DG's Quick Hits- December 15, 2002

What happened to Colorado?

The luckless Rangers

On the radar screen: Barry Trotz, Eddie and Stanley, Mike Knuble, foreshadower?, ESPN and their stats, the Flyers and a question about Ted NolanWHAT HAPPENED TO COLORADO?

Featuring the likes of Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Patrick Roy, Adam Foote and Rob Blake along with a talented assortment of youngsters, the Colorado Avalanche should be the type of team that would scare off just about anyone. Yet, as of today, the Avs sit at an uninspiring 9-8-8-4, blowing leads they should be keeping and losing games they should be winning. It’s all puzzling, since there’s nothing suggesting that the Avs would stink this bad; but they do.

Four seasons ago, the Avs were caught in a similar slide, but back then everyone had the absence of Forsberg to blame. Now, they don’t. So what’s missing? As the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox wrote today, it’s Chris Drury and his penchant for scoring clutch goals- and, considering Colorado’s 1-4-8 record in overtime this season, he’s right. Of course, if Roy, who’s 7-6-8 record and 2.63 are distinctly “normal” and Alex Tanguay, among others, picked up their play, the Avs wouldn’t have to worry so much about a slump, do they?

THE LUCKLESS RANGERS

Of course, what would a good Quick Hit be without another New York Ranger topic? The more and more the season progresses the more and more I can never understand how in the world they fail. It’s so bad, now, that even their luck is with them: first Mike Richter goes down. Then Mark Messier; and now it’s “The Russian Rocket”, Pavel Bure himself. That Bure injured his knee shouldn’t be a surprise- I don’t think there’s been a year that’s gone by without Bure injuring his knees- but, considering that the Rangers have lost pretty much all else- including hope some would argue- losing Bure just may be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

It shouldn’t be this way, but for the Rangers, they just keep coming up with new reasons to lose. Perhaps it’s time to revist the whole Glen Sather issue, since, in the whole time “Slats” has been here, he’s done nothing but create a team great in concept but awful in practice. Signing Bobby Holik to a $9 million a year contract wreaked of ludicrousness, but bypassing Byron Dafoe, when all he required was the Rangers’ pocket change, will probably rank as Slats’ worst move ever. Sure, Mike Dunham may replace Richter, but, considering Dunham’s track record as a goalie, that’s not going to happen. Simply put, if the Rangers knew what they were doing, Dafoe would be a Ranger and not an Atlanta Thrasher. However, since the Rangers didn’t see a $9 million price tag affixed to him, they decided to pass him up. Perhaps if they stopped thinking about expensive toys the Rangers might actually win a game, but for now, they’ll just be the National Hockey League’s richest failure.

ON THE RADAR SCREEN

Nashville Predator coach Barry Trotz after Andreas Johansson, the Preds’ leading scorer, was knocked out of a game a few weeks ago: “I didn’t get the memo between periods that said the rules had changed.”…Eddie Belfour has officially made it as a Toronto Maple Leaf. Still doesn’t mean Stanley will too…One-hit wonders, hockey-style: the New York Islanders. It was fun at the top now wasn’t it?…Cox several weeks ago wondered what the NHL would be like in January when “hot starts by Tampa Bay and Minnesota would be a distant memory”. I don’t know about you, but I think those two might be for real now, as odd as that sounds…Mike Knuble, after his Boston Bruins dropped a 4-2 decision to the Montreal Canadiens on December 10 (not unlike last spring): “maybe we’re coming back down to reality”. Since, the Bruins, who were 8-2 before the game, have lost two straight (at home to Ottawa and again at Montreal), adding to a three-game losing streak. Fortunately for them, there’s always a Buffalo Sabres to correct their situation…Not to leave out the “third” New York team, the New Jersey Devils’ leading scorer is Scott Gomez. Really. Is it safe to assume he’s back?…ESPN may need to replace the people accumulating their stats. They list the Avs as only having two players- Gred DeVries and Steve Brule, and the Vancouver Canucks with four. Surely both are not missing THAT much depth…Burning question: will the Philadelphia Flyers finally turn their great regular season into playoff success? Or will they do “better” and manage all but a goal this time around? We’re waiting for your answer, Bobby, but I’m not holding my breath this time around…Finally: second burning question: if Ted Nolan is so good as a coach, why is everyone passing up on him? Just something to ponder.

-DG


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