Sunday, March 6, 2011

All Things Avs blog: Avs lose moral victory in moral shootout

This blog entry contains some comments on the Avs' 2-1 shootout loss to the Sharks, one of the hottest teams in the league.

Dater opens by griping about his hotel not having wireless internet access. When AD writes about something personal in his blog, you're likely to get one of two extremes: griping, or maudlin. Here, we get gripey... and if I'm given the choice, I guess that's the lesser of two evils. While I don't think it's alarm-bell emergency that there are hotels out there without wifi -- even in Silicon Valley -- I do think it odd that the Post would put him up somewhere without it. On the other hand, the hotel does have internet access, and Dater does have a laptop... so why not simply plug his phone into his laptop with a cable and go that route? Oh, I know... because that wouldn't give him anything to complain about.

As he did in his real-news article, Dater calls Joe Thornton's game-tying goal a "lucky tip." As I explained in my comments for that article, when a beer-league guy tips one in like that, we can call it luck, but when a player of Joe Thornton's calibre does it, it's not luck. Describing it subjectively is not only an example of his bias as a reporter/fan, but it also it robs Thornton of the credit he deserves for a nice, clutch goal.

Dater then moves on to write about Elliot for a moment. As he said, Elliot looked very good in this game... thanks, in no small part, to the Avs looking good defensively (or, if you want to be more pessimistic, the Sharks looking a bit flat). As you knew he would, however, Dater manages to get a shot in at Budaj, despite the fact that he didn't appear in this game at all:

 I liked how fundamentally sound he looked. He doesn’t flop all over the place like Peter Budaj does, and was good and square to the puck. 

Adrian Dater (l), Peter Budaj
As one commenter put it, "That wasn't passive-aggressive at all, was it?" Dater's insistence that he does not have a bias against Budaj gets more and more comical with each passing day, because each day contains comments like this.

Dater's assessment of Budaj's play isn't even accurate. Budaj is anything but a "flopper." He is, ironically, exactly what Dater claims to admire in a goalie... fundamentally sound and square to the puck. Budaj's problem is that he's not a super-quick, reaction goalie... he relies on that positioning, but the team in front of him doesn't cover anybody, making it very difficult to anticipate the next shot.  Budaj also still has the occasional night where he kicks more rebounds right out to opposing shooters than you'd like to see... but again, a lot of that could be remediated if there was an Avs player covering said shooter, which there hardly ever is. In extra bonus irony, if Budaj were a "flopper," he'd probably look a bit better on this particular team... but Dater doesn't get that, because he doesn't really understand the position.

Dater then moves on to compliment Johnson's game, but not without throwing in another gripe about the trade that brought him here. He then compliments a guy he's had nothing good to say about this season, Matt Hunwick. It's good to see Dater finally come around to what savvy Avs fans have known for a while, namely, that Hunwick has been playing pretty good hockey over the last couple months (relatively speaking, of course). Yes, he had trouble adjusting to the Avs defensive "system" (such as it is) his first dozen games or so, but he's been a good player since then... but that hasn't stopped Dater (among others) from continuing to harp on him unfairly. Better late than never, AD.

Dater finishes with some random comments about Stoa, Jones, and the goaltending situation for next year, suggesting the Avs take a run at Vokoun. I think that's a terrible idea... while I believe that Vokoun is one of the NHL's elite goalies, he is a terrible fit for this Avalanche team. He is a very, very good positional goalie... but this defensive team requires a goalie to be in two or three positions at once (see above comments on Budaj). Voukoun would definitely be an upgrade, no doubt about it... but to assume that goaltending is what needs fixing on this team is to not understand this team.

Dater does indicate in his closing sentence that Voukoun will likely have many offers from better teams than the Avs, and why would he come here? That is a great question... I don't think he will, and neither does AD, apparently.

A decent blog entry tainted by some lack of objectivity on Thornton's goal and yet another example of Dater's inability to treat Budaj fairly, or even to just leave him alone when he had nothing to do with the game in question.


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