Let's just get a couple of things out there so I have something to link to in the future, yeah? It'll save me some typing down the road.
Nobody who has watched this team in the last three years saw the changes made over the summer as drastic enough to propel the young, mediocre mish-mash of NHL players into something other than a slightly less mediocre mish-mash of a team. This team is BUILT to sneak into the playoffs, maybe win a round, and then hit the links. There isn't enough size, depth, talent, or consistency at any one position to elevate the team as a whole. That doesn't mean that they can't be fun to watch or that we can't be passionate about the team. It also doesn't mean that they can't get on a roll, we can't thump our chests as fans, and that we can't pray for an early end to the suffering if it goes the other way.
That being said, the double whammy of injuries out of the gate to Downie and then Landeskog have derailed any momentum that a quick start might have held. The biggest issue in a lot of our minds is the composition of the team itself as it sits today. Very little about what is iced under the banner of Colorado on a nightly basis is all that different than it has been for the last three years.
This is a two line team right now. You've got Dutchy and Pappy dragging the morbidly obese Fatty J. McGinn up and down the ice, banging bodies, creating sweet, sweet (down Jamie!) scoring chances off of the rush and an aggressive forecheck. That's a good line. McGinn is a good fit with his work ethic, willingness to be Steve Downie V2.0 and wreak havoc for his linemates. Pappy and Duchene have developed some chemistry but at some point Dutchy has to put some pucks of his own in the net and not hope that P.A. will continue to carry the mail on the bulk of the shifts.
You've then got SoS trying to work some magic with 2013 whipping boy (or an out-of-position Mitchell) and a still-handsy-but-not-fleet-of-foot Duke with their cycle game and BTN presence. Again, not a bad line, but if teams key on containing Stastny and forcing him to try and make lower-percentage plays, there hasn't been much evidence that the other three suspects on that line will generate wonders-and-thunders on their own.
Still, not a bad lineup, except the remaining bottom half of the roster can't be counted on to do their jobs, so the SoS line is being used disproportionately in their own end and can't drive the play the other way consistently enough. Our third line is a mess. Is it a checking line? Is it a scoring line? Energy/forecheck? It feels like a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none situation there. I like the calming influence of a goon IN THEORY, but even a face-off beatdown didn't jack the team up, which tells me the guys in the bench might not really appreciating Bordy's influence on the fourth line.
The result of the 3rd and 4th line situations is that SoS' line gets used differently and further hampers the offensive punch. After the top two lines, it's a bunch of meh with an occasional Highlander/Evgeni Mitchell/Kobario sighting. The PP is a train wreck and the PK is schizo. Goaltending isn't a minus like in years past, but it hasn't been a big enough of a plus in the losses, mainly because Varly can't SCORE goals too.
None of the D pairs command enough respect as offensive threats and none of them are stone-cold locks as defenders. Everybody on the blueline is good at one or two things, but nobody appears to be decent enough at everything to be counted on in all situations with any measure of faith. That level of consistency is hard to find and tends to be coveted by other teams, so it doesn't just fall into your lap.
My point is that depth is an issue. Talent is an issue. Utilization is an issue. And now, based on Duchene's comments after last night's shutout loss, frustration is an issue or quickly could become one. I think we all could adjust the tint on our Burgundy specs (up or down). Nobody is a bigger Jones fanboy than me, but he's been especially difficult to watch. However, there are problems up and down the lineup and the addition/subtraction of one guy here or there won't appreciably change anything when the guy coming into the lineup has different but equally troubling issue of his own. The personnel mix isn't good right now, but I'm not convinced that there's pieces laying around to change that. We gotta roll with what we got, stop pining for what we don't, enjoy the good, forget the bad, beat Detroit, and have some fun.
Mike's Second Cent: The Site
We've been accused of many things at this site. So many that Joe left to get a law degree to attempt to curb the influx of lawsuits. It got so bad that we started allowing our other legal counsel to keep whores as compensation and a more consistent revenue stream to account for the weird advertising scheme we have set up. But that's neither here nor there...
Anyway, we've got a good community here. Not everybody gets along. That goes for the eleventy-billion staff writers and the members. One thing we've had from the beginning is a willingness to engage in meaningful AND well-constructed arguments and discussions. As is typical on the intrawebs, several...let's call them "camps"...have formed on most issues related to the issues discussed on the site and that's to be expected. Humans by their nature are petty and tribal. So, that being said, should we just assume that everyone is entrenched in their opinions and not talk about those issues? No, because this place wouldn't have anything to talk about if we didn't talk about our opinions. (Except alcohol. And hot food-related women. And Pokemon. And sometimes books.) Should we villainize people for not being members of our group? Of course not, this is a hockey website, not the U.S. Government. Should we present our opinions in a clear, dialogue-friendly manner? Sure, why the hell not. It would be a refreshing change from the other 99.9% of the web.
The beef that arises (at least for me) isn't that somebody has a different opinion, it's that they often present them as such with no readily-apparent basis in fact. Opinions don't form from the ether but they are often presented that way or at least in a manner that allows them to be interpreted that way. I'm as guilty as anybody on this at times. (I hate all defensemen. They don't do their jobs because if they did I'd have hundreds of shutouts.) What we have to be careful is that we don't lower the level of our dialogue every time we disagree with another member of the community. I find that is really easy if you remember a few key rules:
- They're a member here just like you. They paid their dues by reading DDC's drivel and praising my Anatomy. It's like a right of passage. Everybody is on a level playing field.
- Nobody sees the game/players/team/management/league the same way as you do. We're all unique flowers and we need to keep that in mind before we lay into somebody for expressing their own special brand of snowflake. You should see the crazy shit AJ writes that we have to delete but the point is we let him write it.
- Punctuation and Capitalization. Use them. Much like turn signals, failure to utilize these time-honored tools and conventions will only hasten the downfall of mankind. I know this is true because Cheryl told me it was true.
- Three-post minimum. Give a guy/gal/whatever a chance to present a point and answer a polite question or three before you assume you have a grasp of their particular brand of worldview. It saves you from looking like a jackass and it will provide hours of hilarity for the rest of us when we do root out the legit trolls and malcontents.
- Don't bag on anybody for participating/not participating in conversations. Remaining silent on a topic isn't tacit acceptance or denial of said topic unless it's related to bikini waxes. If I ask you if you're smooth like butter down there and you don't answer, I'm assuming you pay somebody to rip out your taint hairs. If I ask your opinion on brazilians and you don't answer or participate in the conversation, I'll just assume you hate America. Those are the only two ways any rational person could interpret the issue.
- Don't bag on Dario for his type-written verbosity. Anti-inflammatories won't clear that shit up. Sometimes you just have to roll with it. Conversely, don't get internet beef with somebody because they didn't use charts and graphs to root out all counter-arguments to their opinion. Just give 'em a chance and discuss it. This site should be fun, not a thesis defense.
- Participate in this site with the intent to contribute to the betterment of the site. (This doesn't apply to me, obviously.) Don't drag us all down because you can't act like a human being, Kristen Kreuk.
- What I'm saying is that you're all here because you appreciate my Anatomy.
In summary, the Avs suck, signing Radar won't change that (just thought I'd slip that in there!!), injuries suck, keeping Flash wouldn't have changed that, this site is awesome, but we can all make it better. Calm down and fuck the Red Wings.