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It's the same old story

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On Saturday night's CBC broadcast of Colorado's big win against the Canucks, Scott Oake interviewed Avalanche forward Andrew Brunette during the 2nd intermission:

Andrew, a lot of people thought that your injury list - Smyth, Sakic and Stastny all out - would doom you to failure but that has not been the case. Are you surprised that the team has played so well without those three?

Brunette gave his stock "everyone's rallied" answer, and we went on our merry way.


After the game, Oake and Kelly Hrudey interviewed a disinterested Tyler Arnason. Similar question:

Tyler, you head into this game without Stastny, Smyth and Sakic and still you score six. Why has scoring goals not been a problem without those guys in the lineup?

Arnason looked down at his feet and gave a similar answer: "everyone's been picking up the slack". Yada yada.

For reasons I don't understand, I almost never get the Altitude feed with my DirecTV Center Ice program, even though they've started showing both home and away feeds for many games. Although I like Mike Haynes and Peter "one of the best..." McNab, I have to admit that I enjoy getting different perspectives on the game. Well, except when the eggheads in Nashville are involved, but that's a different story.

But, for all the freshness I get from listening to a new broadcasting team for every game, there are some drawbacks. Namely, everyone focuses on the same talking points. For weeks, every game I watch they've got to have a lengthy discourse on the injuries to the big trio (oh, how many times have I heard the joke about a bad year for players who's last name start with 'S'). When the Avs get interviewed during intermission, you can bet the injuries will be mentioned (and that the player in question will respond with the everyone pulling together line as above). At least once a week I get to hear that Joel Quenneville has coached and played in 800 games; I already know that the next sentence from the color guy will be: "Hey [insert name of play by play guy here], did you know there are only two other coaches in NHL history who have done that?" Like some Pavlovian renegade, I immediately start mouthing "Jacques Lemaire and Bob Pulfod". I've seen the Peter Stastny with the Nordiques montage more time than I care to count, and yes, random broadcaster, I did know that one of the guys who played with Peter late in his career was a young Joe Sakic and I do think it's just swell that now he's nurturing Peter's son, Paul just like Peter did for him.

I get why this happens. I'm watching the opponent's feed, and the fans watching the game don't have the familiarity with the team that I do. I have to expect that there'll be some rehashing of information in there - heck, even the Altidudes aren't above focusing on the same thing from time to time. I just wish that, mixed in with all the Stastny montages and injury charts we could get some discussion of some other material. Let's talk about guys like Ben Guite and Jeff Finger who've gone from AHL afterthoughts to key NHL players. Or, we could discuss the attendance woes of the team. Perhaps we could talk about how an undrafted player like Cody McLeod finds his way to the NHL...or how a skilled guy like Jaroslav Hlinka could get passed over altogether. We could even discuss the Avalanche jerseys - that would benefit me greatly, as I'm always looking for new words for "hideous monstrosity". At this point, if it doesn't involve hearing about the injuries to our top players, I'm all ears.