Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Professor Oak Conundrum

A face only a mother could love

For those of a certain age, it is likely that a childhood memory includes a very important, often life-changing question:

Which Pokemon do you choose?

Professor Oak would ask you the damn question at the beginning of every game, and with the exception of a few versions, it was always the hardest question to answer.

Should you take the grass Pokemon, Bulbasaur?

No one took Bulbasaur. After all, what was grass powerful against? What was it weak against?

It was much easier to weigh the strengths of water Pokemon, Squirtle, and fire pokemon, Charmander.

With Squirtle, you got a cute little bugger who could use the very important "surf" ability. With Charmander, the pokemaster knew he would eventually be able to own the feisty, but also difficult to control, Charizard.

Decisions, decisions.

Regardless of which one was taken (I was usually a Squirtle guy - I think), the owner would venture out into the world with hopes of becoming the best there ever was.

This June, the Avs are going to be facing a similar decision when they make their (probably top-3) pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Which Pokemon, er, player, do we choose?

Dater took a look at the Squirtle/Charmander choices of the bunch, namely Adam Larsson and Gabriel Landeskog.

Larsson is the big defenseman, who would have been the sure-fired Avalanche preference if not for the acquisition of Erik Johnson. Similarly, Landeskog, the big forward, is intriguing because of Chris Stewart's abrupt departure last month.

And depending on who you ask, the Bulbasaurs appear to come in the form of small center (like we need another one) Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and center (again) Sean Courturier .

So which one is best for the Avs?

With a preliminary glance, it's Landeskog. The Avs are small at forward, and they got smaller when they got rid of Stewart. Furthermore, they're extremely injury-proned at forward. They're going to need guys to fill the shoes of Milan Hejduk when he retires in the next 1-2 years, and to take the spots of a Peter Mueller or Tomas Fleischmann.

Larsson would fit in nicely on the blueline. Assuming Foote is gone, we're looking at:

Johnson, O'Byrne, Liles, Quincey, Wilson, Holos, Cumiskey, Hunwick

Hunwick will be gone, but we also have to factor in Stefan Elliott, Tyson Barrie, and Cameron Gaunce possibly making the jump to the big leagues next season.

Colorado management already showed how confident they are in the aforementioned prospects by trading away Colby Cohen and Kevin Shattenkirk. Johnson will be the anchor, playing 23-26 minutes a night. It will be up to Liles to build on this season, Quincey to rebound, and O'Byrne to use his size effectively.

Landeskog addresses an immediate need for size up front.

He (Larsson, too) is also Swedish.


Well, we can only hope.

Eleven games to go.
Go Avs...?

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Monday, March 14, 2011

A Year At Lynah

Last night, the Cornell Big Red defeated Quinnipiac in an OT thriller to win Game 3 of the ECAC Quarterfinals and advance to the semi-finals in Atlantic City next Friday. The Red saw a 2-0 lead disappear in the third period, but they would not be denied in overtime.

The game was the final men's hockey game that will be played in the historic Lynah Rink this season, and for me, I have nothing but great memories of my first season sitting in Section B, otherwise known as "the best section."

Usually when I go to NHL games, if the Avs lose, I'm bummed. The night becomes a failure. But at Lynah, every night is an adventure - every night is a good time. The pep band, the ridiculous cheers, the rendition of "Rock&Roll Pt. 2" to begin the third period, it makes for a hockey experience that can't really be replicated anywhere else.

I have a ridiculous amount of videos I want to put up, and those will come in due time. Until then, consider this post my own "Lynah Salute" to Lynah Rink.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Jones Scores 24th of Season

Another awful game tonight. We're going to focus on David Jones' quest for 30 instead.

He scored his 24th goal of the year at 4:52 of the second period. It tied the game at two.

The Avs lost 6-2.

Yuck.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Jonesing for 30


It's been a brutal season. Absolutely brutal. I don't need to explain any further.

In the darkness, however, there has been some light; specifically, David Jones has been having a great (and generally healthy) season.

With 23 goals, Jones has already surpassed his previous career high (10 goals in 23 games last season), as well as his career high at Dartmouth (18 goals in 33 games for the Green).

The injury-proned Jones has only missed four games this season, and he has been one of the Avalanche's most consistent players in this season of suck.

Type in his name on Google. You'll find a random Australian "home essentials" store, a Wikipedia article referring to a poet, an advertisement for a voice tutor, a Welsh poet, and finally, right above www.davyjones.net, #54 - David Jones will be able to find himself on Google.


Unless you like beautiful women.

Sorry, David.

The point is, with 17 games to go, the Avalanche have nothing to look forward to except for a high lottery pick in the 2011 Entry Draft. But Mr. Jones (great song) has the chance to hit 30 goals. Doing so would put him in some pretty good Colorado company.

Since 1995-96, here are the Avs who have scored (at least) 30:

Sakic, Forsberg, Lemieux, Kamensky, Deadmarsh, Hejduk, Svatos.

The last of these guys to do it were Sakic (36) and Hejduk (35) in 2006-07.

I think most Avalanche fans will be in general agreement that, besides Svatos, these are some of the greatest Avalanche players of all time. Thirty is no joke.

Can Jones hit the big 3-0?

He's currently on pace to play 78 games and finish just below the mark at 29 goals.

He may be able to up that pace on Tuesday against the Wild. In four games against Minnesota this season, Jones has four goals. Speaking of Tuesday, it's also his favorite day to score. Eight of his goals have come on Tuesday. His next best total is six on Saturday.

He has scored most of his goals (11) while the Avs have been trailing, which is good, because they're usually trailing for the full 60 minutes.

A look at the next five opponents:

Wild - 4 goals scored in 4 games
Ducks - 1 goal scored in 2 games
Predators - 1 goal scored in 2 games
Canucks - 3 goals scored in 5 games
Flames - 0 goals scored in 3 games

So with over 1/3 of his goals this season coming against four of the next five opponents, this is a prime time for Jones to cash in and make a push to thirty.

Give Avalanche fans something to smile about, Mr. Jones.
Do it for the kids.

Go Avs.

Thanks to AvalancheDB for always being a great resource.

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