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
[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.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: 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)
[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.
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?