BOSTON – It’s hockey, and rough stuff happens in the blink of an eye and everything isn’t all premeditated 99% of the time. But if the Colorado Avalanche have the same “We’re not going to take any $$%^” mentality that very much helped win them a Stanley Cup last season, they need to respond to either Charlie McAvoy directly in a rematch with the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night in Denver, or respond to a top player of the Bruins for what McAvoy did to Artturi Lehkonen tonight at TD Garden.
McAvoy slammed Lehkonen to the ice in the first period tonight, causing an injury that forced him from the game. It might be a concussion.
Here’s the play:
Yeah. This is dangerous. And unnecessary pic.twitter.com/ezC8gsr46v
— Kyle Keefe (@kylekeefetv) December 4, 2022
I get what McAvoy was doing here. He was just trying to get Lehkonen off the play, in a dangerous scoring situation. He wrestled him to the ground, and things happen out there. It wasn’t like some outrageous thing really.
Doesn’t matter. The Avalanche have to respond to this when they play the Bruins Wednesday night. They have to make him pay for it. Period. Or, they need to make another top Bruins pay for it. Period.
Otherwise, they’ll quickly gain the reputation around the league – which dogged them for the few years they were contenders, but never could quite win the Cup – that they can be physically bullied again. I don’t care what anyone says on this subject; If you don’t stand up for yourself physically, as a team in the game of hockey, you lose.
Look, I’m not calling for some kind of Todd Bertuzzi-Steve Moore thing here, OK? All I’m saying is: the Avalanche have to respond when their top guys are injured from things like this. You can’t just see one of your top guys get pile-driven into the ice and injured – possibly seriously – and let it go.
Sure, winning on the scoreboard is a fine response and maybe that will happen Wednesday. But I truly believe that a big reason why the Avalanche won the Cup again finally is because opponents knew they’d pay a serious price if they did anthing remotely dirty against their top players. Kurtis MacDermid’s presence absolutely had a lot to do with that. He’s still injured and unable to play – not because of a dirty play against him, mind you.
But, other guys stepped up physically last year, too. Tonight in Boston, the Avalanche played a meek game, even after Lehkonen was hurt. Nobody seemed to get too upset by what happened.
That’s a problem.
Right now, half the team or so is made up of guys from the minors or from the waiver wire who don’t have the same chemistry with the regulars as the group that won the Cup. They are just trying to survive at the NHL level and probably have their minds full of too much other stuff to really feel the anger that comes from seeing a veteran hurt like that. Last year’s team was all for one, one for all. Right now, this team is a few remaining core guys and a bunch of fill-ins who have little to no connection from the group of last year.
Anyway, the Avalanche not only were embarrassed on the ice tonight, but lost a really good player because of a WWE move from a Boston defenseman. And, it must be addressed in the next meeting.
LINKS FROM AROUND THE LEAGUE
- Jordan Binnington was totally called out by his coach tonight, after a blowout Blues loss in Pittsburgh. All questions asked by Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, my buddy from covering all of the 2020 bubble playoffs in Edmonton. (Only three media outlets from the United States actually spent the money and time to cover those Western Conference playoffs: Colorado Hockey Now, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Star-Tribune from Minnesota). Enjoy:
Craig Berube says he wasn't happy with Jordan Binnington showing his frustration and getting a 10-minute misconduct for inciting: "It's got to stop. That doesn't help anything. … Just play goal, stop the puck." #stlblues pic.twitter.com/2LThtzXrJI
— Bally Sports Midwest (@BallySportsMW) December 4, 2022
- I actually like guys like Binnington. I like rebels, S-disturbers, hotheads, sore losers. Do they remind me of me? Maybe. The thing about Binner is: he’s just a really intense competitor. He does not taking losing well. I can respect that. But yeah, if you don’t keep winning all the while doing stuff like this, you’re going to get what you get, especially on social media. And, now, from the coach.
- I went into Ray Bourque’s restaurant in the North End of Boston after the game tonight, Tresca. Just had a quick refreshment and that was it. Ray wasn’t there, but I am glad I went in finally, for the first time. It is a really nice restaurant setting inside, right in the heart of the North End. It was after 10 p.m., and the place was still packed with diners. That’s the sign of a restaurant that will last and last.
- Despite having his second stroke as a player in the NHL, Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang seems to be doing well in his recovery (Pittsburgh Hockey Now).
- I miss a lot of my old New England scenery and lifestyle. So, it’s been a great last few days being back here. But, OMG do I not miss Boston when it comes to traffic and BS parking rates. Quick story: Parked in what I thought was a $25 lot next to TD Garden for the skate this morning, after driving in from New Hampshire. I mean, the damn sign said “$25, til 6 p.m.” right on it. When I got to the gate to insert my ticket and get out, after the skate? $48.75. No reason given, no attendant to talk to, nothing. Just pay $48.75 or else the gate won’t lift and you’ll never get out. Let me say this for all the world to hear: BOSTON SUCKS, when it comes to all things parking. A bunch of thieves. It’s a HORRIBLE city in that regard. Thank the LORD ABOVE I don’t live anywhere near there anymore, when you come right down to it. Boston parking and traffic management: corrupt, rotten beings. $48.75 for two hours of parking. Welcome to Boston! Good riddance. You just have to take your loss and be thankful you got to leave whenever you visit the city of Boston – when it comes to pahkin’ the cah. Oh, and the name of the corrupt, thievery parking company: ProPark. Don’t let the young, smiling faces in the link fool you. It’s a den of thieves.
- My buddy Phil from Boston drove me to the game and picked me up afterward (I stayed at the Red Roof Inn in Saugus). So, I guess he saved me three thousand dollars or so for what it would have cost to park during the actual game. Despite me having to listen to Phil literally sing every lyric from songs blaring from the car stereo of his favorite singer, Bryan Adams, I remain thankful for the lifts.
- Mitch Marner has a 19-game point streak (NHL.com)
- Patrick Kane got his 1,200th point tonight in a Blackhawks road win over the Rangers (NHL.com)
- One of John Tortorella’s many teams is losing again, which always means one thing: it’s the media’s stupid questions (Philly Hockey Now)
- We’ll see Torts on Monday in Philly. Echoing my thoughts on Binnington: I like Torts. He’s never dull as a coach. I like sore losers. If I was a beat writer covering one of his teams though? Oh yeah, I would have shouted back at him at some point, with as much likewise bitter sarcasm as I could muster, which is considerable. I’m surprised the media is so meek around him. Larry Brooks is really the only guy who’s ever stood up to him.
- That’s why Larry Brooks is a Hall of Famer in the media business.
- I’ll still never forget Torts use profane words in a press conference after a Lightning loss to the Avalanche way back when, about his goalie, John Grahame. I was shocked. Guess I shouldn’t have been.