There have not been nearly enough silly predictions here at MHH. Oh, a few have tried to predict the starting rosters for the first game, we've all tried to pick the final point totals and whether the Avs will make the playoffs. Kid stuff. The average TV weather girl could do that. I intend to remedy this. Presenting the first of Twiggy's Crystal Balls(tm), starting with the month of October. I predict that it will follow the month of September and precede November. Now that I've established my credentials, the infallible predictions.
The boys will come in on an emotional high in the first period following the Foppa jersey retirement and the memorial for fallen teammates, hitting everything in sight. The game will be halted briefly to retrieve <name redacted> from the stands after ROB checks him up the new curved glass at the end of the Avs bench and into the seats. There are a number of early trips to the penalty box until Sacco and Deadmarsh can get the team calmed down. In the third period Forsberg floats down from the rafters using his number banner as a parachute and plays a few shifts with a borrowed stick, registering an assist on Landeskog's first goal. The game goes down to the shootout with only Datsyuk standing between the Avs and victory. Varlamov makes a ridiculously athletic save to register his first victory as an Av. Red Wings fans in the stands demand a recount and then a re-do.
Record 1-0-0, 2 points
Game 2 - Colorado Avalanche at Boston Bruins - October 10
Celebrating a guy who so badly misjudged the circumference of the planet that he missed a couple of continents, the Avs face the Bruins in a rare (for the rest of the league) Monday day game. Celebrate Columbus Day yourself with a long lunch since most of the country still has to work. The Bruin's Stanley Cup hangover is supplemented with one of the more garden-variety, and the Avs run out to a quick 2 goal lead. The second period is more balanced and a bit chippy. Boston evens the score in the 3rd, but Matt Duchene pots his first of the season with a couple of minutes left to seal the win. Denizens of MHH begin to plan their Stanley Cup parties.
Record 2-0-0, 4 points
Game 3 - Colorado Avalanche at Columbus Blue Jackets - October 12
Rick Nash now has a center who might actually be able to get him the puck in a scoring area. Titanic battles between Colorado's monster defensemen and Nash wear the ice down to the concrete in the third period, necessitating a delay while the entire crease is re-frozen. Unfortunately, a badly executed line change by the Avs leaves RJ Umberger alone in a break-away on Varlamov.. Columbus wins 1-0.
Record 2-1-0, 4 points
Game 4 - Colorado Avalanche at Ottawa Senators - October 13
Breaking with his pattern of the last 2 seasons, Sacco actually starts the backup goaltender in the second game of a back-to-back. Giguere responds with a sparkling 16 save shutout. Ottawa didn't do all that much to improve over last year, and now that Anderson has his big contract he sees no reason to stand on his head. The Avs pepper him with 35 shots, with 5 finding the twine. The Avs head down the highway to Montreal with an easy win in their pocket.
Record 3-1-0, 6 points
Game 5 - Colorado Avalanche at Montreal Canadiens - October 15
In anticipation of another Canadiens hockey game (win or lose), the citizens of Montreal set fire to all the firetrucks in the city. Emerging from the smoke, the Avs bus disgorges it's payload to the screams of disoriented fans accustomed to seeing Disney's "Smurfs on Ice". The Avs defense is frustrated in the first period as the tiny Montreal forwards buzz around like gnats. Only Eric Cole is actually visible. The Avs coaching staff preaches patience, and in the second period the gnats are swatted. Shane O'Brien is ejected when he hip-checks Brian Gionta in the head (Shanahan refuses to give out a suspension saying that it was Gionta's fault for being so damn short). The score is tied after overtime, and it's Andrei Kostitsyn who buries the only successful shootout attempt.
Record 3-1-1, 7 points
Game 6 - Colorado Avalanche at Toronto Maple Leafs - October 17
The curse of the ex-Avs makes its first appearance of the year. Johnny Hot Pocket and Blue Steel both score goals, Liles' coming on the power play and Dupuis' coming shorthanded, just like his first goal for the Avs. The Duchene line gets hot with 2 goals and 4 points, and Stastny scores on an end-to-end rush, with the only assist going to Varly. The Avs give one up late, and then another in overtime. The mainstream media declare Sacco is on the hot seat after this late swoon and the deathwatch commences. Most writers fail to notice that the Avs are holding first place in the Northwest Division.
Record 3-2-1, 7 points
Game 7 - Chicago Blackhawks at Colorado Avalanche - October 20
Chuck Kobasew finally gets out of the press box and Giguere gets another start. Kobasew responds by blocking a Brent Seabrook slap shot with his instep in the first period and is done for the night (day-to-day, lacerated uvula). With the score tied in the 3rd period, Mueller out-muscles newly-minted center Patrick Kane for a rebound and goes top shelf for the win.
Record 4-2-1, 9 points
Game 8 - Colorado Avalanche at Chicago Blackhawks - October 22
Game two of the home and home and Matt Hunwick replaces Ryan Wilson in the line-up. Evidently some ill will developed in the last game as Cody McLeod drops the gloves with Dan Carcillo at the opening face off. The two agitators circle each other throwing insults until the referee has had enough and gives both 5 minutes for stupidity. Late in the third with the Avs on the powerplay, Johnson fires a bomb from the point which ricochets off so many players that the official scorer gives everyone on the ice an assist, but no one gets credit for the winning goal.
Record 5-2-1, 11 points
Game 9 - Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames - October 26
Division play begins. Colorado enters Calgary on a tear and tied with Minnesota for the Northwest Division lead. Sadly Mika Kiprusoff finds his game, and Alex Tanguay reminds everyone that he too is an ex-Av with a 4 point night. Johnson fires another pinball shot into a crowd and Winnik scores the Koci, but it is too little too late and the Avs fall to the Flames.
Record 5-3-1, 11 points
Game 10 - Edmonton Oilers at Colorado Avalanche - October 28
It's Kids night at the Pepsi Center as two of the youngest teams in the NHL square off. Oddly, the goals in the game are all scored by guys over 30: Hejduk (2) for the Avs, and Belanger and Ryan Smyth for Edmonton. Lots of end-to-end rushes in OT result in nothing, and Gabriel Landeskog finishes a 7 round shootout going glove side high on Dubnyk. The Avs pull a point ahead of Minnesota for sole possession of first in the Northwest.
Record 6-3-1, 13 points
Game 11 - Los Angeles Kings at Colorado Avalanche - October 30
The Kings enter the game on a 3 game skid, their offense having all but disappeared. Unfortunately, it won't just be the ghouls in the stands that are scary on this night before Halloween. The Kings find their Johnson to the tune of a powerplay goal and 2 assists. Kopitar also finds the net and the Avs shots are all "just wide". Kobasew returns to the lineup, and buries a rebound during a goal mouth scramble. It's not enough, the Avs fall 4-1, and Kobasew is injured in the final minutes taking a tomahawk slash to the back of the knees (day-to-day, ovarian cyst).
Record 6-4-1, 13 points
We come to the end of October with the Avs having played better than expected. They miss out on first place in the Northwest by one point and hold a 2 point edge over Vancouver who are coming on strong after struggling. Minnesota is also doing very well, taking teams by surprise by attempting to score goals. Calgary has had only one good game so far, Game 9 against the Avs. Edmonton brings up the rear with some extremely entertaining but wildly inconsistent hockey.