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Minneapolis, MN • United States • 31 Years Old • Male
Is a turtle a predator? Because I know a certain Predator that is also a turtle!

His name is Jordan Tootoo. You have undoubtedly seen him before. His specialty is charging, although he rarely gets called for it. Sometimes he misses his man and goes flying wildly into the opposing teams bench (hysterical). Sometimes he hits his mark and inures a player - like Brian Willsie (not so funny). But one thing you can always count on - when challenged to a fight, he will back down. Oh, he might justify it by saying he's being "smart" and drawing a penalty for his team. But Mr. Tootoo only fights when he can get the first (sucker) punch in. It's just not fair if the other guy wants to fight too.

In today's relatively antiseptic NHL, there are few players left that I truly love to hate. But Jordan Tootoo fills that bill quite nicely. His game is more annoying than those whistles the fans in Nashville blow. Coincidentally, his actual hockey skills have "blowing" in common with said whistles - witness his massive 6 point tally in 34 games this season.

If you're going to take a 6 stride run at a guy, then you should be prepared for some fisticuffs. Tootoo took a run at an Av in the first period, and it wasn't called. Then in the 2nd Tootoo took his run at McLeod. The only reason it wasn't charging is because he missed and sailed over the boards in to the Colorado bench. Tucker came over a few seconds later to indicate his displeasure with Jordan's antics. Granted, Tucker did not do it in a smart way. He came in with his hands in Tootoo's face. But tough-guy Tootoo's turtle act was embarrassing nonetheless. Sure, Tucker got a 4 minute double minor. But the Preds were down 4-0 at that point. At what point does Tootoo have to answer for his actions? It should be remembered that this all came on the heels of the last Preds-Avs game where Tootoo did the same thing when challenged by Laperriere after doing his usual charging bit.

If the refs won't call charging, and Tootoo won't fight, the only thing left, I'm sorry to say, is to start running Preds. I respect Trotz as a coach, but he hasn't shown any willingness to curb Tootoo's behavior. It has continued unabated for the better part of three seasons. In fact, Tootoo's act has become so routine that last night's incident doesn't even merit a mention in Mr. Fedler's Preds blog on this site. Lappy and Tucker aren't exactly Probert and Shelley; there's no excuse for avoiding these guys. Stand up and take your medicine or your teammates will have to start taking it for you.

Let's move on to more important things, like the fact that the Avs won for the third straight time last night and swept all 6 points on their 3 game homestand. Budaj was outstanding and the Avs were the benefactors of some fortunate bounces. Before you call them all lucky goals however, remember that the third and fourth goals were scored in 2 on 1 situations. The fifth goal - the give and take between Liles and Smyth - was fun to watch. I almost felt bad for Rinne. Almost.

I hate to regurgitate points made by Haynes and McNabb, but I think it's important to reiterate the effect point production from the d-men has on this team. In the Avs heydays, the D was at or near the top of the league in scoring. It is not a coincidence that this sudden surge in production from the blue line has been accompanied by wins. While the Avs still lack that true PP QB, the fact that all 6 D-men are now getting the puck to the net has instilled a new level of confidence in the forwards. They now know that a pass out of their cycle in the corner to the d-man won't usually result in a turnover. They can confidently make that pass and get to the net - not worry immediately about backchecking.

The Avs were outshot, but that was mostly a product of the double minor in the 2nd period. The Avs controlled the balance of play in this game. The only blemish was special teams - one PP goal against and no PP goals for - but 5 even strength goals makes a lot of other things irrelevant. Smyth had another good game, but it's nice when it doesn't feel like the entire offensive burden is on his shoulders. There will be plenty of games in the next month where I fear that will be the case.

One line adjustment for the Avs last night - moving Lappy on to the line wth Wolski and Jones. I like this move because it allows for some swapping of positions between Wolski and Lappy. I still would prefer to have Lappy playing the wing and Wolski centering although last night Lappy pretty much exclusively played center from what I could tell - and he had a better night at the dot going 9 for 14. Wolski was 0 for 2.

Perfect homestand - can't ask for anything more than that. Now on to Phoenix tomorrow night before returning home again. Another game against another bubble team and another crucial two points. And buck up Avs fans - the team is back in the top 8, if only for a day!
Filed Under:   Avalanche   Tootoo  
December 30, 2008 6:28 PM ET | Delete
I agree that Tootoo is a hilite reel for the charging penalty, but to his credit he did actually drop the gloves with Ethan Moreau in Edmonton on Sunday night. Now its possible he wasn't into fighting on back to back nights, but if you are going to play the style of game that he plays then you had better be willing to throw down when asked. It's either that or you'll be spitting out the fine china after someone blasts you in the face with their Koho. Tootoo has to know this (and if he doesn't then another crosscheck or two might clue him in). I'm not so sure a 4 minute pp when you are down 4-0 midway through the 2nd is worth getting the teeth caved in...But that's just me. Maybe next time, Tootoo should get the memo and throw hands.As for last night's game. The Avs looked very good in easily disposing of a tired looking Preds club.
December 30, 2008 8:08 PM ET | Delete
I agree with you on TooToo. I can't stand the guy. He'll take runs at everybody and hit them just as hard and viscious as he can but, the minute someone hits him, he drops like he's dead to draw a penalty. And the refs fall for it which makes them worse than him. They know darn well what he's doing, yet they don't call him for diving. Last week in the game vs the Wings, he was fighting for position in fron the Wings net. The whictle blew and he crosschecks a down Wing player in the neck, with the ref right there looking at it. Brett Lebda gave him a little shove and TooToo falls like Lebda just nailed him with a solid punch. Luckily, the ref didn't bit on that one. I thought sure Lebda would get called for roughing. One of these days, TooToo will pay the price.
December 30, 2008 10:36 PM ET | Delete
Ho-hum. If Tootoo played on your team, you'd love him.The issue isn't that Tootoo is a turtle, it's that Trotz has put handcuffs on him. Those who have watched him over the years know Tootoo loves to drop the gloves and can handle himself quite well. But Trotz is trying to change Tootoo's game into a more "in-control" style of hockey. There are only so many minutes alloted for Tootoo, if he's in the box, he's not on the ice.Tootoo's game is to play physical, tough hockey. While he may occasionally take a few strides, his feet are never moving when he makes contact. That's what the refs are looking for.
December 30, 2008 11:58 PM ET | Delete
Tootoo is like Sean Avery, only he can't score and he doesn't talk as much, but where he lacks in words he makes up for with cheap shots. I would take the either of our Cody's over Tootoo any day, at least they can fight
December 31, 2008 12:04 AM ET | Delete
The whole sum of your rant is that Toots won't back up his play which is just completely wrong. He doesn't fight heavys but that is common sense. Therefore your rant means squat.
December 31, 2008 8:18 AM ET | Delete
Tootoo dropped the gloves with Moreau the other night.
December 31, 2008 11:24 AM ET | Delete
Bryan - Lappy and Tucker are heavys? That's news to me, and I'm sure, to them. Therefore your comment means squat.F'nfreak - Yep, ho hum. That's what's funny about it. Not news to you guys anymore is it?And I don't know that I would love him if he played for my team. In fact, if he played for a team that I followed, I would have even more incentive to want him to stop embarrassing himself and "my" team.And congrats to Tootoo for dropping the gloves with Moreau. Way to step up. For the record that was Moreau's 2nd major of the year. I don't even know if the first one was for fighting. Who is our hero gong to target next, David Jones?
December 31, 2008 11:48 AM ET | Delete
I would love to see Stewart let him have it. Apparently he can fight, and fight quite well.
December 31, 2008 12:29 PM ET | Delete
Agreed, Stewart looked like he knew what he was doing in his fight in that Philly game.
December 31, 2008 12:44 PM ET | Delete
Tootoo is a joke. The guy is hyped (and overhyped) by everyone and it still amounts to nothing. He is a nonfactor if there ever was, and a funny one at that. When he crashed into the boards the entire Pepsi Center was laughing (I was there). Earlier in the game he slipped and fell on the ice like an idiot. There is a reason he uses these kind of tactics, and its not because he has any kind of marginal skill.
December 31, 2008 4:59 PM ET | Delete
effenhockeyfreak, there's no question that TooToo can fight and I've heard before that Trotz has put the brakes on him for it but, he's still a cheap two bit headhunter. I don't care what his feet are doing, he goes for the head with his elbows up and tries to hurt. But when he gets even slightly hit, he goes down like he was hit with a artillery shell and, that's cheap. That's not improving as a player. That's playing dirty because you don't have enough talent to be a good player.
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