Pop Quiz #2

Books closed, pencils ready….Fact: The Avalanche are playing .500 hockey, despite their much-touted “firepower”.

Fact: The Sakic-Kariya-Selanne line has been virtually invisible since game #1, which was against Chicago, and therefore doesn’t really count.

Fact: The Forsberg-Tanguay-Hejduk line has 23 points more than they did at this juncture of the season last year.

Fact: Phillipe Sauve has a 4.00 goals-against average in 2 games.

Fact: There are no less than 8 injuries on the Colorado roster right now.

So, what conclusion can we draw from these inferences? Feel free to choose more than one.

A.) Offensive-oriented “80’s-style” hockey does not work in the current NHL climate.

B.) Injuries to key 3rd and 4th line players have adversely impacted the Avs’ game.

C.) Phillipe Sauve isn’t ready for “the big time”.

D.) Kariya and Selanne are not the “impact players” many people thought they would be.

E.) The Avs will go nowhere without an “established” goalie, and/or a quality defenseman.

F.) There’s nothing to worry about. This is a veteran team that knows Cups are not won or lost in Oct./Nov. They will turn up the heat when they have to.

My personal opinion? It’s definitely not the #1 goaltender’s fault, at least not yet. Aebischer has been more consistent (and solid) than St. Patrick was at this point last season. Sauve, however, gets rattled too easy, which leads to sieve-like qualities. It’s not a #1 goalie they need – it’s a #2.

On the offensive side – talk about schizophrenic. It’s either five or six goals, or one. Feast or famine. There are two reasons for this that I can see:

1.) Stop already with the cute drop passes, rink-wides, etc., especially since they can be tipped straight up the middle when your defense is pinching down. Shoot the $%#%$#@ puck, and drive to the net!

2.) The 3rd and 4th lines have to contribute offensively. Period.

Any and all defensive troubles can be more or less directly attributed to the offensive habit of trying to “thread the needle” and make the “perfect” pass instead of the safe (and smart) one.

I’m out like Johnny Knoxville in a game of “Nutball”.