Z Benched, as he should be
Bednar is nothing if not true to his word with benching players/passengers that aren’t carrying their weight on the team. Zadorov has been lackluster at best and the big ZMASH hits are few and far between. Plain and simple, Z isn’t good enough to be on the ice as just another D-man, he needs to be a menace and a physical presence. Message sent, call-up made.
The book on the Avs
- It’s the same game plan in Vancouver for the Canucks as it was for the Ducks in Anaheim last Wednesday. Physical, dirty and in your face hockey. The Avs need to show they can make teams pay for this kind of gameplan by matching the effort and giving the hits right back. But for the love of puck – get that powerplay going. Until then, they’ll be forfeiting all of their lunch money.
- Homerun passes out of the D-zone will produce breakaways against the Avs, more often than not. The Avs are trying to activate their defense in the zone and getting caught by the stretch pass that results in breakaways.
Kamenev + Emotion = Signs of Life
- I saw a fire from Kamenev that I hadn’t’ see up until this game. After being put in a headlock during a scrum in front of the Canucks Kam jumped up and let the opposing player taste his glove. On the next shift he was initiating physical contact in the corners. I doubt that I’m the only fan who finds Kamenev to a bit fragile but if he can bring some physicality to his game consistently it would add a substantial element to his game. It also might keep him in the line-up.
- Fast forward to the second period and Kamenev gets smoked while chasing down a rebound that earns him a cross-check while lying face-first on the ice. He gets up and responds with a cross-check of his own. This sounds like a nothing situation, but for Kamenev who doesn’t show much emotion, it’s a sign that he’s elevating his game.
- The effort continues in the 3rd period and I can’t help but think a message was sent by the coaching staff and emphasized by Kaut being sent down and Z being benched.
MacK Attack with a side of fries
- Mack with four backhand attempts from the dots and slot. He’ll shot from anywhere and put it on net any way he can. I think he’d pool cue it if the opportunity presented itself. He remains the element of the Avs that other teams just don’t have an answer for. Sooner or later, he’ll burn any team trying to neutralize him. Not always with his own goals but by the disruption to the other teams’ defensive system. Case and point – The EJ Goal in the first.
Frankie falling off the pedestal a bit, but it’s okay
- Frankie has been playing great in net. So good that it seems (and is) unsustainable. I think that the workload has begun to set in.
- In the last few games, Frankie is letting a few more goals in and you can feel the energy drop on the ice for the Avs when it happens.
- Frankie needs a little time with Jussi Parkkila to work on the glove presentation. He’s getting beat just above the pad and below the catching glove consistently.
Landy is getting his mojo back
I’ve been critical of Landy for a while now and I’d argue it was warranted. However, his pay in the last 4-5 games has really improved and he’s becoming a threat on the ice that will take some attention off MacK and give him some room to create even more. The timing is perfect with a playoff run underway and an ever-growing presence of young players in the line-up.
Nuke has already won the feel-good story of the season
Nichushkin wasn’t supposed to do ANYTHING this year. The reporters were dogging on Sakic for being so stupid and the fans were ranting about players they’d rather see called up. Yet, here we are. Every game he brings a consistent effort and he’s putting the puck in the net with more and more regularity. If the season ended today, he’d be my favorite story of the entire season.
In the end
- The Avs are trying to respond to the physical play. Landy and Bellmare are both nursing broken noses and would be smart to avoid any knuckle-chucking. It’s nice to see players like Namestnikov and Graves getting involved in the post-whistle scrums.
- Graves delivered the kind of hit on Pearson that Z should be laying on everyone.
- Connauton had a good showing. Nothing fancy but taking some hits to keep the puck in the offensive zone and to make plays.
- The Avs keep losing players right in front of our net, and it ended the game with 3:17 left in the 3rd.
- The Avs need to get some players back in the line-up STAT