Sunday, October 10, 2010

The season starts! Jew Grimson didn't manage to make it down to watch his over-the-cap heroes fight my plucky squad of young'uns, and I didn't manage to find a bar willing to show out-of-town hockey instead of the fucking Giants game--so I hunkered down with my beloved lappy in the coffee shop and hooked into the radio feed.

Grimson chirped at me a few times, and I couldn't really get back at him much, b/c all texts are costing me ducats at the moment, so he definitely won the battle on points. I did manage to throw a couple-three tweets out there, and I could point out that I didn't make it all the way through the game becuz compy's battery died, and that I was ginning up the season preview, but these are all excuses. Grimson won the battle. I can live with that.

(Re: setting up the event)
Grimson: The only thing more loathsome than a bandwagon Giants fan is a diehard Niners fan.

Grimson: Wow, that building is loud, if the audio feed on Vs. is to be trusted
KISS sucks

[Collision: I bet anything it was sweetened with the crowd noise from KISS Alive. I was offline at this point, sitting out the ode to the '96 Avs team. KISS sucks.]

Grimson: 3 goals apiece, Blackhawk SO win.
[Collision: Good call--all the games last year were three-point games, so he's got history on his side...]

Grimson: Why do I think Anderson will let 3 by? He'll be giving my guys the hometown discount. Forgot he was from there.
[Collision: Grimson doesn't know this, but it's likely that, in exchange for this horrifying slander of Saint Mayor Craig Anderson, I will burn his house down. Real talk. I am publically threatening arson.

Grimson: Best thing about the radio? Not having to see all these ads for a Terrel Owens/Ochocinco talkshow. The name? T.Ocho show. Cringe.
[Collision: Anybody remember what it was like back before civilization fell?]

Grimson: Ok, I get the ode to 96 now. Thought you were just talking about inevitable mention of that team by the press, didn't realize they were in the building. Explains the noise.
That penalty was a no-doubter. Anderson looks great. Should have been a shorthand for Stastny. (7.26pm)

Right around here, I began to feel much rage. What kills this Avs team is lack of puck possession--starting with faceoffs, a major problem last year, and moving to Dmen who can skate and move the puck, but who aren't big enough to win battles and get the puck in the first place. (And then there's Hannan and Foote, who are big and strong enough to win battles, but are too slow to get there and can't do anything with the puck once they do get it on their sticks.) What happens is that the bad guys dominate the puck for a long time, the Avs get tired, the Avs get desperate, and the Avs take a penalty. More than anything else, this team shortcoming and the in-game pattern that results from it is what killed them against the Sharks last year, and it'll continue to kill them against teams who win faceoffs and who have big, fast or skilled forwards.
Collision: Great job, Avs. Take a penalty against the Blackhawks. Genius.

Grimson: The Hossa pass was better than the shot. (7.27pm)

Grimson Anderson flipped 20 cent with his stick, but it was after the play, no call. Kane just didn't see the stick. Forget the score, this is fun, fast hockey.
[Collision: there's the tagline for the season! Forget the score! Bring the whole family!]

Collision: Nice timeout, Quennville, you fucking pussy.
[Collision: Ahem. Not real proud of this one.]

Grimson: Duchene grew up a huge Avs/Roy fan & would have been a goalie if his dad would have let him. 4 Roy posters in his room.
[Collision: I knew the Avs part, but the Roy thing was a new one on me. The kid is great, but my favorite person this week--after Stastny--might now be Duchene the Elder.

Grimson: Seabrook got away with one (7.48)
[Collision: Yeah, what are the odds that the defending over-the-cap champs get calls and no-calls against the popular pick to slip out of the playoff picture?]

Grimson: That came from 19 year old Leddy's inability to handle a simple pass & Turco pinching in the net anticipating the pass instead of the shot. Avs are clearly outplaying the Hawks (minus the penalties) (7.50pm)
Flawless. Victory.

[Collision: Stewart's goal was just taken off life support. Apparently it was incurably ill.]

Special Guest Text!
Bogdan von Pylon
As advertised, the Flames being outplayed by the Oil. Fuck (7.54p)
[Collision: At this point, it was 1-0. It was about to get a whole lot worse.]

Collision:Turco sharp, though, and Hawks will ropeadope young Avs, wait for frustration, then counterattack w/ superior size and puck control. Avs worst faceoff team in the league last year, I think, w/ Hawks at/near the top. It's a worry.

Grimson: Save Scott and Seabrook, Hawks aren't that big, but I do expect good puck control. This Blackhawks team isn't as fast as it used to be and the Avs are.

Grimson: Sharp's a good sport, you could see him asking Anderson if he was ok after that shorthanded charge. (8.28pm)

Collision: Whoa. Avs living dangerously and getting away with it in the second.

Grimson: Winning faceoffs lead to goals. Oh yeah...fuck!
[Collision: We'll come back to this faceoff win and goal by Stastny.]

Collision: Really woulda preferred to avoid giving up that goal to make it 3-2. Fear the Hawks are playing ropeadope.
Hilarious radio moment from the second intermission: the guy was calling highlights and absolutely bellowed AND THAT'S WHEN STASTNY DID WHAT STASTNY DOES...followed by, in a very small voice...score big goals. Like he got halfway through his bit and lost all confidence in it. I loved it. And with my battery dying and my Lady joining me, I went off to eat a huge pile of delicous Thai food.

Grimson: Turco got a piece but not enough. Ouch. Was kinda close in my prediction, at least. Tied at 3, OT, with a minute left and Turco gets a piece, can't find it & the momentum pushes it in. (9.59)

Collision: Well, I think you got robbed by a young team flying on emotion and getting lucky on the PK. Turco mighta been yr best tonight, too.

I was wrong about Turco, for the record. He rang up a raft of flashy saves, but took the pipe on a one and a half soft goals. Save percentage of .902 won't get this Hawks team back to the finals.

So Grimson and von Pylon are bummed, and Bourne argues that they should be, because these starts are superduper important. I half agree with Bourne: for young teams, the buy-in factor is big, and early success leads to increased confidence. And a point he doesn't make is that veteran teams often start off a little slow, and lose points in the early going. But the Oil? Kinda doubt Khabibulin will post 35 wins, 10 shutouts. And the Hawks?

The Hawks lost this game because of Joel Quennville. Stastny was killing the Hawks in the faceoff circle, and Quennville kept trotting out the checking line instead of using the second-best 2-way center in the Central, Toews, against Stastny's line. Toews was curbstomping the Avs in the circle, and would have given Stastny a hell of a fight. Bad coaching non-move, but one I doubt we'll see again in the season.

Anybody but me worried that Stastny has 10% of last season's goals already?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

last-second season preview

(with occasional live-blog MOMENTS OF RAGE as I listen to the Avs take three fucking penalties in the first fucking period against the fucking Blackhawks)

So von Pylon informs me that he hasn't time for clairvoyance. This is fine. I expect I'll be conduiting his rage-fueled despair from time to time this year.

Grimson (formerly Macajew)--take that! Stewart gets one!--claims he'll be bashing something out his own self soon, so please anticipate that one--lord knows I'm looking forward to him explaining how it was a good move, getting an old goalie with a skillset that's incompatible with an existing, and superb, defense.

Idiot-Trudeau offers the following, formatted for readability:
I got Canucks winning division (shocker!)
Flames getting a lower draft pick than the Avs,
[Collision: I think this is lucky Pierre claiming Avs & Flames both miss the playoffs]
Oilers a lower pick than both,
Thrash being the working class hero and barely making or barely missing the playoffs.
Chicago being nothing to write home about, SJ being a top team who loses in the first round, Montreal REALLY wishing they had Halak, St. Louis making the playoffs, Florida AND Toronto sucking, but still being better than Tampa somehow,
[Collision: heh. This is cute. I like the first and last claims, they're controversial and interesting, but everything in the middle is absolute conventional wisdom. Probably correct, but no way to start a fight.]
Ottawa still being a team no one further away from Ottawa than Hull gives a shit about,
Boston - Meh,
Rangers having a great goalie and Gaborik and still being on the bubble,
Flyers a low playoff seed, New Jersey missing the playoffs, Washington's coming out party (and I do mean GAY),
Pittsburgh takes the foot off the gas a bit more, but still good,
And a bunch of teams I don't care about being lame.
Canucks in Western Conf. Finals or seasons a bit of a bust.
Finals Prediction: Canucks - Capitals. Winner unclear.
Everybody got that?

Okay, here's what I got. Jibblescribbits stole my bit, or anyways got it into print before I did, but I have haiku for most of these teams.

1. Canucks
creepy twins produce
while we stockpile bad d-men
and Luongo fails

2. Flames
what's up for the Flames?
prolly the same as last year:
best non-playoff team.

3. Avs
4. Wild
5. Oilers
actually, this is sad.
didn't they used to have a team
play in Edmonton?

1. Pens
2. Flyers
3. Devils
with Kovalchuk signed
and Brodeur's growth unending
Devils golf this June

4. Rangers
only one man can
make Lundquist irrelevant:
his name? Glen Sather.

5. Isles
between the has-beens
and the never-gonna-bes
lurk the Islanders

1. Boston
snatch defeat from wins
or just suck the entire year?
hard choice for Beantown

Extra bonus haiku!
why pick Boston here?
SOMEone has to finish first
they seem to suck least

2. Buffalo
every year the same:
summer finds Sabres fans sad
and stuck with Lindy

3. Toronto
no, seriously, guys:
this year we take steps for sure.
no, seriously. guys.

4. Montreal
5. Ottawa
oh, man, still a team?
break 'em up already, sheesh!
before Alfie dies.

1. Caps
human highlight reels
might make for Sharks East again
but they're fun to watch

2. Carolina
Cam Ward and Best Stall
can drag a team a long way
--even to first round!

3. Tampa Bay
mammoth offense, sure
one more good line than the Flames
but who can they stop?

4. Thrash
steal Blackhawk spare parts
trade Kovalchuk for puck bag
enjoy 2010

5. Panthers
still a team down there!?
"here's to all that gorgeous snatch"
contraction? maybe.

1. Detroit
2. Nashville
3. Chicago
picture your future:
Keith glaring; Turco's 5-hole
gaping. forever.

4. St. Louis
5. Columbus

1. Kings
all signs and portents
point to this squad surging forth
... until the first round

2. Sharks
dear the entire league:
we are better than you are
(until the playoffs)

3. Phoenix
4. Ducks
age and bad players--
"slide farther from relevance"
the coach must urge them

5. Stars

K. Avs now up 3-1, somehow, against the Blackhawks, and my battery is dying and The World's Best Girlfriend in The World is on her way to the coffee shop to get dinner bought for her, so I'm pretty much out.

Go Avs Go!
-Collision, getting rubbed off the puck