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Game 52: Avalanche At Red Wings, Preview And Open Thread

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I'm posting the game thread early today because I'll be studying for the LSAT most of the afternoon and evening (the test is tomorrow morning, oh god) and may not have time later.  

It seems that a game doesn't go by without at least some new injury report from the Avalanche.  From the mysterious mold spores on the charter jet that wrecked every road game early in the season to pulled groins, shoulder separations, broken ankles, broken wrists, appendectomies, sports hernias, concussions and even whiplash, the Avs have been injury magnets.

Jose Theodore got pulled prior to the third period on Wednesday night due to back spasms, and though the team is optimistic that he's just got sore muscles, Peter Budaj will be starting in net tonight against the Red Wings.  Budaj looked seriously rusty in relief against the Blackhawks, giving up two goals on four shots.  Many of us here at MHH suspect that his extended period on the bench has wrecked his confidence, and Budaj himself has eluded to such:

"Obviously, it's not great for your confidence," Budaj said. "Confidence is something you know you've done before. . . . I've played games before and I was able to help my team win hockey games before, so hopefully I can do the same thing right now."

Who's he trying to reassure, us or himself?  Doesn't sound like a guy ready to jump back in and get things done.  Great work, Q.  

Also in injury news, Kurt Sauer, who's been out for two months with a sore neck, then a concussion, then whiplash (seriously, which one, if not all?) has been reactivated and is practicing on a regular basis.  Kyle Cumiskey, on the other hand, has managed to seriously hurt his groin breaking the sound barrier with his speed skating and has been moved to the injured reserve list.

Paul Stastny is skating again, if gingerly, as he prepares to return from his recent appendix surgery.  He can't come back soon enough.

The Avs will have a serious challenge tonight against the Wings, still by far the most dominant team in the league, and the winner of 11 of the last 13 games between the two.  The Wings already have 80 points and still have 30 games to play.  I thought the salary cap was supposed to create league-wide parity.  Why hasn't it affected the Wings in any way at all?  Damn them.

The game starts at 5:30 PM Mountain time, 7:30 PM Eastern.  I can't promise I'll be here to join in on the thread, but I encourage everyone to participate.  We've had some good ones lately.  Let's get some goals!

ESPN preview.