Friday, October 12, 2007

Theodore Starts...and Loses [RANT: Penalties]

Jose Theodore is back...and to be perfectly honest, I'm not happy. Francois Giguere took a huge chance on this guy, and now that he's our backup, his role is to inspire the team that when he's in net, they have a chance to win.

Now, lets be fair, Theodore had a decent night. Prior to the third period, he had only let up one goal. (Albeit, he was lying on his back for it.) But this guy is a former Vezina and Hart trophy winner. Positioning shouldn't be an issue at this point in his career. EACH AND EVERY GOAL came as a result of being out of position, or giving up rebounds. The Blues had a total of 23 shots, Theodore made 19 saves. Not good enough. And it seems that the story of Jose Theodore in Colorado has been "oh, he let in four goals, but he made some nice saves." That's what happened tonight. And in the end, no matter had well (or poorly) your defense plays, the goalie should always be in position to stop the shot.

Speaking of the defense, they stunk. (To put it nicely.) On the second goal, I believe, Jeff Finger and some other Av were on the ice. I can't identify that Av, because his back was planted firmly to the side of the goal. Next thing you know, the puck pops loose, and an unmarked Blue put it in.

Even Sakic got lazy. After the first goal was scored, Bernie Federko, the color analyst on FSN Midwest pointed out that it was Sakic's man who scored. And that had Sakic not slowed up on his backcheck, Brad Boyes wouldn't have scored. Joe Sakic is a legend...one of the greatest players to ever play the game. But it isn't fair to critisize the Avs tonight without critisizing that one play.

Turnovers were also key. They didn't affect us as much as usual, but Scott Hannan: when you come around the net with the puck, make sure you pass it to the guy wearing an Avalanche jersey. It shouldn't be that hard.

Powerplay was awful again. The announcers on FSN Midwest kept mentioning the ice affecting the bounces of the puck. That's crap and if anything, it should have meant that the Avalanche point men were throwing the puck at the next, hoping one of those bounces hopped to a friendly stick.

To give credit to the Blues, Manny Legace officially owns us. His record is now something like 12-1-1 against Colorado. He made some great saves and this game could have easily have gotten away from the Blues before the third period.

By the way, our one goal was technically scored by Paul Kariya.

Final Score: 4-1 Blues

Positivies

Penalty kill was great throughout the game, as the Avs were 4-4 on the penalty kill. The Blues couldn't get anything going on any of their powerplays.

Paul Stastny continues to score, as he got the lucky goal from from Paul Kariya. But hey, good players get lucky.

Three Stars of the Game (10-12)

1. Ben Guite (Absolutely phenomenal on the penalty kill, and I thought he was one of the few Avs with a jump in his step every single shift)
2. Paul Stastny (The kid continues to score and had a good 4 or 5 chances tonight)
3. Milan Hejduk (Played a very nice game, generated chances, and I personally believe that he is finally back.)

Next Up

The Avs are back at it on Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. We were 3-1 against them last season, and hopefully we can stay above .500 for the year. Expect Peter Budaj to get the start.

Rant of the Week
Tonight's game was horribly officiated. In particular, two interference calls. (On the Avs.) And no, I don't have Avagoggles on. This is a legitimate beef.
The first call was on Hejduk, for colliding with Manny Legace. The rule is, the player must make every attempt to avoid contact with the goaltender. Looking at the replay, Hejduk was clearly pushed into Legace and looking at his skates, was clearly making every attempt to stop. For you football fans, this situation may remind you of the roughing the passer rule. It's subjective, but refs should never really get it wrong.
The second call was on...well, Hejduk. This time, Danny Hinote, (a blast from the past who scored two goals tonight) brought the puck into the Avs zone. He lost the puck, and Hejduk took the body and cut him off. FWEEP. Penalty. Bad Call. That's hockey, folks. It's physical. With petty calls like this, refs are taking away the art of defense.
It's time that referees are held responsible for these calls. Yes, they are monitored and the good ones are rewarded by being allowed to work the playoffs. But what about public reports? If the public was able to see how these refs called the games, maybe they would get some of these calls right more often.
I'm not suggesting that the refs aren't watching the game. But this whole image of the "New NHL" and making sure that clutching and grabbing is totally erased, is getting in the way of refing. Any way you look at it, Hejduk's play was pure hockey. Nothing else.
Tonight was a bad night. Lets hope we can get it back on track.

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