Thursday, October 26, 2006


My Bipolar Avalanche

I made a whirlwind visit to far-flung parts of Europe last week, and still haven't fully got back into the hockey loop. I didn't have a chance to see any hockey games (or as Jes put it, "You went to Europe and didn't see ONE FRICKIN GAME!!!")-- the Russian club was out of town, and I wasn't in Prague long enough to do much more than walk and drink beer.

The trip really reacquainted me with the joys (said in a sarcastic and humorless tone -- perhaps with a bit of a sneer) of following my teams from overseas. It wasn't so bad with the Thrashers, who basically kept rolling along while I was gone -- but the Avalanche? See, I expected Colorado to be subpar this year. Not full-blown comically awful like the Flyers or Coyotes, more of a consistent, drab lifelessness as one expects from the Blue Jackets. But I didn't expect this -- worldbeaters one game, giving up eight goals to Montreal the next. No sustained performance one way or the other.

On a schedule I wasn't used to, and relying on what internet cafes I could find, I was a bit off on getting NHL news. One friend took delight in relaying Avalanche news to me, but only when it was bad. And getting these e-mails after a delay just highlighted how bizarrely inconsistent this team has become.

See, she'd e-mail gleefully after, say, the loss to Chicago on Oct. 16th. But by the time I got it, the Avalanche would have beaten the Maple Leafs (and by all accounts, looked impressive doing so) and I'd just scratch my head over my misguided friend's words.

Then a few days later, having also heard about the win over Ottawa, I'd e-mail again and perhaps "talk some trash," as the kids say, about the Avalanche's current strength -- not realizing that in the interim, Jose Theodore had gone through his well-publicized meltdown against Montreal.

I guess it's the hallmark of what really has become a mediocre team, enough scoring and defense and work ethic to compete, but not enough depth or toughness to put anything impressive together. I'm glad I have the benefit of distance now, in a way. It's aggravating enough watching this from thousands of miles away -- if I still up close in Denver, I'd go nuts.

One nice note, just so Canucks fans don't get too smug about the fate of the once-mighty Avalanche -- I'm glad to see Joe Sakic get his 1,500th point. While it's not good that they're relying on a 37-year-old as the cornerstone of the offense, he's always been a class act and one of the few players in any sport that I've never had a complaint about. That said, the way this season is shaping up, he'll probably get busted in a Commerce City motel with a hooker and a crack pipe now.

and I wasn't in Prague long enough to do much more than walk and drink beer Considering that these are the only 2 things Prahan's even do, you could have easily done this in about 30 seconds.

Vaclav Pletka has asked for you to step down as President of the overseas chapter of his fanclub. Ouch!

As for Sakic, I drive by Joe Sakic Blvd every day to work, so us Burnabians are quite proud of the guy. It's too bad he never took a pay cut and came home to play.
I think I am the overseas chapter of the Vaclav Pletka Fan Club.
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