This is Lanny McDonald as a Colorado Rockie. He played there 30 years ago (between Toronto and Calgary) and was quality. Colorado hockey fans have always had really good players to cheer for and if we’re honest they are a quality hockey market and a well run team.
It is curious then to look at how they are handling their goaltending this season. Looking back through history there are many, many examples of pretty good teams without goaltending (the Rockies were such a team btw). However, in the age of free agency most teams have two guys who can play and if one goes south the other guy can pick up the slack until a trade can be made or someone tries to sneak a talent through the waiver wire.
The Avs are averaging 3.67 goals-against per game currently, in a virtual tie with Calgary and Vancouver among NW teams and tied for 25th in the entire league. This compares with the Oilers who are 9th overall (2.40).
Even more disconcerting for Colorado fans is that Andrew Raycroft is lapping the field, as Peter Budaj is having an awful start:
- Raycroft 2gp, 2wins, 3.00GAA .875SP
- Budaj 4gp, 1win, 4.03GAA .845SP
Edmonton’s Mathieu Garon has a SP of .941 and if he can play well through Christmas a helluva payday lies ahead for him. The Oilers traditionally reward their goalies (Salo, Roloson) with exceptional contracts and Garon is most certainly playing well enough for an overpayment.
I think the Oilers can win tonight despite the poor effort one night ago and the quick turnaround. There are, however, some warning signs:
- Where’s Steve?
- Gagner was playing well enough (high event both ways but getting chances) but still has 0 points and appeared to me last night to be pressing. A big night for the kid line is definitely needed and specifically some crooked numbers for 89 is vital.
- The top line doesn’t work. Blame Hemsky all you want, there is zero chemistry here and it reminds me of last season when Nilsson got sent out and Torres + Stoll were putting themselves well and deep into the shithouse. This line appears doomed, despite the fact that all three players are above average by any measure.
- The top pairing isn’t working. Souray and Visnovsky didn’t even sound like a good idea (unlike the Horcoff line with Cole on the wing). That needs to be fixed.
I’m hopeful that Craig MacTavish has fallen in love with the word churn once again and suggest this roster:
Not a demotion for Pisani, because they’re going to roll 4 lines and Fernando will get some special teams time anyway. No sir, break up that top line MacT, it’s the right thing to do.
And one final note: Ladislav Smid did some good things one night ago and definitely deserves to stay in the lineup.