I was listening to Two Guys One Puck yesterday and they got me to thinking about the Avs’ woes of late. The problem is well known but just to cover it quickly, they don’t start the game on time as coach Sacco likes to say. They don’t play a full 60 minutes...blah blah blah. The thing that occurs to me is that the Avs might be in worse shape than we realize. When the Avs spot a team 2-3 goals as they did in the recent games against Calgary/Islanders it’s natural for teams to relax a little. All teams do it to some degree. The Avs appear to have this 3rd period gear that they kick into and all of us fans ask the question, well why can’t they play this way the whole game?
Unfortunately I’m afraid that I’m beginning to doubt that the Avs are elevating their play in the 3rd as much as the other team is lowering theirs. All of a sudden the Avs are skating into the zone, getting good chances and controlling the puck.
So why not the whole game? Because they really aren’t good enough to do that the whole game? That’s my fear. The opponent is letting them do it. It’s the old prevent defense strategy. It’s easy for the Avs to look good when the other team is sitting on a lead.
The Avs only look good after the opponent starts sitting back, sipping a cold one and enjoying the lead. This is not good.
What about the Pens game you shout! The Avs were killing it at the beginning of the game. Well my theory is that the Pens looked at the Avs with little or no respect took the Avs lightly and got a wake up call. And if you have any doubts about how good that Pens team is you shouldn’t after that. They answered the call and then some.
Shout out to AvsGuildRyan and the guys on the podcast. One thing I love about their ‘cast is that they say “we” when talking about the Avs. Love it, keep it up. I wrote a piece HERE about why that is a good thing. If you are still one of those people that rips people for that I think you’re missing a key component of the sports phenomenon in society. In fact, you are in denial.
I certainly hope I’m wrong about the Avs with the theory I have presented above. I picked the Avs to sneak into the playoffs this year and hopefully I haven’t misjudged them. But maybe the naysayers were right.