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Avalanche Game 32 Plus/Minus: About Those Toews Comments…



Avalanche Blackhawks

As with every game, you take the good with the bad, so time to take a look at the pluses and the minuses in the game against the Blackhawks for the Colorado Avalanche.

+/- The Devon Toews Comments

If anyone has not heard the comments by Devon Toews, here you go…

So I have this as both a plus and a minus.

For whatever reason, a lot of people don’t think these guys care. They clearly do, or else it wouldn’t be bothering a guy like Toews this much. That’s where the plus comes from. Toews is one of the leaders in that locker room, and he’s earned the right to speak up when things aren’t going well. Nothing that he said was untrue, and I also believe that what he’s saying publicly, he’s also said privately, so I don’t think this is a big bombshell or anything.

Why the minus? Because this isn’t the first time I’ve heard something like this said publicly this season, and that makes you think. The whole “people think they’re playing well, but they’re not” part. When he talks about the lack of “self awareness,” I just keep coming back to how the team looks like they have very little chemistry on the ice. I touched on it over a month ago, and it doesn’t look better now. We’re not 10 games into the season anymore. The halfway point is closing in, and the team still has quite a few issues. If chemistry is still an issue at this point, can it even be fixed?

The Avalanche have now made the news a few times recently with some public outbursts from players. I’m not sure that’s the best way to go about things, but they’re keeping it interesting, that’s for sure. Gabriel Landeskog’s absence becomes more obvious with each passing day.

– Playing Down To The Competition

It’s not like the Avalanche are 100% healthy, but neither are the Blackhawks. And when you look at the talent on both rosters, the Avalanche easily have the advantage. That’s what makes this game so frustrating.

It’s the NHL, and anything can happen on any given night, but really? Petr Mrazek played really well in net for the Blackhawks, and you have to tip your hat to the goalie sometimes, but Colorado had this game. The shots were 11-2 in the first period, and next thing you knew, Chicago had caught up to the Avalanche in the second period. They took their foot off the gas. There is no consistency with this team from shift-to-shift, period-to-period, and that’s one big reason for the frustration.

It’s been a while since they beat a playoff team, and they’ve also lost to some sub-par squads since then.

– Second Period

I’m running out of things to say about second periods here, because this is getting absurd. The second period starts, and they look like a completely new team. Not in a good way, either. The mistakes double, and we’re not talking small mistakes, either. These are big mistakes and they’re happening consistently. Hey, I guess they’re consistent with one thing.

Somehow, no pucks went in the back of the net in the second period, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

– The Big Mistakes

This team doesn’t just make small mistakes. They love the big ones. Why is Bowen Byram trying to skate through Connor Bedard in the middle of the defensive zone? How did two defensemen end up on the same side of the ice, leaving Jonathan Drouin to defend a two-on-one? How do players collide with each other in the neutral zone, giving Connor Bedard a clear breakaway? In what universe should Tyler Johnson find himself all alone in front of the net on a three-on-two in the third?

It doesn’t matter if you give up just 22 shots if the chances you’re giving up are great ones.

About those 22 shots…

– Alexandar Georgiev

Georgiev made some nice saves in the second period, including the breakaway stop on Bedard, but we’re sitting here after the game and it’s another night where the goalie at the other end of the rink outplays him. It’s also another night where his save percentage ends up well below .900. That gives him more starts this year with a save percentage below .900 than above it. Hard to win with numbers like that. The defense in front of him could certainly stand to be better (a lot better), but at some point, you need some saves.

+ The Powerplay

You get two powerplay goals in the first period, and you should be feeling pretty good about yourself. The powerplay looked solid, and even on their opportunity in the second period, they had good looks. Unfortunately, the powerplay is where most of their best chances came from.

– The Reffing

The scrum at the end of the game, I really don’t know how they decided that Ryan Johansen was worthy of the only penalty. It didn’t even look like that bad of a scrum. Just let it go, don’t call anything, and move on.

But the rest of the night was not pretty, and I think it went both ways. Connor Murphy wasn’t happy with the interference call he got in the second, and I actually don’t blame him. Miles Wood REALLY did not like the holding the stick penalty, and he let the refs know about it when he got out of the box. I don’t know what he said to essentially get booted from the game, but I get why he was upset. At that point, you probably need to be more disciplined and bite your tongue, though.

– The 2C Spot

Ross Colton had a tough night defensively, and didn’t do a ton offensively. Ryan Johansen was actually used a fair bit, as he finished with the fourth most ice-time among all the forwards. He finished the night with zero shot attempts.

Who the team decides is the 2C on a nightly basis changes, but the reality is they don’t have one. And some nights, it’s a lot more obvious than others. This was one of those nights.

– The Road Record

The Avalanche team that broke the NHL record for longest road winning streak seems like a distant memory. Playing on the road used to be a strength of the team, and now, they look very beatable away from home. After breaking that record, they’ve gone 3-7-2 on the road. That’s bottom of the barrel stuff.

– The On Ice Play Of Byram And Toews

With no Cale Makar, they just need to be better. End of story.

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