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Recap: Columbus 4, Colorado 1

Welcome back to earth, fellow Avalanche fans. The Avalanche followed up their 9-goal outburst on Sunday with a 16-shot, 1-goal performance against Columbus. Our temporarily high-powered offense was turned into cannon fodder (these guys love when I mention that cannon). While the Avalanche played a strong defensive game, they had you-know-who in net to let in a couple of soft goals, and lost 4-1.

The game itself was relatively even, and featured excellent defensive play throughout. Each team managed just 16 shots. Heck, Columbus had just one shot in the 2nd period (sadly, they scored on it when Jose Theodore could not react to a slight change in direction from a shot 50 feet away). Besides that stinker, Theo let a rather pedestrian shot from Kris Beech get by him late in the 3rd, killing the lights on the already dim comeback chances the Avalanche may have been harboring.

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Joel Quenneville, could you meet me at camera three for a second? Thank you.

Hi, Joel. Look, I think I get what you're doing here. You want a number one goalie, one who can carry your team when they struggle and who you can ride deep into the playoffs. You know that Budaj is a steady but unexceptional goalie; a good guy to have, but not, as they say, a playoff goalie. Others might disagree, but I can see where you might think that. So, you continue to sit him in favor of Jose Theodore, a guy who used to be exactly that. Who knows, you think, maybe he'll regain that Hart form of six seasons ago. Dude, trust me, it's not going to happen.

Here's the deal, Joel. In 2004, the wise NHL suits decided to give us all a one-year break from hockey. When everyone came back, some players seemed like they never missed a beat. Others took a bit longer to get back into game shape. And some, coach, some just couldn't ever get back into that groove. Can I tell you which one Jose is? Here's a hint: since the lockout, Theodore has a GAA of 3.23, a save percentage of .884 and not one flipping shutout. That's in 134 games, so I'm not sure we can blame sample size on this one. Budaj, by the way, has post-lockout numbers of 2.77, .900 and 5 shutouts. Not Vezina (or Conn Smythe material) I know, but that one less goal every other game has it's value, yes?

I know what you are going to say. He's showing signs of rebounding this year. Well, he was. At first, that is. In his first 8 games this year, Theodore put in 5 games with a save percentage over .900. His GAA in those 8 games was 2.23 and his save percentage was .920. Spiffy. Except that many people watching him thought it would be only a matter of time before he started falling apart again. And hey, guess what? In the 7 games since, he's had a save percentage over 900 just once. Ouch. In that span, he's got a 3.62 GAA and a .850 save percentage. You aren't going to win too many games with a goalie like that, Joel. Certainly not with a team that has not 2nd or 3rd line (I'll save that spiel for another day).
Let's just stop the Theodore experiment, shall we? Can we just agree that he is not the goalie he once was, that he hasn't been that goalie for a number of years, and, most importantly, that at the age of 31 he doesn't seem to have much chance of regaining that form? Agreed? Now, if Budaj isn't your guy, I can accept that, albeit begrudgingly. Of course, you're going to have to take that up with Francois Giguere, because I don't think we have much else in the way of alternatives in the system. He's going to get you a guy that you have confidence in. Until that happens, though, you're going to need to go with Budaj for a while. This team needs points. I know you know that, because I hear you talking about the tight Western Conference race frequently. For now, you've got to go with the goalie who will give you the best chance to win games. That guy is Peter Budaj. Now stop fucking around and win some games. Please. Thank you for your time.


Notes on the game as I watched last night are here


Everything started out the same last night, but (big shocker upcoming) Quenneville messed around with the 2nd and 3rd lines all night (even the 1st line wasn't immune, as Hlinka played in place of Smyth on at least one shift in the 3rd). Basically, the 2nd and 3rd lines seem to be just a complete mishmash of players changing almost constantly, while the 1st and 4th lines remain fairly consistent. At one point, Hlinka was out there centering a line (with Wolski and Brunette). Hlinka's 16:05 of ice time was tops among the 6 2nd and 3rd line forwards.

  1. Stastny, Hejduk, Smyth

  2. Hensick, Wolski, Brunette

  3. Arnason, Hlinka, Svatos

  4. Guite, Richardson, McCormick


  • Throw out the St Louis game, and the Avs have averaged just 2.35 goals per game over the last 15 games (6-8-1).

  • The 16 shots for was indeed a season low for the Avs. But not the 16 shots against. They allowed just 15 against Edmonton on November 22nd, and 16 the following night against the Flames.

  • Guite's goal gives the Avalanche a grand total of 4 goals this year from the 4th line (2 by Guite and 2 by Hlinka)


The Avs play Nashville tonight, a team that shut us out in the 2nd game of the season.


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Neutral Zone Trap (Columbus)