Denver Post beat writer Adrian Dater continues his relentless attacks on Colorado Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj. In nearly every blog post and every game recap he does for the paper, he includes some kind of swipe or negative comment. Even while his colleague Terry Frei qualifies his criticism and spreads the blame evenly, Dater refuses to let up.
In the All Things Avs blog post "Will Tucker be suspended?," a post that has nothing to do with Peter Budaj or Andrew Raycroft in any way whatsoever, Dater manages to slip in this little gem:
We’ll see what happens, but the Avs have bigger issues to contend with: namely, a team that has zero faith in its goaltending, one that is always looking over their shoulder worried about every shot against.
That's a pretty bold statement, and one not backed up with any quotes, sources or evidence whatsoever.
Jibblescribbits, intrepid blogging stalwart and MHH member, asked what was on most of our minds:
Is this opinion or do you have an anonymous source for this?
A pretty fair question for a journalist to answer when making a statement like "the team doesn't trust the goalie."
Unfortunately, Dater answers it just as I suspected he would:
Doesn’t take a detective to get the clues the boys in the room are giving off about that subject.
No, maybe not, but it does take a journalist to back up the statement with a quote or a source or something other than, "it just seems that way to me." I understand that locker room access is a holy sacred right bestowed upon only the most intellectually gifted among us---newspaper journalists---and that we mere plebes can't possibly imagine or comprehend the important secrets that are shared within. I get that. But this unsupported statement seems completely ridiculous when not backed up with any kind of clarification at all.
Ian Laperriere, for example, called out the defense two games ago for their sucking, and yet we're to believe that he really blames Budaj? Lappy's still on the team, so I assume Dater was referring to him, too. Was Lappy lying?
Let's say that Dater is right, that the members of the Colorado Avalanche actually have lost faith in Peter Budaj and don't trust him to stop any shots. Let's say that's true. If it's true, then I'll be happy to go on the record and say that every single player in the Avalanche locker room is a complete and total idiot. Morons, all of them. And if they're not stupid, they're petty and immature for blaming all their screw ups on a single player when they know good and well that the current five game losing streak is a collective failure.
I've watched a lot of hockey games in my day. Maybe not as many as Adrian Dater (since he has a few years on me), but I've seen a lot. I've seen good defense played. All you have to do is watch a Detroit Red Wings game to see how to play good defense. If you saw the Avs beat the Wild in the first round of last year's playoffs, you saw superb defense---probably some of the best defense ever played by the Colorado Avalanche at any time in their history. Good defense is not difficult to spot, and bad defense is impossible to miss.
Right now, the Avalanche are playing some of the worst defense in the history of the team. They're terrible---every single player---with the possible exception of John-Michael Liles who has sucked slightly less than the rest of his fellow blueliners. And they're not getting much help from the offense, who, believe it or not, should be adding some support when the opposing team is in their zone.
But the failure of the defense is not the fault of the goaltender.
So if Dater's right, and the Avs have actually lost faith in Peter Budaj, then they're all petulant assholes, or just dim-witted fools. Otherwise, it looks a lot like Dater's got a personal ax to grind against Peter Budaj. If that's true, then it says a lot about him as a journalist---a journalist whose work I used to enjoy reading but now purposely avoid.