Post-game vs Calgary - Feb 17, 2007 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Post-game vs Calgary - Feb 17, 2007

It was tough to watch another loss on CBC. I stuck with it until the bitter end but it was hard to do. The team came out well and the game was completely different from last game. 0-0 going into the second but then each team had a quick two-goal outburst towards the end of the 2nd. Unfortunately, the Flames had already scored one early in the second so they were going into the third with the lead. One more PP goal by the newest Avalanche killer Kristian Huselius and that was pretty much all she wrote. With a Minnesota win tonight, the Avalanche are now 9 points back from a playoff spot and it's looking bleaker and bleaker.

Jordan Leopold was scratched due to an as-yet-undisclosed injury. Given that Jeff Finger was recalled this afternoon, I'd say Leopold is out for another set of games. With Liles still recovering from his foot injury apparently, the Avs defense is looking depleted again. Not that it was ever stacked to begin with but still. Unless Finger comes in and puts up some Rob Blake circa 2002 style play, then I'd hate to be a goaltender for this team.

The first goal by Huselius illustrated the type of defensive lapses this team has. Huselius found himself wide open in front of Budaj for a good 2 or 3 seconds, until someone fed him the puck. He then dialed up his dad and said "this ones for you" before potting it past Budaj. It must be terribly frustrating as a goaltender to look up and see opposition jerseys all around you and no burgundy to be found nearby.

The penalty kill started out pretty good, and they have been so far these last few games. They killed off the full 5 minutes of the Vaananen major (more on that later), as well as killing the two other penalties surrounding that one. However, the Avalanche continued to head to the box and sooner or later, you're going to pay. Stastny took a tripping penalty, giving up a brief 5-on-3, which then led to the go-ahead goal by Phaneuf. Then Clark, one of the main PK men, took a tripping call of his own and that sealed the deal as Huselius potted his second, going top-shelf on the short-side.

Brad May continued his play on the 2nd line and, while doing a good job of being a gritty player, it's fairly apparent that he's got cement for hands. Every time he got the puck, it ended up in his skates and he was doing the old dog-chasing-tail move. And my goodness, the breakaway was painful to watch. It wasn't the best pass but he should have been able to corral it and at least get a shot off. Instead, he bobbled it off his skate and gave Regehr a free pass to poke it away. But, I give May credit for battling well with Phaneuf and laying him on his ass at one point with a clean check. Phaneuf was caught looking the other way, much like he catches other players the other way.

Ossi Vaananen was ejected from the game towards the end of the first after he delivered a nasty looking hit to David Moss. Moss turned to gather in the puck and Vaananen kept right on coming. After watching the replay twice, it became pretty apparent that Ossi had all kinds of time to at least let up. He didn't and Moss ended up going face-first into the boards and was bleeding pretty well. He didn't return to the game. That kind of hit has no place in the game and I'm glad that Vaananen got the major. The, I don't agree with that unless it was to protect him. I abhor seeing hits from behind and think they should be dealt with very severly, no matter if it was "my team" or not. And I don't believe for one second that Moss "turtled". He was simply trying to take, and keep control of, the puck.

However, if the Vaananen hit gets called like that, then the Conroy hit has to be called as well. Again, after seeing the replay, it was clear that the puck was not close to Wolski, nor was the hit unintentional. Conroy tossed his shoulder right into Wolski's head (which I'm sure wasn't the intent) and Wolski went down and it looked bad. He was very wobbly and laid face first on the ice for some time. Yet there was absolutely no call. I'm at a loss on that one. Conroy is not a dirty player but that was a hit that should have been punished in the same way as Vaananen's hit, as unintentional as it may have looked.

Now the Avs have to try and rebound from this in a game against Vancouver tomorrow evening. As I mentioned, and should be pretty apparent, Theodore should get the start. He is 3-0 against them this year and, aside from the game where he injured his hip, has been very good against the Canucks this year. Hopefully that can hold true b/c the Avs need to go on a 10-game winning streak right about now if they want to see the playoffs this season.

The Good
- good start
- May owning Phaneuf

The Bad
- bad ending
- 5 goals against
- poor defensive coverage

The Ugly
- Vaananen and Conroy's hits


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