Thursday, December 28, 2006



by Greg

I'm back in Colorado for the holidays (and possibly longer, with another monster storm having kicked off in recent hours). Plans to attend last night's Avalanche-Stars tilt turned, in a comedy of errors, into plans to watch it on television. Probably for the best -- if I'd been in the stands, I would have been bashing my head into the glass, but with the emotional distance television provides, I could just concentrate on resigned shrugs, grumpy exclamations, and beer.

I'm always reluctant to place losses on one player's shoulders, so allow me to do just that. Joel Quenneville has been pretty consistent this year in playing the hot hand as far as goaltenders go -- it's time to stop that and give Peter "Ned Flanders" Budaj the reins until he proves he can't. Jose Theodore is paid as a starting goalie, and there's nothing that can be done about that, but that doesn't mean the Avs need to pay lip service and play him like a starting goalie. Any time you're able to score four goals against the King of the Regular Season, it really oughta hold up. Theodore was awful last night.

Over the last month or so, Budaj has been demonstrably better. He's had a couple bad games, each leading to his benching for a few -- it's time to give him a chance to bounce back from those.

Just like Denver Broncos fans forever compare quarterbacks to John Elway, Avalanche fans are going to forever compare goalies to Patrick Roy. So sure, the spotlight is somewhat unfairly on Theodore, and he isn't the only reason the Avalanche are so mercurial this year. Milan Hejduk and Marek Svatos aren't producing as expected, new defensive cornerstone Jordan Leopold makes Eric Lindros look durable, etc. But it's pretty clear at this point that Budaj gives the Avalanche the best chance to win right now, and by God, it's time for Quenneville to commit. Post-loss, he said "We need better goaltending" -- to get that, play the better goaltender.

* * *

Also Avalanche-related: Santa left Adrian Dater's "Blood Feud" under the tree the other day, and I'm pretty excited to read it. I'm not expecting great literature or anything, but it oughta be a pretty fun look back at the rivalry. It's even got Scotty Bowman's stamp of approval ("A must-read for all hockey fans"), Scotty being the only person involved with the late '90s Red Wings who can read.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?