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Written by Sean Payton | 17 February 2011

GAME57
  • The Avalanche looked like an NHL team again.  I was sure they'd come out hard in the first and was a little surprised they didn't fall apart after playing well and giving up the first goal.  They deserved the point that they earned.
  • Tough break on Porter's tripping call in OT, but it was the right one.  
  • I was looking forward to seeing Olver, but he is in way over his head playing center on a top 6 NHL line.  Looked completely out of place and only ended up playing 7:56.
  • Jordan Staal was the best player on the ice, not even close, but O'Reilly was the game's second best player.
  • Congrats to Gaunce on his first NHL goal.  I saw a lot of tweets that basically said "why hasn't this guy been playing?" 
  • Injuries and the mis-management of the blueliners (both through trades and roster decisions) is what has done the Avs in this season.  
  • We've been getting better games out of Hunwick and Wilson lately, unfortunately Liles and O'Byrne's level of play has been dropping.
  • What a fight by Wilson.  Its not often you see a fight so one sided in the NHL - I'm glad he didn't break his hand.
  • Koci watch: 1:30.  (wow.)
Next game: at Sharks, Saturday 8:30PM mountain
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Written by Sean Payton | 15 February 2011

Since last night's game debacle could accurately be summed up with one bullet that simply said "everyone sucked", I'm going to switch gears today.

 WORDS OF ADVICE

  • To Craig Anderson: You got it backwards.  You're supposed to have a good season in a contract year. 
  • To Chris Stewart: Don't get ever suckered into a meaningless fight in a game in November, again.
  • To Kyle Quincey: Alex Ovechkin is strong.  Try checking Matt Cooke instead.
  • To Brandon Yip: I tried to tell you that switching from #59 to #18 was a bad idea...
  • To Greg Sherman:  Please consider injury history the next time you make a trade for a top 6 forward.
  • To Josh Kroenke: You are paying Matt Hunkwick $1.5 million this season.  Think about all the good you could have done with that money.
  • To Jonas Holos: Keep your head up - no one else understands, either...
  • To Kyle Cumiskey: Have you ever seen Europe?  Would you like to go for 9 months or so, starting next fall?
  • To Subway: Time to revise your business plan if it factors in sales of the "$2 subs if the Avs win" promotion.
  • To Joe Sacco: Find a good real estate agent.
  • To Avs fans: Prepare yourselves for an Avalanche team that looks a whole lot like the AHL's Lake Erie Monsters very shortly.
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Written by Sean Payton | 13 February 2011

GAME56
  • Tough, tough loss - however the better team won this game.  No question Nashville badly outplayed Colorado all night long.
  • A pretty soft goal allowed by Budaj on Nashville's winner, but it was even a worse clear from Winnik.  Winnik was far from a fucking win on that play.
  • Duchene was absolutely awful - so bad that Sacco had to pull him off the Foppa / Hedgie line.  That included a complete meltdown on the PP that nearly led to a Nashville goal.
  • That is until he scored in the 3rd - then he looked like Matty again.  Hopefully the end result in this game doesn't completely kill the confidence he had going.
  • Forsberg wasn't as effective as he was in Columbus, but 1. 2nd night of a back to back and 2. Nashville is very good defensively. 
  • I thought Gaunce looked good - looking forward to seeing more of him.  The way things are going, I think there's a good chance he'll stick around.
  • What the hell was with benching Liles for the 1st period?  If you're going to scratch him, fine - if you're going to bench in the 2nd or 3rd because he isn't on his game, that's ok - but benching someone for the 1st, then playing him - I don't get it and I doubt the players do either.
Next game: vs Flames, Monday, 8PM mountain
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Written by Sean Payton | 12 February 2011

GAME55
  • If you would have told me that the Avs would 1. get the first goal, 2. get quality goaltending in Forsberg's first start - I would have said, "Ok, sounds like we finally got two points."
  • Jackets best skater, team leader in SOG and points: All Star Rick Nash.
  • Avs best skater, team leader in SOG and points: 4th liner Philippe Dupuis.
  • Dupuis (along with Forsberg and Budaj) was one of only a small handful of bright spots.  Former Avs aren't the only players who score on their former team; Columbus traded Dupuis to Colorado in 2008 for Mark "Jason Spezza is soft" Rycroft.  
  • To put it mildly, I don't understand any situation where playing Koci over O'Reilly makes any sense.  Yes, Koci had a fight (along with a whopping 4:06 of ice time), but so did 2 other Avs.
  • Holos lost the puck at blue line in the offensive zone a couple of times, including one during the Avs only PP.  The last time I watched a Lake Erie game, Gaunce seemed to be much more effective than Holos, more size, better shot.  I would have liked to have seen him get a shot.
  • Don't get me wrong though - no question in my mind that Holos is a big upgrade over Cumiskey.
  • Let's get two points in Nashville boys, huh?
Next game: at Predators, Saturday 6PM mountain no comments

Written by Sean Payton | 10 February 2011

GAME54
  • Despite getting two lucky goals, the Avs still can't get a point out this one.
  • Despite getting an early goal in the first minute of the 3rd to get back with in 1, the Avs only mustered 4 more SOG during the period.  That includes a PP chance around the 12min mark, which was completely wasted.
  • Minnesota's 2nd goal was a soft goal on Andy, no question, but don't lose sight of the fact that Stastny allowed his man Havlet to walk out in front and cause all of the confusion.  Minutes later, Duchene allowed Koivu to make a similar play that he just missed on.
  • Zero SOG for Duchene - who had a fantastic scoring chance he badly shot over the net while the game was 0-0.  Didn't force Backstrom to make a save, no chance for a rebound.
  • "How bad is it" you ask?  Over the last 8 games, the Avs are 1-7.  They have gathered 2 of 16 points and have been outscored 32-14.
  • Andy is now 13-15-3 on the season.
Next game: at Columbus, Friday 5PM mountain no comments

Written by Sean Payton | 08 February 2011

GAME53
  • Right now, Colorado is a below average defensive team who can't score goals.  Not exactly a recipe for success.
  • The Avs have lost their swagger.  Every single one of their top forwards are slumping and have no confidence.
  • Combined SOGs for Duchene, Stastny, O'Reilly, Jones and Shattenkirk?  That would be 0.
  • You know what would be great?  If they could find a way to bring in one of the best passers to ever play the game.  You know, someone who is in the top 5 all time for assists per game, who can set these guys up with some easy goals and get them going again.  (Yeah, keep dreaming, I know...)
  • I can't remember a game where I saw so many cross ice passes get intercepted in the neutral zone.
  • O'Byrne has an awful game.  Ok, it wasn't a Hunwick or Cumiskey-ese complete defensive meltdown, but it wasn't his best effort.
  • Wilson certainly makes his share of mistakes, but I'd much rather see him paired with Footer than Cumiskey.
  • Attendance at the Job: 9508.
Next game: at Minnesota, Wednesday 6PM mountain


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Written by Sean Payton | 06 February 2011

GAME52
  • Avs finally get a decent (let me emphasize 'decent', it certainly wasn't 'great') game out of the Dmen and the forwards play an absolutely horrible game.
  • Duchene couldn't bury chances, Hejduk couldn't get his shots on net, Stewart had no SOG, Galiardi gets completely undressed by Perry...  No flow, only a handful of flurries.
  • Big mistake by McLeod by not stopping in front of the net on Yip's chance late in the 2nd.  If he does, he probably finds the loose puck and bangs it in - tying the game at 1.  Galiardi played it right, but got there just a little later, giving McElhinney just enough time to get a hold of the puck.
  • Shattenkirk has outplayed Liles the last couple of games.  That's as much a compliment to Shatty as it an indictment on JML.
  • Only 10 more home games left for the Avs.  The change of scenery couldn't hurt, clearly home games aren't working.
Next game: at Coyotes, Monday 7:30PM Mountain no comments

Written by Sean Payton | 04 February 2011

GAME51
  • The season really feels like its slipping away.  
  • The Avs are now 12th spot in the West, 4th in the division (Calgary just passed them).
  • They are only 3 pts of a playoff spot, but they have 3 other teams who aren't in a playoff spot ahead of them now. 
  • A part of me wants to say "Man, we just can't buy a break."
  • The Avs get their game in St Louis canceled due to weather (which turned out to be not as part as predicted) and so they hadn't played a hockey game in 8 days.
  • Then there is another storm in Denver, causing half of the game attendees to get in late so the game starts with an eerie, empty feel.  (My wife and had to "briskly walk" into the Pepsi Center to get to our seats on time and we *just* made it, sitting down right as the National Anthem was beginning.)
  • The Wild take advantage and score 2 goals in the first min.  (Big mistakes by Duchene and Cumiskey.)
  • Then the Avs battle back, carry the play, get timely stops from Andy, and get the game within 1 goal a couple of times. And then get a big break: a four minute PP, Havlet off for high sticking.
  • More bad luck: the game tying goal hits the post.  Twice.
  • But breaks come and go.  Here's the real problem:  Our defense corps simply isn't good enough.  
  • Liles and O'Bryne have been fine.  Your next best player is a rookie, Shattenkirk.  Everyone else is either too old, too small or is lacking talent.
  • If we somehow get into the playoffs, I shutter to think what a good team will do to this defensive group in a 7 game series.  (Hint: It won't go 7 games.)
  • At this point, our best bet to win games is to score a bunch of goals (at least 3) - which has pretty much been the strategy all season, honestly.  That's an area where Foppa can help.
Next game: vs Ducks, Saturday, 1PM



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Written by Sean Payton | 01 February 2011

Back in October, just before Game 1, I gave several predictions about the 2010-2011 Colorado Avalanche season.  Let's see how I'm doing.

  • Prediction: David Jones will be out for the season before the All Star Game. 
  • Likelihood: Good.  Its been 5 days since the bizarre shoulder injury occurred and the timetable for his return is "indefinite".  Clearly, its going to be a while.  Maybe we'll see him in March.
  • John Michael Liles’ name will be thrown around at the trade deadline, but he will not be move (no one will take on his $4M+ salary).
  • Likelihood: Not good.  Liles has been the team's best defenseman this season and has been worth every penny of his salary. I'll be upset if his name is out there yet again.
  • Both Ryan Stoa and Kevin Shattenkirk will play 20+ games for the Avs this season.
  • Likelihood: Very Good.  Shatty has already done it - he has played 38 games so far.  Stoa is at 4 games, but with injuries to Flash and now Jones, he figures to stay up.  
  • Peter Mueller will play less than 10 games for the Avs this season.
  • Likelihood: Nearly a lock.  I don't expect to see Mueller until training camp.  
  • Top 3 scorers: Stastny, Duchene, Stewart (in that order).
  • Likelihood: Won't happen.  Had Stewie not broke his hand, this may have happened, but right now his 15 points behind Hejduk and 8 points behind Liles.  Also, Duchene is probably going to outscore Stastny.
  • Matt Duchene will score 70-80 points.
  • Likelihood: Pretty darn good.  Matty is averaging .9 pts a game.  He is on a pace to score 73 points.
  • The Avs won’t win the NW division, but will make the playoffs.
  • Likelihood:  Coin-toss.  Its clear that Vancouver is going to win the NW division, but its not clear the Avs are going to the playoffs.  They are currently in 9th spot and just loss yet another key forward to injury.  
  • Ryan O’Reilly will score 40+ points this season.
  • Likelihood: Won't happen.  Easily, my worst prediction.  Factor only has 15 points on the season.  Even if he stayed heathy, we'd only be looking at 25-30 points.  
  • Cody McLeod will get into at least one fight.
  • Likelihood: Is the sky blue?  (Yes, Cody has taken one or two fighting majors.)
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Written by Sean Payton | 27 January 2011

GAME50
  • 14 to 1.
  • Yes, the refs were pretty awful in this one, but let's not kid ourselves, they didn't cost us 3 goals.  Any talk of the refs costing us the game is silly.
  • The All Star Break couldn't come at a better time.  I don't know if its losing Flash, or all struggles at home, or the Foppa distraction but clearly this team isn't playing anywhere near a level that they are able to.  Now, it's going to be an absolute dog fight to get into the playoffs.  
  • Cumiskey had another absolutely brutal turnover behind his own net in the 1st - Budaj totally bailed him out.  I'm convinced that neither #10 and #48 are NHL caliber.  It's news when either one of these guys aren't horrible.  I'd rather see rookie mistakes than chronically ineffective play.
  • If Jones is out for the year, he just might be ready to take over the most oft injured Av award from Jordan Leopold AND the most embarrassing way to suffer a season ending injury award from Joe Sakic.
  • Over the last 15 home games, coming in 3 separate 5 game home stands, the Avs were outscored 56 to 39 and gathered only 14 of 30 points.  They averaged less than a point a game. (That's not good.)
  • I'm looking forward to the All-Star Game.  I love the format.  However, I'm not sure which team to root for if Duchene and Stastny get spilt up...  Oh, wait, what am I saying?  I can't root for "Team Lidstrom".
Next game: at Blues, Tuesday, 6PM mountain no comments