Quick hits: Wednesday

• Still a Budaj supporter. But he does have to play better. I think he will (regression to the mean and all). No doubt he's in a slump, but I thought the second and third period last night was encouraging. Those were the first two periods all season he's looked comfortable. I know when I am slumping in athletics sometimes it takes me hitting rock bottom before I bounce back. In my slowpitch softball league, it was taking a 3rd strike, looking, to cap an 0-5 night before i just finally said "Fuck it" and started to be relaxed, because nothing was going to be worse than that. Joe @MHH sums it up well:

In baseball they use the term "gripping the bat too tight" to describe a slump caused by stress and self-doubt. Budaj is gripping something too tight, and he needs to regain the poise and confidence we've seen in him before. It's there. He's capable of it. He just has to do it.

• 5 of the 6 Avs defenders (I'm excluding Liles, for now) should be thankful Budaj's struggling, because the press he's receiving is completely overshadowing their abysmal play. I'd give Budaj a D - D+ grade so far this season. I'd give the Defense an F. A symptom of this is the putrid penalty kill, which is last in the league at the moment.

• Despite having faith that Budaj will bounce back, Raycroft should get the next start in goal. Granato has already said that he will start every 4th game, and this would be game #4. Also the fans are (justifiably) frustrated, and Budaj is taking the brunt of the blame. (For my part I think the 0-3 losses are equal parts coaching goaltending and defense right now). If he's "gripping the stick" right now it doesn't make sense to put him in against Philly on Thursday in front of a frustrated home crowd. After that the Avs have 2 road games, and hopefully he'll find his form in those.

• How good would Brendan Morrison (a decent penalty killer), Michael Peca or Sergei Federov look right now, centering a between Tucker and Svats/McCormick and actually helping on the PK?

• I have been a harsh critic of McLeod, especially last season, but he's starting to mature and learn discretion. His fight of Staios in Edmonton was aptly timed, and his one punch knockdown of Phanuef was enough to warm the cockles of any previously critical Avs fan. If he keeps being a smart pest, he's more than welcome on the Avs.

• Reports of "The duke's" demise have been greatly exaggerated. I think Milan Hejduk has been the Avs best player.

• Liles has been the Avs best defender, on both ends of the ice. He isn't the shutdown defender that Foote is, but he has played strong positionally, and cleared the puck well, IMO. I'm glad the avs re-signed him.

• Hannan has been the worst. He seems to be out of position, and out of synch. Also noteworthy for his ineffectiveness... Clark. I think he's been pretty terrible through three.


  1. I agree with several of your points, especially in the way McLeod and Liles have been playing.

  2. I'm more curious to see which one's you disagree with.

  3. Everything else. Even the ones you didn't say but were thinking ;)

    Hannan looks brutal on the PK but seems all right at ES. And yeah, I'm eating my words on Mcleod and loving the taste.

    In about one hour, a post I did up will auto-publish (I love scheduled posts) and I'm pinning a lot of the issues at the feet of TG.

    The wide-open play is fun, but it seems to have come at the cost of any sort of system of defense.

  4. Agree... even though i don't see any reason why the Offense can't be up-tempo and the defense disciplined.

    I can see the Avs giving up more off-the-rush goals, but when the other team has established posetion in their zone there's no reason the Avs shouldn't be better.

  5. "I'm more curious to see which one's you disagree with."

    I don't really disagree with any point, just the level. For example, our D has been a disappointment, but it's not an F (in my book). And I don't think Michael Peca would be much help (though it WOULD be fun to have Peca and Tucker on a line together, because of their history), and we couldn't really afford the others.

  6. I'm probably being a bit harsh on the D, i just feel it has been really bad.

    And I think Peca would help our third line a lot (an upgrade over our favorite whipping boy) but really help our PK.. which the Avs desperately need.

    Morrison signed for $2.5M/yeah

    But i get your points.