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Avalanche playoffs

Sweep: ‘Yeah, it did,’ O’Reilly guarantee motivated Avs; What Lies Ahead

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Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire

ST. LOUIS – Look, I’m never going to talk trash against Ryan O’Reilly. I don’t want to make this about me, BUT…

I’ve kind of hinted around about this before, but now will say more in-depth: When I had my entire life overturned nearly seven years ago from a drug-induced tweet and thought I’d lost everything and didn’t know if I’d be able to move on, I got a call from Ryan O’Reilly’s father, Brian. He said that Ryan had noticed what happened to me, and that maybe I’d need some help.

Brian O’Reilly is a guy I’d talked to before, about hockey and about life, as he was/is something of a life coach and I always enjoyed talking with him about things. On the day after I thought I’d lost everything and was in a crazy state of mind, Brian O’Reilly was in my living room, talking to me for about two hours. It really helped me. A LOT. I will never, ever, ever, ever be grateful enough for that time from him.

So, go elsewhere if you’re looking for anything bad to be said about the O’Reilly family. It’ll never happen here.

But look: I had to ask the question after the game. I asked Avs captain Gabe Landeskog, after the Avs swept the Blues today, whether O’Reilly’s “We’re going to have some fun, and we’re going to beat them” pre-series quote motivated the Avs at all?

Bonus Voucher!

“Yeah, it did,” Landeskog said.

Credit to the Avs captain for being honest. And, credit to the Blues captain, too, for trying to motivate his team. I really think that’s all O’Reilly was trying to do. I suspect O’Reilly knew his team needed a bit of a jolt, and he tried to do it with a Joe Namath-style guarantee of victory, to build confidence within his own room and maybe shake up the Avs’ confidence a bit. After all, Ryan O’Reilly had a right to talk like his. He is a Stanley Cup champion, a winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy.

But, no, this quote didn’t work. It’ll be relegated to the “Dewey Defeats Truman” premature declarations of victory file.

THOUGHTS ON THE SERIES AND WHAT’S AHEAD

  • A lot to unpack here. First off, I thought Philipp Grubauer was great in the series, yet probably he won’t get much ink for his performance. He was tremendous, though. He really made some big saves at key times in games, where, if he hadn’t, this series could have been much different.
  • I gotta be honest: I still think Vegas might be the better, tougher team in Round 2. Fleury, Stone, maybe Pacioretty back? I worry.
  • That said, this Avs team has come through all year when I had some doubts. So, I’m not saying anything too negative. But, look, DON’T GET AHEAD OF YOURSELVES here, Avs fan. We all thought the road looked smooth last year, to the Cup Finals, after the first round. Then, the second round happened.
  • I’ve always said, though: if you want to win a Stanley Cup, you’re going to have to go through the Belly of the Beast at some point. That belly belongs to Vegas right now, I think. Might as well get this over with, sooner rather than later.
  • Yeah, I know Vegas has to win one more game against Minnesota, that the series isn’t over. But it will be after tomorrow night.
  • I thought the turning point in the game today was Brandon Saad’s PP goal right at the end of the Avs’ second-period power play. The Blues were about to kill the power play off, and would have gotten a big cheer from the crowd on hand, with their team up 1-0. Instead, Saad found the top left corner with his wrister from the slot. I thought the Blues looked deflated after that, and the results the rest of the way lend credence to that belief.
  • Jared Bednar said the sweep should be good for his team, to get a bit more rest over the next few days, then open the next series at home. “We can get more practice time in, and prepare more,” Bednar said.
  • I want to thank the people of St. Louis for being cool to be around in this series. I like this city, even though it has some problems.
  • There are some good odds to check out here for hockey playoffs at sbobet.
  • Bednar said Alex Newhook had some “back stiffness” after sliding into the boards in the first period. He never returned. I’m hearing that this shouldn’t be a long-term thing, but clearly Newhook is going to need some further evaluation. Back injuries are no joke – and I know firsthand.
  • Devon Toews was sublime in the series. What a pickup by Joe Sakic.
  • I’d like to see Cale Makar get better for the next round. The power play – the Saad goal aside, which was set up by Makar – needs to be better moving forward. I’d like to see his slap shot a little more.
  • Devan Dubnyk is now the official backup to Grubauer. He was on the bench today, supplanting Jonas Johansson in that role.
  • Nazem Kadri is appealing his eight-game suspension by the NHL. The NHLPA formally filed the appeal. I would say “good luck with that.” Gary Bettman calls the shots on this, and I don’t see him undercutting George Parros on this decision.
  • I thought Ryan Graves was a top-5 player for the Avs in this series. That goal he scored in Game 3 was huge. And, he was tough physically. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the Avs would be foolish to expose him in the Expansion Draft to Seattle.
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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies. Previously Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report to name just a few.

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Mike Joswick

Who on D would you expose to protect Graves? Cale, G, & Toews have to be protected. Unless you went 4F-4D-1G and then you are losing a high end forward for sure. Most likely Burky.

ricoflashback

Gravy was an absolute beast in this series. He has to be protected as he will be entering the prime of his career and a solid five to eight years left in the tank. Losing Burky will hurt but he can disappear at times. Like against St. Louis. When you have as much talent as the Avs have – – there are going to be tough decisions.

Last edited 3 months ago by ricoflashback
ricoflashback

Why not expose Kadri? Also – – protect 8 skaters overall. Keep the core “D” intact – – Toews, Makar, Girard & Graves. If the Avs can somehow keep Brandon Saad – – that would be huge, IMHO.

Nice article by Mike Chambers of the Denver Post:

https://www.denverpost.com/2021/05/02/avalanche-expansion-draft-seattle-kraken/

hockeyhacker5

I think Joe should offer Seattle a 1st round draft pick to take Kadri. The Avs would save a bunch of cap space (making it easier to sign Makar) and Newhook can step in to the 2C spot next season. He already has more goals than Kadri this post-season. I’d even throw in Shane Bowers if that’s what it took. Who knows? Maybe Makar and Saad would both take a home-team discount.

JD16

I wouldn’t pay someone to take him. You could trade him and get something for him. If you’re going to pay Seattle to take anyone it should be Compher. He’s making 3.5m and has been surpassed by Jost and Newhook.

Aaron Hinton

Why so quick to dismiss Kadri? If Avs are indeed going to make a deep run, he’s going to be a vital component.

Matt Briggle

I remember when all that went down with you and the Post. I didn’t know what had happened other than that it was Chambers writing all the Avs articles and I didn’t like it nearly as much. Took me a couple of years before I finally found you again covering the Avs on then BSN, and then you left there and it took another month before I found you here. Your coverage of the Avs has always set the standard and I’m glad everything has worked out for you and I’m loving this site. I would agree with all of… Read more »

Jordan Leonard

You forget we have Byram, too

John Mauss

I agree with Matt on how glad we are to have you, Adrian! I also think he has some good points on the expansion draft. We must allow SEA to take a player with a somewhat hefty cap hit. Also, I hate to say it, but we cannot afford EJ. EJ was my favorite Av for several years, is a great guy, and it is very hard to turn our backs on him but we can’t afford his salary with health a question and his age as well. Also, remember we have to sign Toews and that really makes a… Read more »

dp10

O’Reilly has always been a bit of an enigma to the Avs (as have been the other two members of the ‘09 draft class). I am a bit surprised that O’Reilly has never really been able to show much sympathy for the organization that drafted him. I get that he (rightly) felt undervalued with the Avs, but his statement certainly felt a bit foolish, not to say indicative of the fact that he has very little love for the Avs organization. Also, listening to the players after the game, this team seems far more determined and resolved than last year.… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by dp10
Matt Briggle

I would agree with your assessment of the team’s resolve this year over previous years. They have learned over the past 4 years and I think they’re going into things with a very realistic outlook. The one thing that I hope they have learned over the last few years starting with that 48 point season is this – I hope they hate to lose more than they like to win. It’s that attitude that is going to get them the Cup. I know they’re a close group and they like to have fun, but they have to know that the… Read more »

dp10

I can’t remember what he said or if it was actually him, but I recall last year (after the Arizona series) Zadorov talking about the playoffs and the Cup as if the Dallas Stars were just a minor obstacle. That’s just not what they sound like today.

Matt Briggle

I got that feeling too that they might just have been a bit too full of themselves last playoffs. I do not get that vibe at all this year – these boys are on a mission and I do not see them accepting any type of failure. Doesn’t matter who they send out to the podium, they are all singing from the same proverbial hymnal.

Jordan Leonard

Would be far more comfortable with JJ behind Gru for the rest of then play offs than Dubnyk. JJ has been the better guy since they both came here, just better reflexes and more importantly doesn’t bring the dirty BS Dubnyk brings. Also, when you have Toews, Makar, and Girard to protect, Graves is the odd man out.

Karl Keen

A CO- TB cup could go either way but agree with Dater that Vegas poses the biggest challenge for us. We need MN to win a couple and put a little more wear and tear on them

Joel Stefaniak

I was waiting for the “roll over and die” game to let St. Louis back in the series and didn’t see it. I am convinced this team is finally of a different mindset. Try not to take off any nights and play a complete game. I only see them getting better and better as the playoffs go on. So stoked!

Jared Moss

Avs looking good, but we need minny to take a couple games and wear out Vegas while Avs rest!!

Jared Moss

I also said this last post if your gonna only play timmins 9mins, why not but a big body in like Middleton’s to do some checking which timmins doesnt do

April Angel

Another avid reader who didn’t know your history, Adrian. Much to be said for digging out of that and making your own run here.
That being said, (a day late finding this article), what are your thoughts on the Wild/Knights series now that the Wild brought it back 3-2?

Arnie

Didn’t know you been through what you have Dater, sorry for that. Love reading your stuff, think you like the other teams sometimes too much…like Vegas, but you know your shit.

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