Playoffs? Is that tonight? - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Playoffs? Is that tonight?

Hayden Panettiere licks the Stanley Cup
How quickly the last couple days flew by. After the Avalanche dispatched the Wild in a preview of their upcoming series - you know, minus intensity - we had to endure 2 days of playoff previews, prognostication and petulance. Ok, mostly the petulance was from subjecting myself to Pierre McGuire's "Monsters of the Year" segment on TSN.

But the day has finally arrived! The Stanley Cup playoffs begin tonight and so does the Avalanche's quest for their third Stanley Cup. And who wouldn't want to taste that sweet, sweet Cup? Heck, even hottie Hayden Panettiere got a little Cup action the other day as you can see.

At 9:08 EDT the puck will drop to start off the Colorado Avalanche-Minnesota Wild series. The game will be joined in progress on TSN/VS (ugh!) but can be caught online at or via their sister feed, RDS. What more needs to be said? Well, a whole lot actually and I'll link to a ton of articles at the end of this post.

In the meantime, what about my thoughts? Well I'll be honest with you, I don't do a lot of predicting. Sure, there are teams I'm expecting to win but come playoff time, predictions don't mean much. That's why TSN has a friggin' monkey making picks on their show. And why the monkey has often predicted better than their hockey panel.

However I couldn't let things pass without giving a quick overview of my thoughts on this series during my lunch break.

First, I'm in complete agreement with DD on the style of play. I'm not bored to tears by the Wild style at all. Maybe it's because that's the style of hockey I played back in my days. Or maybe I'm just more easily pleased than others.

The Avalanche have the edge in offensive panache in this matchup. With Peter Forsberg healthy, the team has gone 8-1 and averaged 3 goals per game. But let's not forget that the Wild still lit the lamp 223 times this season, just 8 goals behind Colorado.

Defensively, you've got to give it to the Wild. Or at least you used to. Unfortunately for them Nick Schultz recently had his appendix removed and won't be available. Combine that with Kurtis Foster's broken leg and the Wild are looking like a beat up team on the back end. However they have a great checking line centered by Mikko Koivu and it appears the whole team knows the meanings of "backcheck" and "clog the lane".

In net I'll give a slight edge to Colorado. Jose Theodore has been one of the hottest goaltenders through the second half of the season and tends to perform well in playoff situations. The team has credited him with keeping them in the running when injuries were weighing the team down and he appears to be getting some swagger back.

At the other end, Niklas Backstrom has been money all season long. He plays a solid positional game but can make some acrobatic saves when necessary. At times it appears his legs aren't attached to his body the way he stretches out. He is untested in the playoffs though and all NHL players will tell you that playoffs are a whole different ball game. Or hockey game, so to speak.

Special Teams
Even with the Avalanche resurrecting their PP as of late, the Wild still hold a decided advantage here. With Brian Rolston's booming shot and Marian Gaborik's elusiveness down low, the Wild have a fearsome unit which ranked 7th overall this season.

On the penalty kill, the Wild were the 4th ranked unit and the Avalanche were 21st. Enough said there really.

Love his style or hate it, Jacques Lemaire is a great coach. Joel Quenneville is a very good coach - at times.

Down the stretch it appears JQ has solidified his lines and he chose a goaltender back in February. If he can managed to keep himself from playing the line dance shuffle, he's got a shot at unseating one of the best coaches in the league.

Related Links Preview
RMN Wild-Avalanche Series Preview
Avalanche as underdogs
Theodore saves his career
ITCS Playoff Predictions
5 Keys for the Avs
Trash Talk Rules
NHL Network Online


Draft Dodger said...

somehow, I feel I shouldn't be enjoying that photo as much as I am...

Jay Veaner said...

Shane, that photo rules! And Draft Dodger, there's no reason to feel bad about how you're feeling. Hockey and beautiful women seem to get along pretty well.

Nothing else to say except Let's Go Avs!

Shane Giroux said...

My boss taught me the following motto: It doesn't matter where you get your appetite, as long as you go home for supper.

I guess that's one good thing from a California team winning the Cup is that some hot celebs might come out and get photographed with it. And when they want to lick it...all the better!

I think my girlfriend reads my blog from time to time so I better shut up now...

Jibblescribbits said...

Yeah I can't tell if I would rather be The Stanley Cup or Hayden Panettiere in that picture... probably the Cup.

Jay Veaner said...

I just spotted the cup in the picture...I was missing it up until now. I kept wondering what everyone was talking about.

And in three words...Joe Freakin' Sakic. That was sweet. Go Avs!

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