Gameday: Avalanche @ Oilers - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Gameday: Avalanche @ Oilers

Paul Stastny celebrates a goal in his return to the Colorado Avalanche
(AP Photo/Roy Dabnor)
It's one of them there "critical Northwest division matchups" tonight as the Avalanche steamroll into Edmonton. Ok, steamroll might not be the right word. How about...limp?

In the month of February the team is 4-5-2 and have dropped down to 9th in the Western conference, 4 points back of Nashville for the 8th and final playoff spot. If the team wants to avoid another 15-2-2 run only to miss the playoffs again, they better start playing well above .500.

Stastny's Return!
Paul Stastny made a triumphant return against the Coyotes as he scored the teams first goal on a great individual effort. If that wasn't taken as a message to the team about how to play hockey, they obviously aren't listening.

He didn't show up in the shootout until the 4th attempt as Q opted to go with Hensick over Stastny as the 3rd shooter. I can't even begin to fathom the reason for that choice. Of course I have no idea why David Jones took a shot before Liles or even Cumiskey but what do I know, I'm not a possible Jack Adams candidate, right?

Sakic's Return?
The cautiously optimistic news which would bolster the club is that Joe Sakic is highly likely to play tonight in Edmonton. Of course the club doesn't want to rush him so I wouldn't be disappointed if he didn't play, but after watching his heroics in the 2002 Gold medal game this morning, I'm really itching to see him back on the ice.

UPDATE: Joe Sakic is 99.99% probable to play tonight after being activated this afternoon.

Starting Goaltender
Jose Theodore will get the start in goal after helping the team win a marathon shootout against Phoenix on Friday. I kept that one recorded and watched the shootout again yesterday when I was bored. That doesn't mean I agree with the use of a shootout to decide an extra point, but you've got to admit...they can be exciting.

Mathieu Garon will be in net at the other end while Dwayne Roloson continues to ride the pine. The Oilers had a mini-controversy earlier this week when the media reported that Dwayne Roloson wanted out of the city and had moved his family to Ontario. Roloson quickly clarified the comment stating that he has not asked for a trade and his family moved because of the travel schedule the Oilers have remaining. Ah, to play for an NHL team in Canada. You can't break wind without a reporter dreaming up a way to spin it as you asking for a trade or being unhappy with the coach.

I believe Jeff Finger is still out of the lineup with a hand injury so Skrastins will find himself in the lineup again. The team is already missing Brett Clark, much the chagrin of the Brett Clark haters, and losing Finger does not help in the least. Shot blocks and physicality are cornerstones of solid defence and the team is absent their top player in both categories. It looks like some players *cough*Hannan*cough* will need to step it up a couple notches.

Game time
The Avalanche have had the Oilers number so far this year and I see no reason that won't continue even with their recent struggles. The puck drops at 8:00pm ET and I get to watch on the Sportsnet feed. Joy of joys.

Related Links Preview
Smyth's return still emotional
Avs need to score at trade deadline
Ask the players: Who would you be? (I love Finger's answer)


ELPOU said...

Hi !

Are you being sarcastic as to watch the game on the Sportsnet feed ? I'm a subscriber of Center Ice and being from Quebec City, each time the Avs play in Western Canada, I have the Sportsnet feed and I can't stand them.


Shane Giroux said...

Yep, I was being sarcastic :)

I'm not a big fan of the Sportsnet announcing. Well, Sportsnet West at least. I still love Jim Hughson who calls the Canucks on Sportsnet Pacific.

Anonymous said...


Shane Giroux said...

That was pretty rough to watch. You'd think a 2-0 lead after the first period against the Oilers would be a good thing.

Trust the Avalanche coaching staff to give the team the opportunity to screw that up.

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