The Avs lost but...

...Detroit is vulnerable. Make no mistake about it, after game 1 Detroit and their fans should be scared. Last night, after the first 25 minutes or so, the Avs found a way to get themselves back in a game they had absolutely no business being involved in.

All credit belongs to the Red Wings for the win. They came out prepared. They attacked the Avs from the start and hounded the Avs. The Avs were unprepared for the difference in styles between the Wild and Wings and it cost them this first game. The Wilds defense sits back, lets the attack come to them and foils it that way. The Red Wings attacked the Avs defense from behind the Avs net all the way down the ice. they made the Avs defenders work for every clear, every pass, and every rush.

The Avs were unprepared for this kind of pressure and made the first period a comedy of errors. Have you ever seen a team flat out whiff on more clearing attempts and breakout passes in a single period before? I don't mean make a bad pass, I mean completely miss the puck altogether. They probably gave the Red Wings 5-6 extra scoring chances just from not clearing the zone. The first period and change the Avs were awful, especially handling the puck on the blueline. Give Detroit credit for pressuring the Avs into making those mistakes, but I wouldn't expect the Avs to continue to whiff on pucks all series.

The good news is that the Avs adjusted to this pressure. After the adjustment the Avs looked like the better team (even with Forsberg and Wolski out). They still had some flubs, but the Avs realized in order to break Detroit they will have to alleviate that pressure. They did that last night. They had a forward come back and help the defender preparing the rush out. They turned their more offensive defenders (JM Liles and Jordan Leopold) loose to come on the rush. They also devised ways to get their better puckhandling forwards, Stastny and, strangely enough, Ryan Smyth leading the rush. The thing is that if Detroit insists on putting that much pressure on the Avs defenders guys like Sakic, Smytty, Hejduk, Stastny, and even Tyler Arnason are going to have opportunities to get an attack off the rush, which is one of Colorado's strengths.

And that's why I am so optimistic today. The Avs could have rolled over and died yesterday, but they didn't. They found a way to come out and play Detroit hard. Detroit was a miracle Osgood save away from going into OT, despite the first period being just about the worst period of hockey the Avs have ever played. I mean ever. I have never seen them so bad in their 12 years here. They nearly won that game though.

Theo should receive some criticism for being sick and choosing to play anyways, but I can't blame him too much for that one. If he's sick he can't sit on the bench and play a backup role after getting pulled he never should have been allowed to suit up, at all, in the first place. This isn't Theo's fault though. To paraphrase some prose from the great philosopher John Madden (the video game guy not Devil) : Players want to play. More importantly players are competitive, and they fool themselves into thinking they are better than they are, and that they are healthy enough to help their team win. That's why teams hire trainers. It's their job to evaluate the players and sit them on the bench when they are hurt, or sick. If he's so sick he has to leave the arena then there's no reason, none, that he should have been there in the first place. We've all gone to work sick, but my job is not one based on reflexes, reaction, and physical ability (other than hitting ALT-TAB when my boss is near). The Avs training staff screwed the pooch last night.

The entire Avs defense was awful, especially in the first period+, except JM Liles. He was fantastic last night. It's nice to see him doing so well since the Avs decided to hold onto him. Let's hope they make a nice offer to him to keep him around this offseason.

10 comments:

  1. 1) No one expected an Av's series sweep so there should be no big worries. That said, you don't want to go into a deeper hole with a second road loss.

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  2. I was glad to see Budaj get some action, and he seemed to do quite well with what he was given to work with. I'm optimistic as well for tomorrow's game. Hopefully Forsberg will get back in soon. The Av's are a different team when he is in the game (I'm suprised that you haven't done a Stats analysis of that yet!)

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  3. No Forsberg on Saturday and no Wolski for the whole series. Are you concerned? I am. Hopefully the team rallies in those players' absence. Fuck I hate Detroit. The Avs MUST beat them down.

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  4. Not to be a dick, but:

    "Make no mistake about it, after game 1 Detroit and their fans should be scared. Last night, after the first 25 minutes or so, the Avs found a way to get themselves back in a game they had absolutely no business being involved in."

    Why should Detroit and their fans be scared? I mean, besides the fact that Detroit and their fans are always, on some level, scared. You hear a lot about teams that play Detroit that "the other team was able to crawl back in"; the point is that Detroit scored four goals and that was enough to hold off a serious comeback. They will be able to do that again; I think the difference between the first and second period was as much Detroit turning it off as it was Colorado turning it on. Remember Detroit rang three posts last night to Colorado's one.

    Forsberg's status is completely unknown, the Wolski kid ain't coming back, who knows if Theodore will be better tomorrow and if he is if he'll play like it, etc. etc. Before the game the Avs blogs said that Forsberg and Theodore would lead them to a certain win in this series. Forsberg may not play and Theodore got immediately chased. And Wings fans should be scared?

    I think Avs fans should be scared that their team is able to not have "any business belonging" in a playoff game ever, at all, against Detroit, which during the regular season was the best team in the league on both ends of the ice by a large margin.

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  5. They should be scared because Colorado was at their absolute worst last night. They were terrible, and they lost 4-3. Theo got chased, Forsberg didn't play and yet it was 4-3. That game should have been 6 or 7-1 hands down. Detroit was that much better than the Avs

    And not one Avs blog said Forsberg and Theo would lead to a certain win. Theo was chased.. with the flu. If I were a Detroit fan and watched my team come within an Osgood save of blowing a game I should have won by 6 goals I would be scared.

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  6. Hey Jibbles, sportsgal here! You need to watch this video, you'll love it!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KDwo3EBqYw

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  7. I guess now Detroit and their fans should be REALLY scared.

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  8. @stephanie: I've seen that before, but it makes me smile every time i watch it again. I love that video.

    @ian: no now it's the Avs who need to be scared. I stand by what I wrote, but the Avs have enough flaws in their game that Detroit was able to take advantage. I still think the Avs can win the series

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  9. It seems to me that two things are obvious: Forsberg needs to play and Theodore needs to sit. The first is never a certainty, but I cannot BELIEVE that the second still isn't.

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  10. The Avs aren't going for in this series if they need to rely on Forsberg to win them games. I said it when they made the trade, he needed to be a compliment to their lineup, not a centerpiece

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