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Minneapolis, MN • United States • 31 Years Old • Male

Avs Blog - 3 in a row

Posted 4:51 PM ET | Comments 9
Can we agree now that the sky is not falling?

I haven't seen any postings by "fans" rooting for the team to lose lately, so hopefully everything is ok again. Those same fans are probably now planning the parade route through downtown Denver.

So what do we know so far?

This team can score goals. I think every Avs fan hoped the offense would look like this, but plenty of teams look good on paper and can't translate the talent to goals. So far, The RPM line (Ryan, Paul, Milan) is one of the scariest in the league. This gives the Avs the luxury of mixing and matching with Sakic and getting him out against the 2nd pair of D. Jones looks to be progressing nicely and obviously being on a line with Sakic is a great place for anyone. Still not sure about Tucker and where he fits. He has played better the last two games, and if he's willing to do some dirty work for that line, maybe that is the right spot for him. The third line is really starting to come on, and if they can be a consistent threat and be plus players, the Avs can realistically expect to continue to score 4+ goals per game. Wolski has really come on and his play powers that line.

Penalty killing is awful. The goal they gave up against the Kings was on Budaj, but they've still given up a PP goal in every game so far. But that illustrates the duality of the problem. Both the skaters and the goaltending share the blame for the poor PK unit. I've seen several instances on the PK where it doesn't seem like all 4 guys are on the same page regarding the rotation - and way too many passes are getting through the middle of the box/diamond. A major problem seems to be when the puck carrier starts off low and then moves with the puck up high and takes up a spot near the point. The low d-man (for some reason, I've noticed Salei) stays with the puck carrier, and the rest of the guys don't rotate. Or if they aren't supposed to rotate, then Salei needs to pass off the puck carrier. It's happened a few times now, and it's a problem that one can't tell if they are running a zone or a rotation.

Goaltending - The goaltending has been sub par. Budaj has let in at least one bad goal in each of his four starts, and that is not acceptable in the NHL. Raycroft looked decent in his two starts. It would be a mistake to give up on Budaj this early, but if Raycroft keeps outplaying him, then Raycroft should continue to poach starts. 1 bad goal is a fluke, 2 bad goals are an unfortunate coincidence, but 4 or 5 are a disturbing trend.

Power play - After looking awful in the first couple of games, the PP has looked great in the last several. So much of NHL success is dependant on special teams, and an effective PP is essential for this club, especially since it appears 4 or 5 goals will be required to win games.

Defense - Hannan looked lost again trying to find his man in front of the net on a goal that Dallas scored. He's not playing up to his contract and needs to get it together. This team needs a defensive defenseman - that's Hannan's role. Not much to complain about with the other 5, just need to be tougher in front of their own net.

Arnason - has played better the last couple games. He needs to continue to play well and be a positive force on that third line - even if it means being more defensive minded while Wolski and Svatos push the attack.

4th line - fighting, checking, agitating, drawing penalties, even scoring and not getting scored on. Can't ask for much more out of these guys. Hopefully they can keep it up.

In summary, some very good things going on with this team. However, they cannot be considered an elite team until the goaltending and penalty killing improve.

Next chance Thursday against an Oilers team that the Avs outplayed but lost to last time. Should be another fun one to watch.

The Kings played well but showed their youth at times. It will be interesting to see how they look the next time out. I suspect they will improve greatly as the season wears on. They are no longer an easy two points.

Sidenote - at the beginning of the season I predicted an implosion in Calgary, and it looks like that could be happening already. Still early, but the Flames are in trouble. Could happen sooner than later.
Filed Under:   Avalanche  
October 22, 2008 1:03 PM ET | Delete
Good blog. However, the second line has been Wolski-Sakic-Tucker. The third line has been Jones-Arnason-Svatos. Same story, different combos. Jones is rushing the net pulling the defense down, leaving a lot of room for Svatos. I agree about everything else though.
October 22, 2008 5:42 PM ET | Delete
Good blog. I think Svatos is totally wasted with Arnason and Jones, he needs playmakers to feed him the puck. Jones is still learning and Arnason would rather be fishing. I think Tucker should play on the 3rd an Svatos moves up to the 1st. Sadly, this team won't be taken seriously be anybody until another goalie is signed or Raycroft starts playing out of his mind. Budaj clearly isn't the solution and I'm not just saying that based on his 4 blown opportunities to prove it this year, he had about 30 chances last year too and was never better than average.
October 22, 2008 8:08 PM ET | Delete
Arnason needs to go and someone like Hensick or Guite needs to be on the third.I would rather have Guite back, seems as he was there before and Hensick needs the minutes he'll get in the minors to develop.
October 23, 2008 11:54 AM ET | Delete
Sounds like I agree with a lot of what everyone is saying. I have no clue why Arnason wasn't bought out...can we please just send him to the AHL and call up Hensick already? He'd be a PERFECT playmaker for Svatos to play with. TJ doesn't need any more time in the AHL...he's ready to go NOW. But, if Arnie is in, I'd really like to see Svatos replace Tucker on the second line.One huge problem that I've been really noticing this year is our inability to clear the puck...esp. on the PK. This is causing unnecessary, sustained pressure on our D and goalie (which is a no-no given our stable of goalies) and eventually goals.Lastly, you've gotta love Granato's run-n-gun style. Our PP is infinitely better because of it. I just hope he knows what he's doing managing these goalies.
October 23, 2008 12:01 PM ET | Delete
Another note...I'm glad someone else is noticing that Hannan seems to be running around aimlessly every single game. It's hard to believe we're paying him as much as we are...I used to hate it when he was on the Sharks and the Avs had to match up against him, but now I don't see any worth in him. Is it just me, or is he regressing? What would you guys think of maybe dealing him to make room for Cumiskey? He just might be the PP quarterback we need...we haven't had a boomer since Blake left.
October 23, 2008 12:06 PM ET | Delete
I have to agree with Avsrock. Arny needs to go, and either Hensik or Guite should move into the third line role, especially if Svats is going to stay on that line. If you move Svats with Sakic and Wolski, and drop tucker with Jones and Arny, then I don't even think that line will score and is jsut another checking line. Boots looked better in the LA game, especially after the two bad goals to start. Neither goalie has been asked to steal a game yet though. They've jsut been asked not to lose it and so far Rayzor leads that 2-1. If one of these guys gets the start and steals a game 2-1 or 1-0 then You know that you've found your starter, untill then I think it's going to look shakey
October 23, 2008 7:11 PM ET | Delete
No way do we bring Cumiskey up. In order to be a PP QB, he has to hit the net with his shot. Until Cumiskey can do that, he will be mired in either the AHL or the southeast division, whichever's worse. No, we need to maintain the Defense as it is right now until Nigel Williams, Kevin Shattenkirk and Colby Cohen. Williams has the shot, Shatty has the instincts and Cohen has the vision. All three are the beginning and end of our defensive prospects. Only other prospect we could see make the Avs within the next three years is Cameron Gaunce. However, until then, keep the D the way it is. At the end of the year cut Leopold loose for Williams. Then Salei and maybe Clark for Shatty and Cohen.
October 26, 2008 4:59 PM ET | Delete
I know one game doesn't answer all the questions, but Budaj played pretty well last night. I do however believe its time to move Arnason, but reality is that no one will take him. Hannan is playing well, better than last year. With Foote back he isn't expected to be the only shut down d-man. The reason Hannan was so effective against the avs all those years was his heavy, physical play. I think that with Granato's faster style we are going to see that come back. I am also pretty excited to see what Jones is going to turn into. Did any of you see the breaks he was getting against Buffalo last night?
October 26, 2008 4:59 PM ET | Delete
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