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Breaking down Blake Comeau’s decision

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A frame-by-frame look and so many questions

Blake Comeau pulled off one of the most amazing plays of the last season last night when he tried a back pass on a breakaway. You read that correctly. He had a breakaway. And, instead of attempting to get the puck on net, he tried to pass it backwards.

It’s only right that this play gets a frame-by-frame breakdown.

Comeau gathers the loose puck at the blue line. There’s nothing in front of him but the goaltender. It’s the best scoring chance the Avs have had in about a week now. Comeau is likely deciding whether or not he should shoot or deke. He knows shooting would be the simple play, and when your team is down by five, keeping it simple is usually the best option. He also knows that he’ll probably miss the net. Because no team misses the net like the Avs do when they have a prime scoring opportunity.

He takes a look over his shoulder. With this angle, you could assume that he’s checking to see where the defender is. That’s a smart move. Comeau isn’t the fastest guy in the world, and knowing how fast the defender is closing in will help him decide on whether to shoot or deke. And if he shoots, he must now decide how quickly he needs to get the shot off depending on the defenders closing speed.

Comeau gets to the circles and there’s no one in sight. He must have determined that the defender wasn’t closing fast an that he had plenty of time. At this point, he’s running out of room. One would assume that he’s made his mind up on what he’s going to do. Shoot or deke.

A quick pivot. It looks like he’s going backhand. Or maybe he’s going to the Marty St. Louis. Except this would be a no look Marty St. Louis. Why not? This season is a wreck. This game is over. Do something exciting.

Wait. He lost the puck.

Oh, that’s what he was doing. He was trying to pass the puck back to MacKinnon. And that’s who he looked at earlier. I get it now.

It didn’t work.

I have so many questions about this play.

Why did Comeau think it was a good idea to pass the puck on a breakaway? He knows that the Avs score less than two goals a game and that when you’re down by five, it’s probably smart to just try and score, right? Are the Avs players instructed to pass at least once before they are allowed to shoot? What was Comeau hoping to achieve? MacKinnon is a better player and a better finisher, but no one on this team is very good, so you just have to take your chances, don’t you? Do you think his mind was made up when he looked over his shoulder and saw MacKinnon? Like, he saw Nate, and thought, “I’m going to surprise everyone and pass the puck. This is a brilliant idea that no one will see coming.” Is that what he thought?

Do you think Avs players care anymore? What possess a man to pass on a breakaway besides a lack of caring? Is this why Joe Sakic couldn’t trade Comeau at the deadline? General managers just knew that he would do something stupid and said, “nah, we’re good.” Maybe we shouldn’t blame Sakic for not being able to trade these guys? Maybe these guys just aren’t very good or very smart?

Did MacKinnon call for the puck? Did he give Comeau some kind of look when Comeau turned around that said, “you better pass me this puck”? If not, do you think he was expecting the pass? Logic says that he thought Comeau would make his move, and if he didn’t score, he could clean up the rebound. But the Avs aren’t very logical.

Is this why we keep watching games? It can’t be because we think the team is going to win, or even provide us with any hope. It has to be because we know we’re going to witness the most frustrating hockey we’ve ever seen in our lives, right? And since we’ve accepted this, instead of being angry or upset. We just laugh every time they reach a new low.