Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

HOW DO YOU SAY "NO DEFENSE" IN COLORADO?

From Seth...

Remember how I said the real difference in this series would be the Avs' sub-mediocre defense versus the Wings' top defense?

Money quote:

"There were no defensemen on either goal," Datsyuk said. "All I had to worry about was the goalie."


It could be the mantra for this whole series. The injuries to the forwards are certainly tough for the Avalanche -- and I kind of wish they were healthy so we could really have it out between these teams. But I think the replacements have been the best players on the team during this series. Jones has been a force. Hensick was all over the place. How often did we hear the names McLeod and Guite when the Avs were on the offensive? Now look at Hejduk: 20 minutes, one shot, -1. Stastny got hurt in the 1st, but after a 2-point performance in Game 1, the kid took three outside shots and was a defensive liability in Game 2, and was more of the same before leaving Game 3. And Smyth -- before Smyth went down he was playing as uninspired as I've ever seen the guy.

But really, it comes to defense. Hannan's been blown by more times than the ugliest girl at the prom. Sauer has been making so many mistakes that Mike Babcock (his former coach in Anaheim) got quoted in the Freep yesterday saying "I taught him not to do, but I'm glad he didn't listen."

Yesterday wasn't a particularly well-officiated game. I understood the non-call on the boarding early on, since they missed the one on Filpulla in Game 2, so it was only fair. But then there was that really weak one on McCarty that led to a Colorado goal. And they completely made up an interference against Forsberg, which I figured was a make-up for the McCarty penalty, but then they gave the Avs a make-up by calling a phantom interference on Zetterberg to negate the penalty 20 seconds in. And on it went. By the 3rd period, the game was out of hand. The Avs were frustrated and could have been called for 10 more obvious ones. The Wings got ticky-tacked for some as more makeups for missed calls.

In all of this, though, the biggest blowups at the refs came on a hooking non-call when Datsyuk had a breakaway (he hooked, but didn't really impede progress so it was a judgement call on that one), and when Forsberg went down on his breakaway (which looked like a blown call at first, but replays confirmed this was the only good call of the night).

Had the officiating assumed some type of normalcy, however, the Avs would have been on the PK the entire 3rd period. Laperierre lucked out in that most of his boiling over shenanigans took place behind the play (he got called for one of his randon face-punches though). That guy has to get himself under control. He's a gifted defensive forward when he wants to be, but the way he was playing was less a pest and more a detriment to his team.

With Smyth out too, Theodore's on an island, and making the Wings look good. I don't think he's let in any soft goals, and he's made his share of plays. At least he finished a game finally this series. But no goalie in the world is going to survive the way Colorado's defense leaves him out to dry. If this series becomes a sweep this week -- knock on wood -- it's the disgustingly shoddy play of the defenders and the defensive forwards that's to blame.

Liles, Salei, Sauer, Foote, Hannan and Leopold came in as a so-so group, but have played themselves into a pathetic excuse for a blue line.

Not that I'm complaining.

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