Here I thought a New York Ranger's blogger breaking into someone else's coveted world would be a risky venture, but with trade deadlines over, the results over-analyzed and the likelihood that the 'best of the trade-bait' Peter "Foppa" Forsberg would be debuting his return to the Colorado Avs against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night made it all worth while. Adam Foote also was making his first Pepsi Center appearance in his surprising return to Colorado after a last minute trade, so it was going to be a reunion of sorts.
It was a good sign that Forsberg was finally confronting his Foot(e), making the decision to again play in the NHL now that he'd managed to find a shoe that fit. How disappointed I was to hear that he was not ready to play for the Avs - the game I was covering - because of the 'Altitude Adjustment' and may be ready to play against this Tuesday against the Canucks. May be ready to play? What a schmuck. This was mildly reminiscent of those Flyers/Rangers games last season....good luck Colorado. He can make all the difference....when he plays. (yuck, yuck) One thing is for sure, when Peter finally meets Scott Parker he is sure to ask, "And they call me Foppa?"
On to the game, I have to admit the Avs may have what it takes this season to reach the Cup, mostly because I love physical hockey and the Avs have plenty of it. Having further demoralized Los Angeles to the lower rankings this evening, they dominated play from beginning to end. During the third period, there was a glimpse of hope for the Kings when Rob Blake made a late third period 'Jerry Hall' goal that went in from (just about) behind the net, but all momentum ended there. With Coach Quenneville changing lines every 30 seconds (not unlike our '1/2-ass' Rangers Coach Tom Renney), it was extremely effective and kept a fresh batch of players all over the Kings.
Official recap here.
The night belonged to Ryan Smyth who scored two second-period goals and by the end of the period was checked into the glass by Kings defenseman Jack Johnson rendering Smyth unconscious. laying on the ice until a stretcher shuffled him away. The Avs response never happened - very frustrating to watch, as Rob Blake blocked any attempt of retaliation. (Sounds again like The Blueshirts on Broadway). Poor, poor Ryan, though, I'd take a concussion over playing for the Islanders! ;) Joe Sakic scored a goal and Ruslan Salei had his first goal in an Avalanche sweater. Salei was acquired from Florida just before the trade deadline. The Av trades were solid.
Jose Theodore stopped 25 shots for Colorado, improving to 12-9-1 in his last 22 starts. He's damn good, but not Brodeur....ah, I mean Lundqvist. So enough of the Avs and Kings - let's talk Rangers hockey.
Jibbles and The Dark Ranger have in the past reflected on trading Avs Coach Quenneville for NY Rangers Coach Renney, but I am afraid their coaching methods are similar. With the exception of Colorado's physical nature play and New York's perimeter-wussy-play, I would call a potential coach swap 'moot'. "Dump the puck in and only play defense in the third period" and "hang on to dear life with a lead" strategies were prevalent in tonight's meeting against LA and will be more than evident in the Rangers meeting with the Flyers tomorrow afternoon.
So it is no surprise that both the Avs and Rangers sit on the lower echelon of playoff contenders - similar styles and similar coaches could lead to a Stanley Cup, so let us all dream a little.....breathe in......taste the beer from Lord Stanley..... Could be. Probably not. If not, then f**k off and get a real team.
...and thank you Avs fans for the read - good luck with the acquisitions and we'll see you in June.
The Dark Ranger