Burnside has questions... I have answers

Scott Burnside is a writer for ESPN.com. Today he penned a season preview column for the NHL site there. He gives a pretty bland description of the Avs. Sakic waited until the end of the summer to come back. Tucker is in, Bruno is out. Stastny, Smytty, and Sakic were hurt last season. Theo is gone.

He also has some Burning Questions about the Avs. As an avid Avs, and NHL, follower I am more than happy to answer.
• What did Granato learn after losing the head-coaching job the first time and moving back into an assistant's role under former head man Joel Quenneville?
Well I can't be specific, but I'm pretty sure he learned quite a bit, since he had all of 3 months experience when he took the job the first time. But this isn't a question anyone but Granato can really answer. (I know not the greatest answer to not the greatest question)
• Can Tucker find his groove again after being worn down by the spotlight in Toronto?
Another unanswerable question. Can Darcy get his groove back. Much like his namesake, Jefferson D'Arcy, he was married to a shrill annoying overbearing mate for way too long. Jefferson had Marcie, Darcy had the Toronto Media.
Unlike his namesake ( wait he wasn't named after them? Really, someone named their kid Darcy?) he has been given a new chance at glory later in life with the mellower fans and media in the mountains. Just don't let us turn on you. We're relentless once we do (Tyler Arnason anyone?).

Stats wise, despite having an off-season he still had 18 goals and 16 assist for an underwhelming Toronto team. On a team with Sakic, Stastny, Smyth, Hejduk, Wolski, and Svats Machine, not to mention up-and-comers Jones and Hensik, anything resembling this point production should be fine.

Also he will join Cody McLeod to become the most annoying one-two punch in the league. It will rack up the penalty minutes, but he will agitate teams into stupid penalties too. I'm not a fan of that style of play, but it has it's place, and he's still good at it.
• Do the Avs, once home to the greatest goalie of all time in Patrick Roy, now boast the worst goaltending in the NHL?
First of all the LA Kings are offended by this question. Second of all, why the hell does everyone think Budaj is a bad goalie. He has done absolutely nothing to make anyone believe he's at the very least a competent starter in this league.

You know who else has a worse goalie tandem? the Washington Capitals. That's right Theo will have a worse season than Budaj. Other teams with worse starting goalies than the Avs, without even seeing Budaj in a full season. For comparison here's two goalies.

Goalie one: 81-54 (.600 winning %) 2.97 GAA, .897 career Save %
Goalie two: 61-37 (.622 winning %) 2.70 GAA, .903 career Save %

Goalie 1 = Cam Ward
Goalie 2 = Budaj

Here's what Burnside says about Wards season:
Does Cam Ward rebound after a so-so season? If not, does Michael Leighton provide enough quality starts to keep the Hurricanes in the playoff mix? At least he questions Ward (who statistically had his best career season FYI) but Budaj is better than at least a dozen starters in the league, if not more. Here's a list of teams there has to be as many questions about (if not more):

Atlanta (Lehtonen)
Nashville (Ellis) (great season, but one season.)
Los Angeles (LaBarbera)
Pittsburgh (Fleury) (Seriously this guy is overrated, look at his stats)
Montreal (Price) (again one season)
Washington (Theo)
Carolina (Ward)
Edmonton (Garon)
Tampa (Mike Smith)
Toronto (Toskala)

Sure Raycroft is iffy, very iffy, and makes me nervous. But Budaj should be shouldering the load anyways, and if not the Avs can try and pry Khabibulin from the Blackhawks if Budaj is injured or struggles.
• Does Sakic's delay in deciding his return suggest his heart really isn't in it for another campaign?
No. This is absurd. anyone who followed this mini-saga knows he wouldn't have come back if his heart wasn't really in it.
• Will there be another mid-to-late season appearance by fan favorite Peter Forsberg or have we seen the last of the great Swedish forward?

meh. I think the Avs, and their fans, learned to not let this be a burning question this season. Most fans think he's done. I think he thinks he's done. If he comes back, great but no one here is holding their breath.


So there you have it Scott's burning questions answered. If you want real burning questions about the Avs season, stay tuned in a few weeks fellow Avs bloggers will have our burning questions and discussion with other Avs bloggers via the 2nd Avs roundtable.

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