Saturday, October 10, 2015

Avs Opening Night. I could totally coach an NHL team.

Avalanche Opening Night


Coming out with a bang, ending with a whimper

Hoo boy, where do I even begin. Let's start with this:

Honestly, that might have been the worst third period meltdown I've personally seen. I'm sure there were worse, but this was the one I'll always remember. 

New season, new coaching staff, new draft pick, new free agents, new outlook, new philosophy. This was supposed to be an optimistic year. Rantanen somehow inexplicably dropped to our 10th pick to the delight of Colorado hockey fans everywhere, and several offseason pickups were expected to make immediate impacts. 

I'm a realist, and a student of the game. Well, I say I am. But I know how good the team is. I'm predicting a first round playoff exit. Probably getting lit up in the series. We're on the cusp of greatness. A solid core, a building defense, and a growing pool of prospects waiting in the wings. 

But let's start with the good:
-We came out guns blazing, holy cow. That's the attack I know my boys can mount up.

-The power play looks about a thousand percent better than last year. I don't know what they did, but well done.

-Lando seems to be harnessing Viking Mode more effectively this year. He was an absolute monster out there.

-MacKinnon is playing more aggressively.

-Comeau looks amazing. I was nervous putting what I thought was a 3rd liner on Duchene's wing. But he was easily the better player between Duchene and Iggy.

-Beauchemin was an absolutely stellar signing. His passes were great, his shot was booming, his defense was solid.

-Zadorov, what little I saw of him, had flashes of brilliance. He's still very young, but I see greatness already. I hope he sticks with it and becomes a staple in our defense.

-Rantanen needs to be either bumped up with better linemates or something, because though his line looked awful, I think it was because his linemates couldn't keep up with him. He was flying.

-The 4th line of McLeod, Mitchell and Skill is a huuuuuge upgrade from last year. Cody Mac and John McDangleSnipes Mitchell were on the 3rd last year and were expected to score. This year they seem to be just out there to wreak some havoc, and they absolutely took it to Minnesota. And it got them a goal. Well done.

-Iginla still has one of the best high-slot one-timers in the game.

-The Pepsi Center's media has been given a huge makeover. Which sounds like such a small thing, but seriously. The speakers shook the arena, the 3D projector over the ice was spectacular, we played the Mario mushroom powerup sound when one of our guys got out of the box, and our goal song is no longer written by a convicted child molestor. Also, the intro was Brother in Arms from MAD MAX FURY ROAD.

I'm never going to miss an opportunity to post more Fury Road.

Now the bad, and hoo boy here we go. 
-Holden and Guenin. I have no description, just those two.

-Soderberg looked lost out there. I liked the signing as a 3rd line depth signing, but man, at 5 mill? Yikes.

-Holden and Guenin. Okay I lied, but why in the world are these two still wearing the burgundy and blue? You're telling me Stuart, who was scratched after signing an extension last season, couldn't defend better than either of these two? And Gormley, ranked one of the better prospects in Arizona last season, who is fast as can be with a laser pass and rifling shot, couldn't crack the lineup ahead of these guys? My goodness, as I'm typing this, watching the Colorado/Dallas game, the Stars just scored again. Who were the defenders? GUENIN AND HOLDEN.

-After we were up 4 to 1, a pretty commandable lead with 17 minutes left in the third, the boys just started passing the puck back and forth. No attack, no hussle, no urgency, no killer instinct. And of course Parise scores his hat trick. Because our guys just sat back and what? I guess they thought the Wild were going to just hang their heads and go home? Just absolutely inexcusable.

-Barrie and Duchene looked lost out there. I like the guy. On the 4th line. He should not be playing with Rantanen on the 3rd.

-Mitchell is on the Power Play. Why?

-McLeod is our extra attacker. Why?


Please, for the love of everything icy, free Gormley and Stuart. And Grigorenko, while we're at it. Throw him up there with Rantanen and see what they can do. Can't be any worse than our current 3rd line setup.

Here is my ideal lineup:
Landeskog - MacKinnon - Tanguay
Comeau - Duchene - Rantanen
Grigorenko - Soderberg - Iginla
McLeod - Mitchell - Skille

Beauchemin - Johnson
Gormley - Barrie
Zadorov - Stuart

Iggy gets sent down to work with Grigorenko and the Yeti, forming a crash and bang/ shutdown/ scoring third line that he can keep up with. I, sadly, think the Iginla/Duchene experiment is over, as much as I'd like to see it work. Iggy just can't keep up with Duchene, where I think Rantanen's energy can really explode there. Line one gets left as is, because that line is absolutely firing on all cylinders right now. Ideally, Guenin and Holden will be anchoring the San Antonio Rampage, our AHL farm team. And I put Zadorov next to Stuart so the youngin' can learn from the feisty vet and have a solid anchor to rely upon should he decide to pinch up.

You can trust me, I've taken my Xbox NHL Avalanche team to 16 consecutive Stanley Cups.

I don't even have a beer pairing for this I was so taken aback by the meltdown against Minny. Well done Wild. Seriously. I loathe you with the fury of a thousand suns, but you hung in there and took the punch and got back up. Cheers to you.