Well, what can I say? The Avs were competitive...for a while. If hockey games were 22 minutes long, the Avs would have won 1-0, thanks to a somewhat fluky goal by Ben Guite. However - and I'm not sure the Avs have received this memo - NHL games are 60 minutes long. The 'Hawks took advantage of a disinterested Avalanche defense to outscore the Avs 6-1 in the final 40 minutes.
For the first period or so, it looked like the Avs were inspired by Ian Laperriere's post-game rant on Sunday. Defensemen were engaging, working for the puck, picking up open players in the slot. But then, they stopped. By the end of the 3rd period, Adam Foote and Brett Clark were "defending" by skating backwards and lazily poking their sticks at the hard-skating Blackhawk kids. It was ugly.
Meanwhile, our high-octane offense has been de-clawed. The Avs are averaging 1.8 goals a game over their last 5 (and one of those goals was the goal credited for winning the shootout). Tony Granato changed up the first 3 lines tonight, but it didn't seem to help. In the early part of the season, Avalanche forwards were controlling the puck, forcing turnover, making smart passes to where they knew their linemates were headed and forechecking with vigor. Lately? Not so much. In every game over this dismal 4-game losing streak, the Avs have gotten a good performance from a few individuals, but no one line is playing well together as a cohesive unit. In just over a week, we've devolved from team hockey to street hockey.
And, while I think it's really amazing that we're 2nd in the league in major penalties and yet have the 3rd fewest minor penalties, I wonder how a team with so many fighters can let Dustin Byfuglien get away with that bone-crunching (but clean) hit on Joe Sakic? Or, for that matter, the Cam Barker slash on the hands of Dubya? Screw Adam Burish and Ben Eager - you can't let our top players get hit like that.There are a lot of fingers that can be pointed, but no one on the team is exempt from criticism this morning - all 19 players who are in the mix on the team have to be better.
I'm not even going to address how fucking embarrassing it is that the more creative offensive team - by far - was the one coached by Joel Freaking Quenneville.
David Jones was a scratch (and if you read the recap of Sunday's game, you weren't surprised by this move). The top 3 lines were all shuffled around:
- Sakic, Smyth, Hejduk
- Stastny, Wolski, Svatos
- Arnason, McCormick, Tucker
- Guite, McLeod, Laperriere
I didn't like the lines all that much. I thought the Sakic - Wolski - Hejduk & Stastny - Smyth - Svatos that we saw for a bit in the San Jose game made more sense. I did find it interesting when, in the 3rd period while still a 3-2 game, Cody McCormick took a defensive zone draw instead of Sanjaya. Unfortunately, because the camera was on one of the benches right before the draw, I couldn't be 100% sure that Arnie wasn't kicked out of the circle, but it seemed like Cody was taking that from the start.
- The Avalanche have allowed 18 3rd period goals - worst in the league. (And none of those are empty netters.
- In the last two games, 4 players have 2-goal games against Colorado.
- Each of the Avalanche defensemen was on the ice for at least one of Chicago's even strength goals.
The Avs host the Minnesota Wild - a team that has allowed a league low 22 goals (in 10 games). Super.