in the Calgary game, Budaj let in at least one bad goal - I would go a bit further and say that both of Bertuzzi's goals were his fault. That rebound was ridiculous and although Foote should have marked Bertuzzi better - a dman doesn't expect to cover a rebound from 40 feet.
Watching Bertuzzi score twice was painful enough, but not as painful as the penalty killing. One goal was the direct result of a failed clear by David Jones. What the hell is David Jones doing on the PK? No idea.
Which leads us back to the recurring themes for this season:
PK - poor
PP - Anytime 2 goals are scored, it must be a good night. However, I am still concerned about the Avs ability to generate chances from a set PP. One goal was scored on the rush after the Flames Dman charged wildly at Hejduk, and the other goal was an unsettled situation. The Avs still are not able to dump, forecheck, possess and control the puck. This is where they miss Brunette. Sakic is willing to win the battles, but he plays up high on the PP. This should be Smyth's job, but he needs to be hungrier and win battles for the puck. It won't take long for opposing PK units to start lining up on the blue line and forcing a dump in if the Avs don't demonstrate that they are willing and able to dump and forecheck.
Goalie - Poor. What's even more frustrating is watching Budaj play well in the 2nd period. He's got it in him to be a #1, he just can't quite put it together yet. Raycroft will start tonight, which is a normal rotation for the #2 goalie. Best case scenario is Raycroft plays well and motivates Budaj to play well next game. I don't know if that really works, but I guess we're about to find out.
Back to the idea of overreaction - I am worried what FG might do if Raycroft lays an egg tonight. If he does and FG wakes up in the middle of the night sweating about the goaltending situation, I fear that he makes some rash move that hinders this organization for the next several years. Every game that the Avs receive subpar goaltending from one or both of these guys pushes FG closer and closer to a bad move.
An old problem is new again - Svatos sits. Can't be a good sign when you have to rest game three.
Guys that need to pick it up - Tucker, Wolski, Aranason. Hensick's time might be coming sooner than later, especially if the third line wingers are Wolski and Svatos. Those guys need someone to get them the puck, and Arnason is not looking like that guy.
Hope to see improvements tonight, and I'll be very interested to see how Raycroft looks.