All it took was 47 seconds before this game between the Colorado Avalanche and LA Kings was over. Sure it was only one goal and perhaps this evening the Avs would muster their average of two goals a game to come from behind and win for the first time in the last nine tries but even the most optimistic sort wouldn't bet on that happening. It was another sad night of chasing the game and the puck while watching whatever shred of hope and dignity left pulling further away.
Marian Gaborik opened the scoring for the Kings at the aforementioned 47 second mark on a jam play in front of the net on Spencer Martin. Brayden McNabb (yes, that one) knocked Rene Bourque out of the game on the next shift with one of his specialty high hits. John Mitchell came to his defense and a punchless fight broke out. The Kings were not done scoring in the first period and added two Jeff Carter goals at 7:15 and 17:42. The height of excitement of the night occurred in the second period when it appeared Jarome Iginla scored on the power play but was waived off due to goalie interference from Blake Comeau. In the third period Dustin Brown added a goal at 4:11 and Dwight King at 10:46 for good measure and the night was mercifully over with a 5-0 score.
Is keeping Spencer Martin in Colorado the best idea? While nobody could pin the loss on Martin, he's not exactly experiencing success in the current situation. The Avs seem overly cautious and conservative in their moving developing forwards and defensemen up for NHL minutes and it's tough to see them just leave a very young goalie hung out to dry for the next two months. Whatever the solution is, be it trading Martin out for current Rampage goalie Jeremy Smith or somehow bringing in a goalie to the organization, it must not under any circumstances cost any assets from an already depleted stash.
Will the veterans make it to March 1st? The fans’ patience and collective sanity is already stretched thin waiting for the dominoes to fall but one factor that could undermine the whole plan is if the veterans can't stay healthy this month. Fedor Tyutin is already dealing with a groin injury and now Rene Bourque might have his own injury to deal with. The organization failing to add several assets at the deadline would be a huge disappointment and yet another setback.
Just how far away are the Avs from competing? Nights like tonight make it alarmingly clear that it's not about the games anymore. Everything relevant surrounding the Avs is about asset management, current and future prospects and impending change. Tonight also serves as a sobering indicator or just how broken everything is from organizational culture on down to each individual player on ice and with no discernable plan to get on the right track.