For the 2nd time in 10 days, the Avalanche came back to win a game against the Calgary Flames that they really had no business winning. On October 16th, the Avs spotted the Flames a 4-goal lead, but came back to win in a shootout. Last night, they struggled to generate offense and keep the Flames speedier players in check and were outshot badly (41-22). But, Colorado got some terrific goaltending from Jose Theodore and managed to to force the game into OT where a boneheaded play from Dion Phaneuf led to the winning goal.
Theodore won for the 2nd time this year (both wins have come against the Flames). It was somewhat vintage Theodore - vintage Colorado Theodore, that is. For most of the game, Theo was tremendous, with the best lateral movement I've seen from him in recent memory. The Flames had numerous good chances, and Theodore kept the lackluster Avs in the game. On the other hand, much like the Theo we've come to know and not love, he let in two soft goals. Three, really, as one was waved off due to an early whistle from referee Mick McGeough. I was certainly impressed with Theodore, and I hope this is a game he can build on. However, the lapses in focus remain in his game, and I am in no way ready to see him replace Peter Budaj as the starter...something Joel Quenneville is surely considering.
DirecTV seems to be doing a new thing with their Center Ice program. For the first time that I've seen, both the Colorado and Calgary feeds were available to watch (I understand other carriers have had this option in the past). I ended up recording both feeds and switching during intermissions. I really like having the option of which feed to watch, although I wish DirecTV would specify which feed is on which channel.
Watching parts of two broadcasts of the same game help illustrate the huge differences in announcing styles. I watched the first period with the Altitude team. As Jibblescribbits pointed out the other day, Mike Haynes and Peter McNab are apologists - they don't have a critical bone in their body, for either team (actually, I'm from the pauses and carefully worded phrasing, I'm pretty sure McNab does, but is on a tight leash from the idiots in charge of the production). I generally enjoy the enthusiasm of the Altidudes, but feel that they get too caught up gushing over a player on the ice and often miss important plays on the ice. Haynes often neglects to call out the names of the puck carrier - I would think that would be natural for a former radio guy.
In the second period I switched to the Calgary feed - Roger Millions and Charlie Simmer for Sportsnet. I'm not really familiar with either, although I was a big fan of Simmer as a player. The duo was much smoother and far more attentive to the action on the ice than Haynes and McNab, and I briefly considered sticking with this broadcast for the rest of the game. Then, the homerisms started to creep in. The two couldn't resist digging at Ryan Smyth every chance they had. When Smyth and Pussbag Phaneuf tangled after the whistle, Millions all but came out and said that Smyth was too chicken to fight Phaneuf. Later they implied that he gets away with too many penalties, and that's when I knew I'd be switching back to apology land. Simmer was also very negative about Theodore. While there's some justification for that based on past performance, you also need to work in that Theodore is having a MARVELOUS game. If they had a complimentary word for Theodore in the 2nd period (by the end of which, Theo had stopped 25 of the 27 shots he'd faced), I didn't hear it. It was telling that Simmer's three stars were Matt Lombardi, Alex Tanguay and Joe Sakic. I have no qualms with either Lombardi or Tanguay (both gave the Avs D fits). But no Theodore? Really? 39 saves in front of a porous defense isn't enough to warrant even a 3rd star? You are an idiot, Charlie.
My rambles can be found here
Lines and Shift Charts
Generally similar lineup to the Edmonton game, with one key exception. Jordan Leopold is hurt. He was replaced by Scott Parker (the Avs had dressed 7 D in the last game). The lines essentially stayed the same; Cumiskey played with Brett Clark, his occasional partner against the Oilers.
ITCS Report and Shift Chart is done.
I noticed that my shift charts got a mention on James Mirtle's blog yesterday (I was wondering where that hit spike was coming from). In the comments of that article, someone pointed out that an Edmonton blogger is doing something similar. It's a little bit different approach, but is another great tool if you dig that sort of thing. Must be something about those NW division fans - most of the people commenting in that article were fans or bloggers from a NW team (including our friend "Gold Star" Tapeleg).
- One of Theodore's Achilles heel last year was his dreadful performance while shorthanded (8.05 GAA). This year, he has yet to allow a PP goal, with over 27 minutes of ice time in those situations.
- Scott Parker had 8 shifts and 5:24 of ice time - both season highs.
- The Avs managed a season-low 22 shots...for the 2nd straight game
- The Avalanche are at 44.2% on faceoffs through the first ten games. You know, that Peter Forsberg guy is 50% on the draw over the last two seasons. I hear he's available...
The Avs host the 1st place Minnesota Wild tomorrow. It's the beginning of a 5-game home stand, and the last October game for the Avalanche.