The Good Guys: Are finally back after a weeklong hiatus for the All Star game. It seemed like about a month, after a sketchy 3-2 loss on home ice to Minnestupid. The Avs' sloppy play in that game, in my opinion, underscored the importance of the absent Ryan O'Reilly. O'Reilly has been a stabilizing force on ice, always making sound decisions with the puck and without it, and that game featured several forehead-slappers, most notably Shane O'Brien's puckhandling gaffe in the neutral zone. That one led to the game-winning goal on a 2-on-none for the Wild, and a night of teeth-grinding from yours truly.
Bunch Of Dicks: Every time I watch a game involving Andy "Expert" Sutton, I wonder who on the other side is going to be maimed by his reckless, careless play. Tonight will be no different. Also: Taylor Hall was ugly to begin with. If anything, that scar is doing him and the rest of us a favor by giving us something to focus on other than his relief map of a face.
We Like: Hockey's back, BRAH. The All Star game blows.
We Don't Like: Now that the trade deadline is a month away, Avs fans' Spidey Senses should be tingling. Greg Sherman has been anything but bashful in the trade market, and while the jury is still out on the two biggest deals that brought Erik Johnson and Semyon Varlamov, is it possible we see a "desperate" move that nudges the Avs into the playoffs but hurts them long-term? Probably not, but if you don't think it's a possibility, you haven't been paying attention. I live in fear of these things.
Randomly: Props and kudos to my friend and ace Flyers fan @cassiecup for being the first person to identify Kris Letang as Opera Man's clone. No clue how I didn't make this connection before.
Tonight's Hero: Let's see if Semyon Varlamov can get the Avs' stretch drive off to a good start. Positive thoughts.
Tonight's Goat: Me, for completely forgetting I was out of beer. Dry Island in the Jones residence this evening.
Final Thought: Seriously, how did I forget that? I thought about it all day.
Let's get the theoretical second half of the season off to a good start, gentlemen!
Avs 4, Oilers 1