Take-no-prisoners Denver Post scribe Adrian Dater is none too impressed with the Colorado Avalanche after the team saw its playoff hopes fall off a cliff in less than a week.
The Avs got smoked, 5-1, last night in San Jose – a defeat that came two days after blowing a 2-0 lead and losing in overtime to the Canucks.
You just can’t lose 2-0 leads late in the second period on home ice in a really big game and call yourself a playoff-worthy team.
And you also can’t afford getting terrible performances from your top paid players, like they got tonight from players such as Paul Stastny and Matt Duchene and David Jones and Jan Hejda and, yes, Milan Hejduk. Sad to say, but this looks like the end of the line for the classy Avs captain. He became non-existent production-wise in the second half, the game starting to look just one step too fast for him suddenly at age 36.
Dater went on to call Stastny’s performance against the Sharks “particularly odious” and his big contract “the most worrisome thing about the Avs going forward.”
Now, it should be noted that Colorado is the youngest team in the NHL and has the second lowest payroll, so there’s no real shame in barely missing the playoffs.
However, Dater might have a point about Stastny. The Avs have two other talented, young centers in 21-year-olds Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly. Perhaps Stastny’s $6.6 million cap hit could be put to better use.
Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.
Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.
With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:
Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.
Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.
Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.
The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?