4 in a row
Posted 6:17 PM ET | Comments 0
I leave the country for a week and this is what happens?
I came back looking forward to watching the 4 games I'd Tivo'd, but all I got was a huge turd sandwich.
Streaky you say? All you have to do is look at the titles to this post and the last. The last one said 5 in a row. And the Avs started off by losing their first 3. If they are to have any hope at all of making the playoffs, losing 3 or 4 games in a row cannot be tolerated. Right now they are streakier than undershorts after bad Mexican food.
Enough sophisticated poop jokes. I don't feel like totally sifting through the carnage of the train wreck that was the last 4 games, but I can muster a couple of thoughts for each.
@ Calgary - The Avs played well through 2 periods, but got blown off the ice in the 3rd. Budaj played a great game until he let in that stinker to go down 2-0. Another game with a bad goal allowed, and this one was a killer. At least the PK was statistically perfect, although the Flames first goal was scored just after Jones' penalty expired. PP 0-3.
vs. Columbus - Raycroft allows two soft goals. Yes they were nice shots right underneath the crossbar and yes there was a d-mans stick was right on both shots, but severe angle wrist shots from the tops of the circles must be stopped by NHL goalies. It's that simple. Ugly. Only positive was that the Avs came up with 2 PP goals.
vs. Sharks - Defensive nightmare. At least 4 goals, maybe all of them, were scored from inside 5 feet - either cross-crease passes or rebounds. This means the D were getting outmuscled or outworked or outsmarted (or all three) in front of the net. Leopold and Hannan seem like they have some sort of peripheral vision problem. Salei is standing around, his feet look like concrete blocks. Foote looks slow at times. Liles and Clark can be posted up on. Yuck. Sure, I'll give them "McNab credit" for not quitting and battling, but the defensive lapses cannot be excused. Budaj did what he could.
@Chicago - I was most alarmed at the transition goals allowed. Again, not Budaj's fault. 3 on 2s, 2 on 1s, etc. Not characteristic. Maybe they just got behind and got desperate, but they can't throw defensive responsibility out the window because they are down by a goal or two.
The summary is that they can't get all facets of their game together, and they are not good enough for any part of their game to be subpar and still come out with a win. Budaj lets in a bad goal and the O takes the night off, then Raycroft lets in two, then the D doesn't show up for two games but the offense looks great again. It might be time to put Tjarnqvist in for a game or two if Salei can't get it together. He looks the worst of all 6, and Granato needs to get the attention of the D. On the flip side, the offense needs to keep it up. Hejduk looks great and the 4th line almost always puts in a good shift when called upon. And the Avs cannot afford any soft goals against.
So here's to starting a winning streak tonight. These are big points against division rivals, even in November. Granato needs to start earning his pay.
A quick word on the other hockey issue of the day (no not Sarah Palin) - the Weight hit on Sutter. A completely clean hit. Didn't leave his feet, didn't bring his elbow up. These hits are a part of the game and should not be penalized. I feel awful for Sutter, but players must be responsible for keeping their heads up, plain and simple. To completely eliminate injury in a violent game is impossible and should not be tried. Nobody wants to watch a neutered version of the NHL. On the Inside the Game segment on the NHL network, they had Colin Campbell discussing the hit and I was relieved to hear his take is pretty much the same as mine. He was asked if players aren't getting the same coaching to keep their wits about them and protect themselves. He didn't give much of an answer, but my opinion is that because of things like stop signs on the backs of jerseys and automatic misconducts for hitting from behind and automatic major and game misconducts for injuring players in youth hockey - it deprives kids at a young age from the negative consequences of keeping their head up and protecting themselves at all times. Of course I don't want to see a 12 year old break his neck - nobody does. And I don't have a problem with youth hockey emphasizing penalizing checking from behind. But is it too politically incorrect to suggest that an unintended consequence for this diligence is that youth players have less of an incentive to protect themselves at a young age - so they don't learn how to do it properly? Just asking.