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Takeaways from Avalanche's shutout victory in Detroit

Adrian Dater Avatar
December 3, 2018

I meditated today, for about 15 minutes. In part of my “recovery” from life in general, I was told over and over again to just focus on the moment at hand, and nothing else. No future, no past. Just the present. Namaste.

And yet, I felt a lot of emotions tonight watching the Avalanche and Red Wings play, a game in Detroit in which the Avs won 2-0. Most of them had to do with the past, but maybe informed a future in which it mostly can be described as dystopian in its chances to become anything close to reality. There’s zero chance, 0.0, that a rivalry between the current or future Avs and Red Wings will equal the intensity of the past.

That’s what made tonight’s game so much fun to watch – even though it was actually a bit of a dull and maddening game to watch in other aspects.

I saw cheap shots and huge hits and fights and dirty play again tonight in Detroit. It was as if it was 1996 all over again and I was just trying to keep up with the outrage. Yet, it ended in kind of a whimper. Avs win 2-0, get the empty-netter, on to Pittsburgh. I won’t make too much of the “this reminded me of the past” stuff from what I saw tonight.

Still, come on; A fight between an Avs player (Ian Cole) and a Bertuzzi family member (Tyler) happened in this thing. It was something of a hybrid mashup of the past and future, if there is to be another RIVALRY between these teams.

These are my other takeaways from the game:

  • Come on, Matt Calvert had every right to do what he did at the end. The guy gets his stick held by players on the Wings bench (penalty, or should have been), then when he gets tired of it and throws a glove punch at Wings bench, he gets jumped by three or four guys just throwing haymakers from their piney abode. And yet, no call from the zebras on anything.
  • My two most overriding emotions from watching this game are: 1. The Avs were pretty awful at times and got away with this win and 2. The Avs were screwed at every turn by a horribly officiated game. I think both observations are probably overblown. But I really didn’t love how the Avs played tonight. They were too fancy way too many times, were sloppy with the puck too often and were out-worked in some key areas, especially on the forecheck.
  • And yet, the Avs win 2-0. That’s what’s great about being a fan of a really good team, isn’t it? Your team doesn’t have to be very good sometimes, but it’ll still win based on talent alone.
  • That first goal, by Nathan MacKinnon on the power play just a few seconds in, was ultimately the difference in the game, but also the difference between the Avs and many teams now. They can just beat you in a few minutes based on their top-line talent alone.
  • A.J. Haefele is doing the player grades tonight, and I write this before having seen them, but I would give Ian Cole an A+ tonight. He was a real leader out there, fighting Bertuzzi and doing yeoman work in his own end. He also is the NHL blocked shots leader right now. Superb addition to the Avs.
  • Such great tic-tac-toe passing on that MacK PP goal, wasn’t it?
  • I was driven crazy by the Avs’ being too fancy in the first two periods. They passed up good chance after good chance in favor of the exras pass. But, in the end, they got away with it.
  • Semyon Varlamov gave us all a heart attack with his puck-handling abilities in the second period, but the guy got a shutout in the end.
  • Detroit played a really solid game, other than being able to score. Their forecheck was really strong, and it seemed like the Avs never had any real time with the puck when they did get it. But, the Wings just don’t have the offensive finishers of the past.
  • We won’t be in Pittsburgh, but I’ll be in Florida and Tampa Bay to close out the road trip. Any BSN subscribers from those two cities want to meet up at one of the games, let me know.
  • What a bone-crunching hit by Z on Andreas Athanasiou.


  • While the Avs’ forwards were too fancy with the puck, they were a collection of 12 truck drivers without the puck. They worked hard defensively. Detroit played well, but they didn’t get too many blue-chip chances. The forwards were better defensively than offensively.
  • The Avs miss Tyson Barrie. It’s been a little too hard getting the puck out of the zone lately, and Barrie’s absence explains a lot of it.
  • Tyson Jost was demoted again, this time to left wing on the second line, centered by J.T. Compher. The experiment didn’t go well. I don’t know why Jared Bednar is so tough on Jost at times. His numbers lately didn’t warrant a change in scenery. And yet, I get why he does it, too. Jost can frustrate you, because he has so much talent, yet it just seems like something is just. … missing with him.
  • I’m glad the Avs didn’t trade for William Nylander. I don’t like seeing guys that have barely accomplished anything being rewarded for greedy behavior. If he were brought in, at the salary he has now ($6.9 million, 600k than Nathan MacKinnon making now and the next handful of years) I think you would have brought major chemistry issues into the Avs’ room. Maple Leaf teammates now are the ones who have to sit next to Nylander and wonder why he got so much money for such minimal accomplishments.

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