The Avalanche host the Chicago Blackhawks tonight. I've got the Chicago feed tonight – Dan Kelly and Eddie Olczyk. They start the broadcast off playing POD's "Youth of a Nation" and that's fitting – this is a team with a lot of good, young players.
The Avs, of course, are now missing their 3 best players. Paul Stastny joins Ryan Smyth and Joe Sakic on the IR. It will be interesting to see what Quenneville does with the lines tonight.
Jose Theodore starts for the 7th straight time. He will face one of my favorite goalies, Patrick Lalime.
20:00 Looks like Jaroslav Hlinka is the one getting the call on the first line. He's out there with Milan Hejduk and Cody McLeod. If past games are any indication, McLeod is just out there to start shit off the bat. They haven't even dropped the puck, and he's giving Martin Havlat the eye on the draw. Somehow, I don't think he's going to get Havlat to go.
19:17 Kelly has called Hlinka "Guite" twice already.
18:54 The normal second line of late, Arnason, Svatos and Wolski make an appearance.
18:32 The third line out tonight is Hensick, McCormick and McLeod. I assume McLeod will stay here and Brunette will be joining the 1st line. At least, that's how Q has been rolling as of late.
17:28 Good start. Patrick Kane gets behind Brett Clark at the blueline. Someone feeds him with a long headman, he breaks in alone, and roofs one past Theodore. 1-0 Chicago just like that. Even the young guys know that the book on Theo is to go high. I'm already, um, semi-inebriated (so watch out, the typos WILL be flowing) and, if this is an indication of the way the game is going, I might just push it past the "semi" part.
16:28 Lappy squares off against Adam Burish. Lappy gets some really fine wallops in before the two fall to the ice and laugh it off. I'm all about the code among fighters and stuff, but I strongly prefer the fights that result in anger (Jokinen v Clark) as opposed to these prearranged "hey, you wanna go" things.
16:16 Oh, and Scott Parker is in the game. I guess we can call the Boychuck experiment over.
15:59 Finger levels some dude who did not have the puck. It's right in front of the ref, and is as blatant an interference call that you'll ever see but he gets away with it.
11:57 Tied up. Brunette. Hlinka makes a gorgeous drop pass to Bruno trailing to the net. Brunette fires it and keeps chugging. Lalime makes the stop, but drops the rebound right in front, where Brunette bangs it home. 1-1.
10:56 Svatos forces a turnover in the neutral zone with a strong checks along the boards. His physical play isn't always there, but it's always fun when it does make an appearance.
10:30 Sharp is going off for holding the stick of Liles. Liles is behind the Chicago net on the play, and Sharp didn't seem to know what to do to stop him.
10:26 Hey, look, it's Johnny Boychuk. I spoke to soon (although I haven't seen him at forward yet). Boychuck is manning the left point on the PP with Brett Clark, with the Hlinka line up front.
Boychuck comes off rather quickly, replaced by John Liles. The other 4 players remain on the ice. Boychuck was moving around pretty well, although he got caught too far up ice right before he came off for the change.
Beautiful save by Lalime on Hlinka.
Finger did make it out with the 2nd unit. There's no time's listed because the clock has disappeared.
8:15 Ok, so I finally have this figured out, probably about 10 minutes after I should have. Guite is out there right now, so Quenneville IS using a full complement of forwards. Boychuck is playing defense and the only guy I haven't seen is Leopold, so chalk him up as a scratch. I was going to type "healthy" in front of that, but, with Leoprone, you just never know.
6:59 And McLeod interferes with some dude right in front of the ref. Perhaps they repealed the rule? Maybe Friday is Interference Amnesty Night? The weird part is that it's at the opposite end of the rink of the first non-call (in other words, both refs have ignored one).
3:09 There's a scrum in front of Theodore after a frozen puck. Finger knocks the helmet off the head of Patrick Sharp, and gets sent to the box. It seemed like rather pedestrian after-the-whistle-in-front-of-the-net stuff, but they still call it. Chicago goes on the PP for the first time tonight.
Colorado had a 13-6 shot advantage. Somehow the Avs were only credited with 2 hits (to the 5 given to Chicago). Yo, stat people, the Avs are the ones in the ugly dark uniforms.
20:00 The Blackhawks start the period with 1:13 on a hooking penalty to Tyler Arnason.
15:52 Wolski fakes a shot and then drops it for Skrastins. Lalime gets just enough to deflect it, but it sure looked pretty.
11:28 Tripping call on Wolski. Chicago goes back on the PP.
5:08 Avs have 17-14 shot advantage right now…which means they have just 4 shots in the period.
4:55 Three times McLeod fails to clear the puck along the boards.
3:57 Hejduk gets a good high shot on Lalime. The rebound goes to Sharp, but he botches it and Brunette is right there to take a great shot on Lalime. Lalime stones him.
We're still tied after two – 1-1. Not the most exciting of games to this point.
19:22 Clark with the hook. That's what, 4 straight calls against the Avs?
18:48 How nice would Duncan Keith look in an Avalanche uniform?
17:21 Clark is out.
16:17 Wolski centers it for Svatos, but Perrault is there to get in the way.
15:13 Nice stickhandling by Hensick in the Chicago zone – perhaps the only memorable shift by him so far this evening.
13:37 Finally, the Avs get a PP. Kane goes to the box for holding.
13:29 Liles and Finger on the PP with the 1st line.
11:35 This one was a dud – not much good to speak about that powerplay chance.
8:23 Nice dive, Havlat. Hejduk "trips" Havlat, which is to say his stick touched one of Havlat's skates and Havlat went flying to the ice with mucho gusto. It's a penalty, but I wouldn't have minded seeing a dive called as well. There are $10 hookers out there that don't go down that easily. In other news, has Hejduk changed his helmet style? It looks different to me.
6:20 Solid kill for the Avalanche. The Hawks had nothing happening on that one.
5:45 Ruutu decks Svatos along the boards.
5:33 Svatos gets a bigger payback hit on Adams. I love it when he does that.
2:23 It's possible that this is the dullest 1-1 game in the history of hockey. It's also possible that that may have been the most ridiculous hyperbole in the history of blogging. Either way, this game's been a snoozer and I don't think it's the booze.
1:39 Lalime makes a game-saving pad save on Hejduk
And we're going to OT.
5:00 Hlinka and Hejduk are up first.
4:15 They give way to Wolski and Svatos.
3:48 Steal by Svatos that ultimately leads to a pretty good shot.
3:24 Arnason and Hensick – the all-smiles duo.
2:40 Almost the entire period so far has been played in the Chicago zone.
2:17 Hlinka and Brunette get several chances.
2:00 Three on one the other way, and Theo makes a big save.
1:38 Back to Wolski and Svatos again. Svatos rips a big shot from the blueline that goes wide.
1:16 Theodore robs Duncan Keith point blank.
1:02 Hejduk paired with Arnason this time.
:35 Wolski and Svatos to close things out.
And we're headed to the shootout for the 2nd time in 3 games.
Quenneville is laughing as he's filling out the shootout card. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
Now Clark's laughing. What the fuck?
Jesus. Quenneville's still giggling. Denis Savard seems to be chuckling. Obviously, the shootout is really stressful to these coaches.
Colorado shoots first.
Svatos up…shoots it low, Lalime stacks 'em to close the 5-hole.
Patrick Kane. I don't like this guy…He dekes Theodore out of his pants. That was a ludicrous move.
Wolski…he makes a great move to fake a shot and then tapping back to his backhand, but Lalime gets his glove on it. Great save.
Havlat…no good. He goes to the backhand and Theo forces him to shoot wide.
Hejduk…need a goal here…scores! Through the 5-hole.
Sharp…Theo stops it!
Hensick next…no pressure…first ever attempt…Lalime pokes it away as Hensick makes a few too many moves.
Lang…scores. That wins it for Chicago.
Not the most exciting game, but the Avalanche do get a point. Chicago wins 2-1.