Friday, February 10, 2012

AVS GAMEDAY PRIMER: Carolina Hurricanes, 2/10/12

The Good Guys: Continued their Jeckyl-and-Hyde act with a convincing 5-2 win over a disorganized looking Blackhawks team on Tuesday. A four goal outburst in the first 6 minutes of the second period left the game knotted at two, but the Avs rolled in the third period, led by rookie Gabriel Landeskog's early goal. A win tonight could have the Avs one point back of the eighth and final playoff position in the Western Conference, and they seem to handle themselves well against Eastern Conference teams; Colorado is 10-2 in those matchups this season.

Bunch Of Dicks: Try as I might, I can't seem to work up any sort of ill-will toward the Carolina Hurricanes. In some regards, they carry a similar "lifespan" as the Avalanche, as both teams are one-time WHA refugees, and relocated within two years of one another. Both teams have made two appearances in the Stanley Cup Final, with the former Whalers taking the title in 2006. The Canes have boasted several of my personal favorite players over the years, including Ron Francis and Rod Brind'Amour, and for good measure, Canes owner Peter Karmanos carries great disdain for Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch. Can't hate that, can we?

Tonight, we can. F Carolina.

We Like: The Avs always seem to look their best against a team that's willing to play up and down, run-and-gun hockey with them, and nowhere was that more apparent than the win over Chicago on Tuesday. The Blackhawks played aggressively, albeit sloppily, in their offensive zone, and the Avs were able to take advantage to the tune of multiple odd-man chances. Never mind the fact that the Avs don't necessarily have the finishers needed to take full advantage of those chances, as Dan Winnik and Chuck Kobasew may as well have been shooting with mops and shovels; their increased commitment to playing sound defensive hockey this year occasionally yields glimpses of the strong counterattacking scheme coach Joe Sacco envisions.

Know who would fit like a glove in a system that emphasizes strong positional play in the defensive zone and quick transition on the counterattack? Zach Parise. Just throwin' that out there.

We Don't Like: It's Friday, we have cold beer in the fridge, we don't have to worry about giving up a loser point to our opponent tonight affecting the Avs negatively in the playoff race...there's nothing to not like. Yet.

Randomly: It's a dumb thing to spend much time worrying about, but why does it seem like every team who got awful jersey treatments in the conversion to the "Edge" Reebok jerseys has updated their look...and the Avs havent? Florida got rid of all that excess piping, Edmonton went back to their classic 80's uniforms. What on Earth is preventing Colorado from either going back to the original jersey design, or even cleaning up their current look with more traditional striping? Does ANYBODY think the giant "parentheses" stripes look good? Does it even make sense to have them right in line with the captain/alternate captain designation letter? Please, Reebok, I promise I'll buy one if you just clean it up. Pinky swear.

Potential Hero: Know who's been awfully quiet lately? Ryan O'Reilly. The future captain is due.

Potential Goat: Home game against a struggling team that you SHOULD beat? Look no further than undisciplined penalties. Dumb stick fouls, which the Avs seem to take one or two of every game, have the potential to ruin the evening.

Final Thought: I have a really hard time seeing Colorado losing this game. Really hard. That can only mean one thing:

Hurricanes 3, Avs 1

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