Well, thank god that's over.
Despite the hope that they would leave the series with at least one win, the Avalanche once again completely crapped the bed and lost to the Red Wings 8-2. The sweep in the Western Conference Semifinals worsened the Avs' record against the Wings this season to 0-8.
Of all the teams to go winless against, why the Red Wings?
Detroit fans can now gloat and revel in the fact that their extremely talented (and healthy) team easily dispatched a former arch rival completely decimated by injuries and crippled by poor coaching, both of which plagued the Avalanche all season long. The only exception was the first round series against the Wild, when everything seemed to come together.
Just as the Avs got healthy, coordinated, and backed up by a solid goalie, it all fell apart again. Ryan Smyth, Scott Hannan, Paul Stastny, Wojtek Wolski and Peter Forsberg all missed significant chunks of the series. Can anyone imagine the Red Wings being so dominant without Pavel Datsyuk, Thomas Holmstrom, Brian Rafalski, Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler? The Avalanche offense, which clicked very well through the second half of the season and into the playoffs, was essentially erased, with only aging veterans and inexperienced rookies to fill the gaps. It wasn't going to happen.
The Avalanche defense, which was so amazing against Minnesota, looked completely lost against the Red Wings. Slow, out of position, and out-played in every aspect of the game. Adam Foote had no answer for Pavel Datsyuk. Kurt Sauer got embarrassed repeatedly by Henrik Zetterberg. And Johan Franzen made everybody look stupid.
The goalies probably played as well as they could have behind such an inept defense. That said, they both pretty much sucked. Peter Budaj played very well in his early relief efforts in games 1 and 2, but his showing in game 4 was atrocious. Jose Theodore was sick and sucking and then healthy and sucking, so at least he was consistent. Honestly, I wouldn't be opposed to seeing Theodore back next season, as long as he's not making $6 million. One bad series, considering how bad the rest of the team played and how bad the injuries were, should not be the end of him.
ADDENDUM: I think it's worth noting that even though the Avs got blown out in two of the four games in this series, they didn't flip out and try to kill their opponents. There were relatively few cheap shots, no attempts to injure, no big brawls or sucker punches after the whistle. The Avs didn't try to run Osgood, or hurt Zetterberg, or jump in the air while boarding Lidstrom. Especially in game 4, when the score was 7-1 at one point, the Colorado Avalanche didn't go bush league on the Red Wings. Minnesota Wild fans, take note. If your team is going to lose, and bad, there are two ways to do it---and the Avs picked the right way.
Now we can focus on the rest of the playoffs without that sick feeling in the pits of our stomachs that always comes with watching your team lose. Watching other people's teams lose isn't nearly as painful. I can't wait to see the Red Wings collapse against the Stars or the Penguins dispatch the Flyers.
I'll probably be posting threads for the remaining playoff games if everyone is interested. I know most of us aren't going to stop watching hockey just because our team lost. I know some people expressed interest in the game thread last night, so I'll try to facilitate continued playoff chatter.
And let's save the speculation about the futures of Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and all the rest of the Avalanche until the Cup is won and the off-season begins. No eulogies yet, please.
Stars of the Game:
- The Red Wings