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Off-Day Avs Notebook: Look on the sunny side of life

Adrian Dater Avatar
April 3, 2018

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Let’s just do some free-form riffing here, nothing fancy, on the state of the Avs.

I am sitting on the deck of the uncle to my close friend from New Hampshire, Chris, here in the Bay Area. Nice view from his deck, eh?

As I drove the 365 miles or so to Uncle Joe’s place after the game in L.A. last night, I just kept thinking: “It’s gonna come down to that final game against St. Louis.”

It just seems that way, doesn’t it? No matter which team makes it – the Avs or Blues – they will kinda/sorta have backed their way in. And yet, whoever prevails in that final game will have at least won their way in.

Of course, that game could be meaningless. The Blues could just beat the Chicago Blackhawks in their next two games and the Avs could lose in regulation to the Sharks Thursday and that’d be it. The Blues, if that happened, would be three points up on the Avs entering that final Saturday at Le Pepsi Centre.

But I think that game will mean something. I mean, does anyone really think the Blues are going to sweep the Blackhawks these next two games, after getting blown out 6-0 on the road to Arizona and then losing at home to a Washington team that had nothing to play for last night?

Plus, Patrick Kane is on record saying he’d just love to help spoil the Blues’ playoff hopes.

That’s what Kane told the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus today. The Hawks, of course, have had to play an accountant in goal as part of their final games of the season, and will be without captain Jonathan Toews for a sixth straight game Wednesday night in St. Louis.

The Avs have today off from all hockey activities, and I hope they all get far away from the rink. I hear there’s a place called Napa Valley around here that’s kind of fun to relax and unwind. So, I hope they take a ride up there, maybe have a nice, relaxing glass of wine or two. I think this team has been too uptight of late, and it’s shown up on the ice.

The top line of MacK, Landy and Rants have really been gripping the sticks of late. Some R’n’R away from the rink today could do wonders for their souls and their hockey games.

I really liked the attitude of Nikita Zadorov last night, though, when asked about the team’s state of mind entering these last two games. I encourage you to listen to his post-game talk last night here from the audio vaults:


I like the fact that he says everybody “has each others’ back” on this team. Boy, that could not be said last year or the year before that or…

This has truly been a much closer team than any of recent memory. The guys do get along. There are no more ageist cliques or class disparities based on salary/roles on the team. I just think some of them have gotten a bit uptight of late, so these next couple days of California sun and less-than-strenuous activity could be the best thing that happened to this club in the end.

Or, the Avs could come out and get smoked by the playoff-bound Sharks too. The way things are going right now, it’s very hard to predict what kind of Avs team will be out there Thursday night.

I think the loss of Erik Johnson also has started to hurt finally. The Avs had a good record without him when he got hurt before with that separated shoulder. But these last two games, the Avs have really missed his physical presence, not to mention his strong puck management abilities from his own end. I think the Avs got pushed around too much by the bigger Ducks and Kings, and a guy like Johnson would have helped lock down that game in Anaheim that got away, I think.

Against the Kings? Probably nothing would have helped last night enough for a win, though. The Avs just do not match up well against L.A. plain and simple. The Kings lull you into making a mistake with the puck in the neutral zone, get a lead, then just kind of slowly strangle the life out of the game. That’s what happened last night.

I do think the Avs should make a lineup change or two. I’d like to see Anton Lindholm back in and give David Warsofsky a night off. I think the Avs could use a bit more physicality back there right now. Warsofsky plays a finesse game, but the puck management of late hasn’t been great. He can’t be turning pucks over in the offensive zone and causing odd-man rushes, like the one that salted the game away for the Kings in the third period.

It’d be nice, too, if the Avs could count on a Vladislav Kamenev to inject a little skill and offense to a goal-starved team right now, but I don’t think we’ll see him. Jared Bednar indicated he thought the game was coming a little too fast to the Russian rookie when he did play a few games ago, and doesn’t trust him enough to play right now. He cannot be sent back to San Antonio, by the way, because of the league bylaws from when he was hurt and recalled. I don’t always comprehend all the legalities, but the bottom line is he can’t be sent to the Rampage. So, he just kind of sits around right now, not playing and developing, which is kind of tough.

Listen, no matter what Avs fans: It’s been a fun year, it’s still going to be interesting right to the end I think, and the future should be bright.

So, look on the sunny side of life. Which is what I’m about to do right now, by going back out on Uncle Joe’s deck.


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