Thursday, March 22, 2012

AVS GAMEDAY PRIMER: Phoenix Coyotes, 3/22/12

The Good Guys: Gutted out two points against the Calgarian dicknoses on Tuesday night. The Avs spent most of the night trading chances with their mediocre rival, and while they really didn't play their best game, they got the job done in the end. David Jones was the man of the hour, slipping a puck past Miikka Kiipprruussooffff in overtime for the critical extra point. Paul Stastny also was key, scoring the first goal and buttering up the chance that Jones put away in overtime.

Bunch Of Dicks: The NHL's resident welfare state is hanging annoyingly in the playoff race, as they usually do. The Coyotes are a team that's built to survive and outlast, rather than outgun, and that's perfect strategy for today's NHL. Phoenix took advantage of Dallas brainfarts on Tuesday night to erase a 3-1 third period deficit and steal a point for pushing the game into overtime. This is a virtual playoff game for both teams.

We Like: It only took him 75 games, but Joe Sacco finally went off about the perceived officiating iniquities that have seemingly dogged the Avs this season. Whether real or imagined (and having watched 95% of the games this season, I'd tend to lean toward real), perception is reality and the perception is the young team isn't getting the respect it deserves from the officials. Is there bias? I doubt it, but it's good to see Sacco publicly holding those guys to the fire a little bit. Every other coach does it.

We Don't Like: Shane Doan is a sack of crap. The next big game he's a positive factor in will be the first. His elbow to the face of Jamie Benn during Tuesday night's game was malicious, stupid, and selfish. Doan was suspended for three games (tonight being the first) with his team battling to stay in the playoff race. The narrative is that Doan is a good honest hardworking Canadian kid who drinks his milk and loves his family. That doesn't jive all that well with headhunting elbows and allegations of racism that Doan has seen himself involved in over the years.

Randomly: Here's some math: Unseasonably warm weather + virtual playoff games = HOCKEY BONER.

Potential Hero: I called it the other night, it didn't happen. I'm calling it again tonight: Tyson Barrie pots his first career goal. I'll be perfectly happy if he plays as well as he did on Tuesday and doesn't score a goal, though.

Potential Goat: It was a borderline miracle the Mueller/Duchene/Hejduk line didn't finish a combined -15 on Tuesday; they were that bad. Frighteningly bad.

Final Thought: A regulation win tonight means breathing room for the Avs, and adds to the cushion they will need as the rest of the dog pack plays their games-in-hand. You don't really think it's going to be that easy, do you?

Coyotes 2, Avs 1

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