"Hello? Are you awake? Can you hear me?"
A monitor beeps at a steady pace. White walls and a heavy curtain surround the area around an elevated single-wide bed. A television mounted upon the wall features an unremarkable college football game. My eyes slowly begin to open wider, letting in an unpleasant fluorescent light. My family stands in a semi-circle about the bed, each with a worried look on their faces.
"Wha...where am I?" I ask.
My mother's look of concern immediately turns to elation. My sister calls for the nurse, excitedly shouting, "He's awake! He's awake!" I stare down at my arms and chest to see an assortment of monitoring devices. The beeping sound in the room is mine. Different hospital personnel enter the room as I try to remember what could have brought me here. All I did was go home for the holiday weekend. Finally, as I'm being poked and prodded by the staff, I work up the energy to ask, "Why am I here?"
My father very slowly and deliberately says, "Ryan, you savagely devoured so much turkey and mashed potatoes that you...slipped into a coma."
"But I didn't eat that much!" I pleaded, as everyone turned to each other in disbelief. "Did I?"
At the point a doctor entered the room, "Actually, we've never seen anything like it."
* * *
So, did things happen? Like hockey things? I wouldn't know, as I was in a food-induced comatose state. Looking at the calendar, it appears to be Saturday, November 28th, which means the Avalanche play host to the Winnipeg Jets -- a team they played on the road just five days ago. It was a strange game, where Colorado was dominated for much of the first two periods, but ended up with more high-scoring area chances and ultimately put three more pucks in the net than their Manitoban opponents. Semyon Varlamov made his return from the injured list and stopped everything but an impossible ricochet from the point. Carl Soderberg got the Avs on the board with a nifty power play goal and Matt Duchene got the game-winner in the third on a breakaway pass from Tyson Barrie. It was a satisfying win at the end of a successful two-week long road trip. The boys in Burgundy & Blue now hope to regain their winning ways at home after a another close loss to Ottawa and a brief holiday break.
Winnipeg comes in at 11-11-2, fresh off a win last night in Minnesota (or so I read!). The Jets put on a defensive clinic, only allowing 15 shots on net. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 14 of those in his NHL debut, but figures to cede the net back to starter Michael Hutchinson on the back-to-back. Hutchinson has allowed more than four goals per game during his last five starts. The Jets are going to need better if they're going to be successful against a scorching hot Nathan MacKinnon line who is looking to finally establish themselves at home this year. They are currently a league-low 2-6-1 at the Pepsi Center, an unforgivable record given their altitude advantage.
Colorado will have another new lineup tonight after having swapped Dennis Everberg for Andrew Agozzino with their farm affiliate in San Antonio. John Mitchell and Alex Tanguay also skated this week in non-contact jerseys and could be close to return. For now, I'll take a stab at some lines and pairings:
Landeskog - MacKinnon - Duchene
Comeau - Grigorenko - Iginla
McLeod - Soderberg - Martinsen
Agozzino - Wagner - Skille
Beauchemin - Johnson
Holden - Barrie
Gormley - Redmond
* * *
Puck drops at 8:00 PM MST.