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Colorado Avalanche

Avs win and keep streak alive, but the bigger win was response to MacKinnon injury



David Zalubowski/AP

Almost all of this column was written when the Boston Bruins had a 3-1 lead late in the game. But I’m keeping it untouched- as the larger points remain. I DaterJinxed my own column. You’re welcome.

I don’t care if the replays showed that, yes, technically, the Taylor Hall hit on Nathan MacKinnon wasn’t as dirty as it first appeared. I don’t care that, yes, the main reason MacKinnon almost certainly suffered a broken nose and had his blood spilled all over the Ball Arena ice is because Hall hit MacKinnon’s stick into his face.

I saw a guy cutting across the ice, going out of his way, in an attempt to hit the Avalanche’s best player from the side. I saw the Avalanche’s best player go down in a heap, injured, blood everywhere.

I don’t care that the Avs and their 16-game home winning streak came to an end in a loss to the Bruins. What I wanted to see, and what I did see, was an Avs team that stood up for MacKinnon and fought back, literally, against the Bruins. I think that will make them a closer team in the long run, and that’s the big positive to take from this game.

The Avs had to respond to that, and they did. OK, so the Bruins might have won a hockey game in January because of some of that response. Big deal. The Avs are still a better team than the Bruins, and they gained something more valuable tonight than two points in the middle of the season. They gained, I’ll be willing to bet, the more valuable commodity of closer camaraderie as a group. I think this has been something the Avs lacked too much in the last few years. The Avs always talked about sticking up for each other, but too often seemed to back down from opposing physical intimidation. This team doesn’t take as much (bleep) as it used to.

A lot of people, especially in the media today, seem to want hockey to turn into a pacifistic game, where any kind of fisticuffs are just bad, bad, bad for the game, for society, for all of humanity. I’m not going to get into another tired argument about fighting in hockey. I don’t like staged fighting, never did really, and think it’s a good thing that is mostly all gone from the game. I also agree that fighting is inherently a risky, potentially dangerous thing and I don’t like seeing people get hurt.

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But it’s still a game of fierce emotion, and pride and standing up for the guy next to you. It’s a physical game played by big, strong men on skates going 20-25 MPH and stuff is going to happen. I know, I know, I can see some eyes rolling here over that belief.

Oh, Dater, you’re a hopeless neanderthal, a Don Cherry clone on the keyboard.

If that’s your opinion, that’s fine. We can agree to disagree and still be civil about it. I think the Avs are taking some of the same kinds of steps that the old Detroit Red Wings did starting on…sorry to bring this up Avs fan…March 26, 1997. The Wings were parodied as a skilled but soft team, “pretty not gritty.” That night against the Avs started to change all that.

This obviously wasn’t March 26, 1997, all over again. But, like that night, there was still plenty of blood on the ice. This time, the Avs were the team that got all pissed off and fought back.

It might not have shown up on the scoreboard tonight, but I think the benefits of doing so will show up later in the season.

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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Jim Strohmeier

HELL YEAH!!! This team is for real. Makar getting his (unreal) 17th goal to seal the team’s 17th home win streak, was unbelievable. Those fans were lucky to be at the game and sure got their money’s worth!

Go Avs!


Would love to see the Avs. Vs the penguins in a 7 game series for the cup!!! That would be a very good matchup for fire power? It will be interesting to see how and if Ron Hextall decides to do with the trade deadline coming upon us??? If the penguins could somehow add to their already good defense without losing much now that would be impressive? And it will be very important to the Colorado Avalanche to also add before the trade deadline?


Dater, I like your sentiments but the article reads as if the Avs lost tonight. Bit confusing. Went and checked that I wasn’t hallucinating the W.


Also, nice to see MacDermid put one on the board.


Sorry. Somehow I missed that part.


Or maybe fix it. You know, like professional journalists might


Ah, the old “show the hypothetical that if the opposite happened you would have had an accurate article”. I’m just saying that you don’t have a press deadline to print papers in the morning so you could have changed your article to be more accurate relative to the fact that they did not lose.

More work? Absolutely.
Worth it to get it right? Absolutely.

No offense meant, Dater. Just being honest.

Last edited 3 months ago by joshmishell

Relax Francis.


Classic. But it’s actually “lighten up, Francis”

Christopher Clack

appreciate the jinx. now write another column about how impressive that comeback was.


Lazy to write this like they lost.

Ryan Krueger

Agree 1000%. Even though EJ cost them a couple goals he pounded that little punk who despite the stick hit Mac in the head with his shoulder. The initial 5 minute call was correct.


Considering how the Avs have been treated by the stripes this season, I’m surprised Hall went to the box at all. In fact, they should’ve called Mack for cross-checking <sarcasm>.

Dwayne Hall

I disagree with the idea that had they lost that game it was still a win for their response to the MacKinnon hit. If they don’t come back and end up losing, with a spotlight on EJ’s penalty that essentially set up their go-ahead and insurance goal, then the message sent to the rest of the league could have been bad for the Avalanche. Now you have teams looking at the Avs thinking all they have to do is deliver a big hit on a top player and follow that up with not engaging any Av that tries to make… Read more »


Hall wont live that down around here for some time, but Greenway and Kolsar are the ones who need their faces rearranged.


Boy oh boy, #49 had a really nice view on Boston’s 2nd and 3rd goals. 😑

Go Avs!


Belay that….1st and 3rd Bruins goal.

Bob Neal

Good to hear somebody mention this.

Yan Girard

In a situation of two against one, the responsability of the defenseman is to prevent the pass. Was there a pass? No. In this case, the job of the defenseman is done. Obviously, the responsability of the goalie is to stop the puck. No defenseman in NHL cann’t make more than to prevent the pass in situation of two against one.

Bob Neal

good point.


Nope. That’s for Pee Wee leagues…at this level more can and should be done. What we saw was essentially a breakaway, then, with a free shot from point blank range. A top 4/5 Defenseman will be able to do something that breaks the shooters concentration at the last second. Something…anything. Simple question, would Toews have done better? Makar? Johnson? Johnson? Murray? No need to answer…it’s rhetorical. You will defend him, of course (cousin, I’m guessing? 😀), but staring at 2 goals isn’t a good look in the reg season and will be worse come playoffs. I’m honestly ust glad he… Read more »

Yan Girard

You make me think to our clowns who govern us here in Canada with the COVID. Ask Bednar or any coach in NHL on how play a two against one. Forget Toews, Makar and company. Raymond Bourque, Rob Blake, Scott Niedermayer take care of stopping the pass in the two against one. This is the basis on a two against one and all the people who have already played know this. It’s easy to notice that you aren’t a hockey player and that you didn’t even play Pee wee. I don’t know Girard. This isn’t my friend, my cousin or… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Yan Girard

Personal attacks are unbecoming, Yan.

You have no idea who I am, or how much hockey I’ve played.

Try to be better.

I stand by my comments and reasoning.

Girard is an expendable asset fir this team in its quest to win a Cup.

Go Avs!

Yan Girard

Don’t get me wrong. No personal attacks. There is no shame never to have played hockey. However, fool statements that are the basis of the hockey, it’s not serious of you.


Yan, you are seriously trying to compare little Sammy to:
Ray Bourque,
Rob Blake,
Scott Niedermayer



Now I *know* you’re just being funny!
Love your sense of humor Yan!

Go Avs!

Yan Girard

Sorry, but it was not a comparison. What your name is Raymond Bourque, Girard, Nemeth or Murray, the way to play a two against one remains the same.

Last edited 3 months ago by Yan Girard
Yan Girard

GM must look the big picture. GM must look at short time, medium time and long time. Kadri is about 8 years older than Girard. Suppose that Avs trade Girard. What return can you expect… prospects, picks or medium player? You don’t trade a player who is a bargain for prospects, picks or medium player. You want to save money to sign Kadri for example. You trade Girard for a player of 3 millions to save 2 millions for example. Your player of 3 millions, the chances are excellent that this player is medium. Alright? No guarantee of success with… Read more »


Girard is a smaller version of Tyson Barrie who doesn’t score as much.

He’s making more than Toews for the next 3 years. He makes 2x what big Val makes. Almost 7x what Jack Johnson makes.

He’s not a critical player on this team. He could disappear for 3 months and no one would notice.

Its really that simple.



Go Avs! 😀

Yan Girard

It’s a good starting point. A defenseman that we don’t notice is well-known does his job well.

Yan Girard

Only to add at your point. The last year, Girard was at a pace of 55 points in 82 games. This year, he is at a pace of 50 points in 82 games. Notice that Girard doesn’t play on the first unit power play and doesn’t play on the first pair. Do you know a lot defensemen in NHL who make as many points by not playing on the first unit and the first pair? I think that I know the answer.

Last edited 3 months ago by Yan Girard
Rocky Young

Grrr… they did lose, Avs lost MacKinnon and they were down 3-1 in Second Period. But they battled back. I think it was dirty hit, he didn’t have chance to defend himself, a blindside hit. It’s not fair that someone who’s not looking gets hit and people call it a clean hit. No, Mackinnon is hurt. It’s major penalty and then reduce to minor. They should punched Hall face few times… I’m not to happy, even with the win.


You can still deliver a clean hit on an opposing player when their head is down. This was actually a dangerous pass from Landeskog. McKinnon was in a vulnerable position to collect the puck. We call it a suicide pass.

Cry Babies

What an absolute joke. Maybe Avs players and fans should stick to powderpuff football. MacKinnon was bringing his stick up when that hit happened it was completely inadvertant. Bunch of sissies in Colorado there was nothing dirty that Hall did there.


Your comment is boring.

Chris Krauss

You salty? Maybe take your loser overtime point and your not-quite-finished IPAs and go back to New England.

Bob Neal

AD, good column. I’m in agreement with you about standing up for your players and still am a big Don Cherry fan dating back before he, Rose and Blue judged an “ugly dog” contest at Southglenn Mall and I stood next to Renee Robert and nobody in the crowd had any idea who he was.

Bob Neal

PS TNT’s PC coverage of these games sucks. Why did they even bother to pick up the telecasts?

Ted Grycel

I love this team. In years past, who were really afraid to play the Avalanche. Hit MacKinnon, get him off his game and once you got under the skin of the team half the battle was over. I saw something last night that I have been waiting to see since the last cup team, a team you just really don’t want to play against. They will match you hit for hit, you don’t take liberties against them, and there are not many people in the league that you can send out against MacD. If this team identity continues into the… Read more »


I’m officially ombord the Val Nichushkin bandwagon! He really stood up and showed the way on this come back. Bednar was keeping him in there and he pushed on.


This was a truly wild game to watch. A great matchup between two highly-skilled and physical teams. This is the kind of hockey you expect to see in the playoffs, not in January! About the Hall hit on McKinnon: we all saw the replay. This was a clean shoulder to shoulder, open ice hit on McKinnon. Don’t let your fandom cloud your judgement. Weird shit happens sometimes, like when your own stick strikes you in the face. Of course, we all want McKinnon healthy and back on the ice soon. But wow, Erik Johnson’s 3x cross checking penalty nearly cost… Read more »


Hockey is its own worst enemy. First offenders: referees; they all suck because they cannot show me any consistency in what a high stick is, what a crosscheck is, and so on; they straight out suck, and are the biggest problem in sports currently. Second the “leadership” has always sucked, since the league began. Third, fans support all this trouble. Ice hockey as a sport is the best team game in the world, IF it’s played on a level playing field, with clear rules and strictly enforced rules; eventually you would get the game hockey should be. But when everyone… Read more »

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