Post-game vs Edmonton - Mar 23, 2007 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Post-game vs Edmonton - Mar 23, 2007

I have so much to catch up on but I guess I'll start with the Edmonton post-game and then will have a quick Vancouver post-game up. It'll be quick as I didn't catch a lot of the game but I did catch the end.

So Friday I found myself seated in section 116, row 13, seat 4 and was watching the Avalanche-Oilers game live! It had been a while since being at a live NHL game and I'd forgotten how great it is to see the entire ice surface so you can really watch a game. My girlfriend complained that the game seemed slower than on tv but I loved it. On tv you're forced to watch what the camera crew wants you to watch and it's not always what you want!

On the entrance to Rexall place we got some (joking) barbs from Oilers fans as I had my hat and old-school jersey on and my gf had a hat somewhat hidden in her hands (she didn't want to get beaten up). The folks I sat next to were very nice people and I also ran across a few Oilers fans who wished us luck if we were to make the playoffs. While waiting for the Avalanche bus to leave, I heard an Avs fan complain that they were heckled relentlessly and actually left their seats, which is unfortunate. I'm glad I didn't have to be subject to that.

The game itself was fairly exciting to watch live but was devestating as an Avalanche fan. Things looked so good in the 1st period which the Avalanche dominated save for one defensive lapse that didn't lead to an Oilers goal. But Hemsky had some jump in his game today and made a fool of Peter Budaj on the first goal and that really turned the tide. And after Kurt Sauer bumbled the puck leading to Lupul's tying goal...I did not feel confident about coming out with the W. Until Joe Sakic stepped up in the SO with the game on his stick. Then Roloson decided to turn into playoff-mode Roloson and made another huge save. And when Wolski came out to try and extend the shootout...well I was basically out of my seat knowing the result.

So let's jump right into it with Wojtek Wolski. This kid has been so hot and cold this year but as of late, he's ice cold on offense. His defensive play has somewhat improved but his offensive skills lately are severly lacking. If he were to look more uncomfortable with the puck I might mistake him for Kurt Sauer. He tripped over his own feet on multiple occasions, he coughed up the puck under no pressure many times, and all his attempts to stickhandle across the blueline were met with a pokecheck. He would then hit the brakes full on and completely take himself out of the flow of the game. When Hejduk loses the puck at the blueline, he keeps going and often recovers. That's the difference in a player with confidence and a player without. And it seems like Wolski has none at the moment.

Defensive puck movement, on a whole, on Friday was sub-par. Brett Clark, much to my chagrin, was looking too calm with the puck and it cost him on a couple occasions. Ales Hemsky nearly pick-pocketed him in the 1st which led to me making that note initially. From then on, I saw more of the same from him and was very disappointed, particularly since I had recently praised his composure with the puck. Composure is one thing but if you carry the puck at 1/4 speed out of your zone, you're asking for trouble. The forwards never seemed terribly tied up so it wasn't the lack of an outlet, I think he was just too busy looking for the perfect outlet.

Ken Klee and Ossi Vaananen can both join that club as well. When either gets the puck on their stick and are under pressure, they make a mistake. With Klee, it even led to a penalty as he flipped the puck over the glass while under mild pressure. I'm surprised with that sort of play coming from a guy who's been around as long as Klee has. As for Ossi, I never expected much from his play with the puck but I do hope for him to clear the zone from time to time. It would be nice.

And to keep this entire post going on the negative front, a huge thumbs down to Kurt Sauer who completely misplayed the puck at the absolute worst time. The worst part is...it wasn't a difficult puck to control. It was just sitting there and he whiffed on it. Lupul grabbed it, Clark screened Budaj and that was that. If you saw an Avalanche fan with a blue yeti foot hat on and his head down in embarrasment while watching the game on Sportsnet...that was me. It lasted all of 1/2 a second from what I could see on the jumbotron after I saw the camera near me but it's now my claim to fame.

I actually thought I'd have more to say but frankly I was too busy enjoying the live experience to write down enough notes. And when I did write a note, it was because of some terrible play that I had to vent on. For instance, my last note of the game was "Sauer sucks". Terrible to say I know but emotions run high when you're live at the game!

Those emotions kept going after the game was over and led to us being inches from getting into the Oilers lockerroom. It's not the one we wanted to be in but bear with me. After the game was over, we asked a Sportsnet camera man how to get backstage. He said he had no idea but after some cajoling he told us the general direction to head but warned us that 10 policeman and security guards would be nearby and have tackled fans for less. Well, there was only 1 security guard who didn't give us a second glance as we headed backstage. After making it by the camer crew, who were too busy packing to care, we caught the tail end of Quenneville's post-game. Yep, we were just behind the throng of reporters. As he was just ending, and I didn't care much about his autographs...or getting punched by him which seemed a very real possibility, we kept walking. People hustled by but none gave us a second glance. As long as you look like you know where you're going, people don't bother you.

That is until you reach the locker room. It was at that point that a security guard emerged and asked if we had a pass. After a microsecond contemplation of saying "Yes", I decided "No" was the better answer as he'd likely to ask to see it. And I didn't have it. Therefore making me lie to the guard. Which I bet they don't like. So he asked how we got there and we played the "I don't know, I'm from out of town" card and he led us back towards where we came from. Along the way he asked various people if they knew how we got in but I guess we were ninjas b/c nobody saw us. Or nobody admitted to seeing us b/c they knew they'd be in some shit for letting the "common folk" back there. You know, the ones who help pay players salaries. But I won't get into that rant now :)

It obviously wasn't the locker room we wanted to be in anyways so no skin off our back. We ended up waiting at the side of Rexall place hoping to catch a glimpse of the Avalanche bus as it took off. We did get that glimpse and boy what a glimpse it was. Quenneville seated at the front looking scary as usual. The rest of the Avs with their heads hung as the half-dozen of us tried to catch their attention to no avail. And if a hot girl in an Avalanche hat yelling "Sakic!" as she briefly chased the bus didn't get their attention, I figured nothing will. I also figured my girlfriend wouldn't do it when I told her to but she proved me wrong!

I will be working on getting my videos and pics up today and tomorrow and hope to have them linked from this post by Tuesday. I'm sure work will get in the way somehow but where there's a will, there's a way!

The Good
- watching it live
- Svatos getting a dirty goal
- 3rd line going hard

The Bad
- giving up the lead so late in the game
- D was terrible with the puck
- Hemsky being back in the lineup

The Ugly
- not getting a chance for autographs

3 Comments:

Mike Thompson said...

Congrats on what sounds like a great experience! Just so you know, I've stopped watching the Avs during this hot streak and am relying entirely on your posts to remain in the loop. They got hot when I wrote off the season, so I'm not about to jinx it now. Although, after watching Nashville completely destroy the Oilers the other night, I can't understand why the Avs didn't come out with the W in this one...

Shane Giroux said...

mike,

It was a good time and I'm glad I went. I'll hopefully be catching them on April 5th while I'm in Vancouver so should have another good report.

My Sunday post-game should go up tonight depending on various other factors. Buying and selling your property in time to meet various conditions is a lot of work but it's nearly over!

The Avalanche definitely beat themselves with poor defensive puck possession (or non-possession in some cases). That first goal by Hemsky really gave the Oilers some life and turned the tides for the worse.

Anonymous said...

Hey Shane... I love the backstage story. If you act like you belong, you often get what you want. Good job.

Ryan

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