Avalance vs. Wild 12/01/2008
Frequent readers of the blog should be well-acquainted with John. John not only brings some life to the comment sections here, but as an avid Avalance fan, he is also the resident voice of the Western Conference. So I thought I’d post an actual Avs blog for John. Hopefully that will keep my Flyers blogs free of his Avalanche talk for once. 🙂
I caught the Versus feed of tonight’s Avalanche-Wild tilt, and what a game. Goals galore, special teams, up-tempo hockey, some scraps, big hits – this one had a little bit of everything.
On the Colorado side of things – That play where Ryan Smyth broke away and then drove to the net to create a scoring chance was perfection. He’s a major factor in why I rooted for the Oilers during the 2006 playoffs after Buffalo ousted my Flyers. What a joy to watch him play as a power forward without the clutch-and-grab style of the late 1990s.
And that Paul Stastny kid – I wouldn’t be surprised if he made a serious bid for the 2010 Men’s team. Although I don’t know whether he’s a Brian Burke-type guy. He has such wonderful vision with the puck, and what’s more impressive is that he manages to find open spaces when he doesn’t have the puck. That feel for the game combined with amazing talent is going to make Stastny an exciting guy to watch in the next few seasons.
It was nice to hear the announcers giving credit to Ian Laperriere, too. Being a Flyers fan, I love a good grinder who works hard on every shift. I haven’t watched a ton of Avs games since the lockout, but it seems like Laperriere is always giving 100% when he gets out there. We don’t appreciate these types of players enough.
On the Minnesota side of things – Marian Gaborik who? The kids are carrying things up in St. Paul, and can they play hockey!
Mikko Koivu has all the leadership qualities of his older brother, wrapped up in a defensively-responsible power forward package. I spend tons of time praising Mike Richards for bring it all in Philly, and I think Koivu rivals that capacity for dominance. He combines all the skill of Richards with all the size of a Jeff Carter. And it’s downright scary that he’s only going to keep improving.
Ridiculous is the only word I can summon for Brent Burns. There are other defensemen out there playing forward – think Ian White or Mark Streit. But Burns waltzes out there as a forward a looks like he belongs in the top 9, possibly even the top 6. He actually drove towards the net on his goal. You tell me how many defenseman, even offensively-minded guys like Mike Green or Sergei Gonchar, can boast that kind of instinct?
What really puts Minnesota over the top for me is Owen Nolan. How did Calgary let this guy go? He reminds me of Mike Knuble – the veteran who just continues delivering goal after goal after goal. Watch out for this guy if/when the playoffs roll around.