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Game 23: Oilers At Avalanche, Preview And Open Thread

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When the Avalanche play the Oilers, and one team comes into the game having lost four of five while the other has won five of eight, and the losing team isn't Edmonton, you know things are really messed up in the world.

We already know the bad news.  Mile High Hockey (and every other Avalanche-related Internet outlet) has been harping on the bad news for three days straight.  So what's the good news?

The good news is that Ian Laperriere is skating again (bottom of the page) and will likely make a return to the Avalanche lineup in the next week or so.  Also in the good news category is that Jeff Finger's stiff groin (insert finger and groin jokes here...huh huh, he said "insert") seems to be fine now and he will play tonight.  Peter Budaj starting in net would be good news except that the stupid goalie carousel has the poor guy completely out of his zone.  

Sorry, that was bad news again.

Back to good news, the Avalanche have had three long days to contemplate exactly how badly they have sucked over the past five games.  I'm sure they're motivated to win.  At some point this group of supremely talented individuals will shake off whatever ails them and start playing like they did at the beginning of the season.  Unfortunately they will have to do this despite Coach Q instead of with him, since his guidance seems distinctly lacking of late.

But we all know what this team is capable of.  They just have to do it.

The game starts tonight at 7:30 PM Mountain time, 9:30 Eastern.  I skipped the last game (and wisely so), but I'll make my triumphant return to live blogging tonight.  There was a decent crew keeping things going during the Calgary debacle on Saturday, and I hope we have similar turnout.  See you here.

ESPN preview.