Scene: Inside the Visitors' Locker Room at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit prior to the game.
"Coach" Quenneville: OK boys, tonight we're going to play the Red Wings in their building. I wanna see some hitting, some hustle, some grit, and some intensity.
Brad Richardson: YEAHHHHHHHHHH!
"Coach" Q: Settle down, Richie. I still haven't forgotten what you did to my wife.
Richardson looks embarrassed, but turns and high fives Budaj when Quenneville looks away.
"Coach" Q: I SAW THAT DAMNIT!!
"Coach" Granato: We have to make sure we don't take any stupid penalties tonight, you guys. We can't afford to give Detroit any more chances with their dreamy powerplay.
JM Liles: Why don't we run our powerplay like that coach?
Granato: What way, you sexy bo-hunk?
JM Liles: You know, more shooting than passing.
Granato: That'll never work, dreamy.
"Coach" Q: Hey, enough of that nonsense. Pay attention. I wanna see some defensive responsibility tonight. It'll take a total team effort to keep these posers off the score sheet. They're loaded with Euros, so you know what that means...
Marek Svatos: They handle the puck well and have accurate shots?
"Coach" Q: No, not that.
Karlis Skrastins: Zhey play dynamic, creative hockey?
"Coach" Q: No, not that either.
Hejduk: Then what?
"Coach" Q: Personal hygiene. They don't have any.
All the Europeans on the Avalanche: HEY!
"Coach" Q: Seriously, don't get in any fights with them tonight, Lappy. If you get cut, God knows what diseases you'll get, and frankly, we can't afford to lose you. Anyway, we gotta play smart in our end and in the neutral zone tonight, but when we get the opportunity...
TJ Hensick: ...take the puck and go score?
"Coach" Q: ABSOLUTELY NOT! Under no circumstances are you to try and score tonight. We're going to win this game on defense. And TJ, you interrupt me again when I'm talking, and I won't send you down to Cleveland, I'll send you to Johnstown, you get me?!?!
Hensick shrinks into his locker stall.
Peter Budaj: Uhh, coach, isn't that a little short-sighted considering the guys just put up 6 the other night?
"Coach" Q: YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH! NOBODY SAID YOU COULD TALK! Seriously, nobody better try and score tonight. Don't generate pressure, don't take high-percentage shots, don't force the issue on offense at all. We'll take these guys to OT and the shootout and then beat 'em! Who's with me?!?!?
The stellar game plan of "Coach" Quenneville was executed to a T last night in Motown. He even got refs in on the action by having them wave off the only goal the Avs did score. That's impressive. Not as impressive as Hasek's dive and subsequent quote to the media that he thought it was "...a good call..." but impressive nonetheless.
Colorado backpedaled, collapsed and played prevent-defense all night with nary a spark of offense. Hell, they didn't even register a shot for the first 11:19 of the game! The Avs took penalties in the first that limited ANY hope of generating any offense and were content to dump and chase all night. Even the MSN Detroit crack-dealers pointed out that the Avs were playing like a bunch of scared schoolgirls. As pointed out in the game thread, that approach invites lucky bounces to go against you, which is exactly what happened late in the third. Zetterberg tried the wrap-around, but banked the puck off of Leoprone's stick and into the far side of the net with less than 3 minutes to play. An empty netter by Neanderthal Magazine's Man-of-the-Year, Kris Draper sealed the deal.
Other questionable coaching decisions include the top PP unit's rotisserie-style point men and the face-off decisions. Somebody explain to me why Arny was taking that last, all-important face-off in the offensive zone? Please, somebody?
Lost in all the impotence at the other end of the ice was a stellar game by Peter Budaj. He stood on his head all night and was awarded with the second star. His lateral movement was explosive, and aside from the one delay-of-game penalty, he played probably one of his best games this season against one of the best teams in the league. The 3-on-1 save in the late minutes of the 3rd was HUGE as was the post-to-post move in the 2nd period. I personally don't think Theo would have made a couple of the saves that Boots did, but I'm sure I'll get some dissention on that particular opinion. Still, it was all for naught as Q hamstrung his team with the style of play he dictated. I lay this one squarely at his feet. And he wore another horrible tie. Somebody should introduce him to the concept of neutral tones.
Stars of the Game:
1st: Henrik Zetterberg (GW Goal)
2nd: Peter Budaj (34 saves, 0.971 S%)
3rd: Pavel Datsyuk (0 G, 2 A)