Islanders against the Avalanche tonight. Game 41 – the halfway point of the season. I'm watching the NY feed, so I won't get to find out how long it takes Peter McNab to point out that all our games against the Atlantic Division have been decided by one goal (all in our favor). I don't know much about the Islanders at all, and could barely name anyone from their roster. Nor have I heard of either of their broadcasters – some fella named Jiggs McDonald, with Billy Jaffe on color.
Jose Theodore against Ricky DiPietro. I can't say that I feel very good about this game. If I was feeling better, I'd probably be drinking right about now.
20:00 Stastny, Hejduk and…TJ Hensick out to start the game.
19:18 Both McDonald and Jaffe are guys who pronounce Theodore as "Tea-Adore". This drives me insane.
18:48 2nd line is on – Brunette, Hlinka and Svatos.
18:18 The normal 3rd line is next out: Guite, Laperriere and McLeod substituting for McMormick.
16:42 Nice start, Tea Adore. Tim Jackman skates in alone on Theodore. Leopold is not in position for some reason, and Jackman has no one to slow him down. He rifles a simple shot over Theodore's blocker. Theodore has yet to react to the shot. Odd line for the Avs for this goal, by the way – Hlinka, Hejduk and Wolski (I think). There's no real reason for a switch like that, unless the Avs are dressing 7 D.
15:52 And Hannan gets called for holding. Superb start for the team.
14:31 Jaffe just said that Theodore is a better goalie than Budaj. There's wrong, and then there's totally fucking wrong. This one's the latter.
13:54 I haven't seen any Colorado line listings, but I think I've seen 7 "DMen" (a term Jaffe seems way to dependent on).
13:08 Not only is McDonald a "Tea Adore" guy, he's also a "Stoss Knee" guy. Why am I not drinking again?
13:02 Witt off for a crosscheck on Stastny. Let's take a look at our PP unit, shall we? Stastny takes the draw. Svatos is out there. Hejduk is back on the point(!). Bruno is out there. Looks like the other point guy is Liles. Yep, it's Liles.
11:56 Hejduk looked about as comfortable on the point as I would be in a miniskirt.
11:27 2nd unit is Leopold, Clark, Hensick , Wolski and Hlinka. I like this unit because (altogether now) they are using two defensemen on the point.
9:25 I thought we were dressing 8 defensemen. I was wrong. There's #7, Johnny Boychuk, out there at forward. Hey, Scott Parker, we really like having you around. But, we've got this defenseman in the AHL who has a really good shot on the PP that we'd like to dress. Now, we won't actually use him on the powerplay, but, just to show you how low our opinion of you is, we're going to put this guy at forward. Sound ok?
9:20 Jaffe's research is incredible. Apparently, Wolski is a "natural center" who's been "playing a bit of wing as of late". This is going to be such a long game.
7:55 Just for completeness sake, the defensive pairings seem to be Liles & Finger, Clark & Skrastins, Hannan & Leopold, with Cumiskey and Boychuk playing up front. But not on the powerplay, because that would be silly.
6:55 Our Totally Awesome Power Play is coming up again. Whoohoo.
6:44 Same 1st unit as the first time, with Hejduk on the point. I wonder if Quenneville has a bet with another coach – whoever can play the most players out of position in a game wins.
5:20 Wolski has the best chance of the night right in front of DiPietro.
4:36 Liles rings a shot off the post.
4:02 Seriously, folks, I'm seeing this with my own eyes. On the ice right now is Wojtek Wolski and 4 defensemen (Clark, Leopold, Boychuk and Cumiskey). HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?
2:26 Leopold takes down his man hard along the boards.
1:26 DiPietro robs someone. Brunette backhands the puck across the crease and Hlinka (the someone in the previous sentence) gets stuffed.
:41 Bill Guerin goes off for holding. Same fucked up powerplay unit as before. I don’t believe Hejduk had a PP shot in the period.
The Isles are up 1-0 after 1. The Avs spent a lot of time in the New York zone, but didn't seem to get many chances out of all of it.
18:56 Hejduk finally is able to shoot the puck on the PP, and rings it off the post.
18:28 I joked about McNab, but these guys have brought up the Atlantic Division thing at least 3 times already tonight.
17:22 Good cycling shift for the Guite line.
16:41 In the MHH preview thread, I tried to name 5 Islanders off the top of my head. It took me a while, but I did it. Except one of the guys I named was Tom Poti. At least I didn't say Alexei Yashin.
15:07 DiPietro makes a great stop on Hejduk sneaking into the slot.
12:52 Hensick is pulling 4th line duty at the moment, and gets tossed from the circle. He looks around while Boychuk and Cumiskey each look at each other with a "I'm not going to try it, you try it" look. Boychuk ends up taking the draw. (And loses).
12:24 Hensick gets a good backhander off on DiPietro.
12:23 "Hensick playing the left side with Stastny and Hejduk tonight"…this, while he's out there on the 4th line.
10:42 Wolski plays an extended game of keep away in front of the Islanders defenders. Really nice puck control by the guy apparently we call the "Polish Prince". I'm pretty sure Jaffe is just making this stuff up.
5:58 Geez, somehow a wide open net for Svatos gets covered by DiPietro's pad. He has made several sensational saves tonight. Campoli takes a penalty for hooking. Now we've got them.
5:24 Hey, Clark is back there on the point with Liles. While it looks like Q woke up and realized Hejduk on the point wasn't working, I think the real reason for the change is that Svatos just came off the ice and Hejduk is taking his spot up front.
4:53 No surprise, the Avs get their best PP chance of the night, on a rebound of Clark's point shot.
2:59 Clark drives in hard to the net, but can't sneak it through.
2:47 Clark gets a BS call for holding. That was simply a makeup call for the Avs getting so many PPs in a row.
2:30 Sillinger throws a tantrum when the refs don't call a penalty on the Avs for throwing him to the ice. I've backed it up a bunch of times, and I don't think anyone even touches him – all I see is him dropping to the ice after getting hit in the gut with the puck. Odd.
1:55 They show the replay of Sillinger getting "thrown down by Jeff Finger." While I think it's possible – hell, probable – that Finger gave Sillinger a hit from behind, it's certainly not evident in the replay we're seeing.
:55 Theodore just moved, which, I think, may be a delayed reaction to Jackman's shot 35 minutes ago.
:36 The Avs tie it. Clark comes out of the box and the Avs break out on a rush. Wolski handles the puck through the slot, and bounces it over towards Leopold fighting off a check to the side of the net. It bounces of Leopold's stick and through DiPietro's legs. Jaffe says Wolski has been the best player for the Avalanche all night long tonight, and I agree with him.
0:00 Big momentum swinger to end the period. Going to the break, McNab…er, Jaffe, brings up the Atlantic Division thing again. Oh well. Avs and Isles are tied 1-1.
19:50 Looks like Wolski is going to continue to hang with the Stastny line tonight.
19:28 Park gives Theodore a snow shower after a whistle. Jaffe thinks it's totally fine.
18:42 I believe I've heard Bill Guerin's name mentioned twice tonight – once when he took a penalty (a good penalty, according to Jaffe), and once when he was battling for a puck along the boards (a battle he lost). I should probably come clean and admit that I'm not a fan of Mr Guerin. Honestly, I think it’s extremely amusing to see him wearing a C. Not exactly my idea of a leader.
17:42 Park and Theodore kiss and make up after another whistle.
16:33 This Jiggs fellow has a really good voice…but I wish he could get a little more detailed on the play than "the Colorado player".
14:34 The Hlinka line has a great shift.
14:12 Best Theodore saves of the night, 2 or 3 pad saves on Bergenheim. I have no idea who Bergenheim is.
10:48 Glove save by Theodore, and we shows off after the play. PLEASE don't do that.
10:09 Many chances by the Guite line. They've been strong tonight.
5:22 Lots of back and forth action.
5:01 Boychuk rides Andy Sutton hard into the boards. Sutton is a tad annoyed, as it's after a whistle. I can see his point.
2:56 An interesting question – Lappy gets hit in the head with a puck. As he's crouched over on the ice, the Avs ice the puck. He ends up shaking it off, but I wonder what would happen if he was more seriously injured on the play. Would he have to stay in for the next faceoff?
1:10 Uh oh. Lappy hits Comeau with a high stick. Just an awful, awful time to take a penalty.
1:05 And who does Quenneville go to on the kill? Stastny and…WOLSKI! Peter McNab must be downright masturbatory right now. Very interesting time to try out Wolski on the penalty kill. Quenneville is winning that bet. No question.
0:00 Theodore makes a good save late, and it pushes us to OT. We got a point!
3:36 With the penalty killed, Wolski and Svatos are paired together.
3:05 Wolski again is looking great tonight.
2:55 And they score! Liles' shot is blocked, but he gets to the puck and dishes it up to Svatos as he's falling to the ice. Svatos is up in the slot, ahead of the Islander defenseman, and he backhands it past DiPietro for the win. Wolski was a big factor on the play, as he controlled the puck for a long time. Liles also made a terrific play to get the puck up to Svatos (if he fails, the Isles have an oddman rush in the other direction). And, of course, Svatos made a heck of a shot to win the game. Hai guize, we beat an Atlantic Division team by one goal. We should tell someone!