“You can’t be serious right now.”
That was what the bride said to me Friday night at a wedding in central Virginia. Did she really not expect me to watch the Avalanche/Devils game on my phone during the reception? Let’s be honest: I was very much the plus-one at the wedding of my wife’s childhood best friend. And when your wife is a bridesmaid and you don’t know anyone else at the wedding… you’re bored a lot of the time.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the bride. She is a great friend to my wife. I met the groom two days before the wedding and he seems like a great fit for her.
But I didn’t know anyone and I’m too old to be making new friends at this point (that’s what I think at least). So, thanks to the unbelievable luck of great cell service in the remote areas of Virginia, I was able to watch the Avalanche game on my phone, propped up against the vase holding my wife’s bouquet.
Rookie move by me not to have my head on a swivel for the bride’s approach, but she walked up on me during a power play and I was locked in. That was what garnered that response.
The end result of Friday’s game also had me saying the same thing, too.
Avalanche at Devils | L, 1-0
Outside of the Bruins/Avalanche games in Boston, there has been no other match-up I’ve been to more than Colorado in New Jersey. I went a few times in college, once during the 2001-02 season and again a few years back. The old Meadowlands/Continental Airlines Arena/Izod Center/dumpster fire was always the easiest and cheapest of the three Metro-Area rinks to get to. So that was why for many years when I could afford to make it to a pair of games in a season, that was the one I went to.
Interestingly enough, when planning a trip to Denver for this season, that was the game we decided to go to. Not because I love this match-up, but because 1) it’s during one of my school vacation weeks and 2) we’re going to see Bruce Springsteen the following night at Ball Arena as well.
I just can’t get enough of the Devils… and the guy from New Jersey.
Look, from what I saw of this game without sound, it seemed like a snoozefest. The offense couldn’t find its way and the defense had one hiccup that cost them. Nothing to worry about. There are going to be games like this throughout the season.
I feel for Pavel Francouz. He was so important last year during the Cup run and he’s had a brutal start to this season. Franky finally has a good game and they lose 1-0. Like Jacob de Grom, he just couldn’t get the run support in the shadow of Gotham City.
The one interesting part of the evening (for me anyway) was when the Devils scored their “first” goal. In real time, I called offside (no big deal). The review carried over into the father of the bride’s speech and the referee’s declaration of no-goal coincided almost perfectly with the conclusion of said speech. My audible cheer fit in perfectly with all the other guests clapping and whistling. Everyone must have believed I really thought it was the best wedding toast of all time with my reaction.
Avalanche at Islanders | L, 5-4
I actually saw/felt this coming. If you remember last year’s game on Long Island, there was a similar feel to it… but with a different outcome.
Last year: after falling behind 1-0 early, the Avalanche ripped off five straight before allowing the final three goals late to the Islanders, hanging on, 5-4.
This year: score three straight, allow five, score late to make it 5-4.
I know that’s not scientific, but sometimes, even as a fan hundreds of miles away, you get a feeling of impending doom. When New York scored the first one, I thought, “I hope they don’t get another one.” The Parise goal to start the second made me feel a bit uneasy. But those two quick goals in 27 seconds were crushing. Not just because they tied the game and then gave the home team the lead, but because of what it appeared to do to the mentality of the Avalanche after the goal.
Maybe not as bad as we saw from the Lightning after every goal in the Final, but to see Cale Makar frustrated enough to protest the second goal to the referees was telling as to where they were at that point: flustered.
Now, did Makar have a point? Probably. That play would be called a trip a majority of the time, but at that moment it wasn’t. Tough break. They battled back with the Alex Newhook goal late to make it a lot closer at the end, but the empty netter that capped the Isles’ five-goal run was the straw that broke the champs’ back that night.
We won the Stanley Cup last season. The team set franchise records all over the place. The captain and his calming leadership is out and not on the road trip. We’ve already had a string of minor injuries that have caused top-level players in our lineup to miss games.
And we’re still 4-4-1.
Through nine games last season, the team was 4-4-1… and in the midst of a back-to-back with the Blue Jackets. And we all know how that season turned out. I’m not saying everything is going to be the same, but I think it’s too early to show panic. That’s not what this team does and I think a European road trip could be just what this team needs to come together and find the identity needed to establish who the 2022-23 Colorado Avalanche are.
Also, Denver teams have a solid track record of playing games in Europe lately… so Avs Country: Let’s Ride!
Ellie Photo of the Week
Will you look at how majestic this dog is?! (She didn’t help me rake at all… but left a present for me to find in the pile)