Sunday, February 10, 2013

Avs Mailbag

Hello! Today we take a look at an Avs Mailbag from last week.

Too early to press panic button?

In this installment of the Mailbag, Adrian Dater tackles five questions from readers. The first question asks whether, in light of the poor power play, PK, and road performances by the Avs so far, an early first-round draft pick is all that Avs fans have to look forward to this season. Dater answers by saying that the presumed #1 pick is Seth Jones (son of one-time Denver Nugget Popeye Jones... cool little trivia tidbit there) it's probably too early to start thinking about draft picks, but that "in a short season, the panic button will get pushed a lot earlier than usual."

I suppose this is a good enough answer, but it's worth nothing that at the time AD wrote this, the Avs were 2-4. Three games earlier, they had been 2-1, and two games later they would be 4-4. I would have liked to have seen an answer that a bit more emphatically points out the mercurial nature of the start of any season, particularly one that started as unusually as this NHL season has, before even humoring the "panic button" sort of reader.

The next question asks why O'Reilly and his agent feel they deserve the money he's reportedly holding out for. The questioner indicates he's "done with O'Reilly and hopes he is traded."

Dater responds by dredging up all the trades and personnel moves he still thinks the Avs made mistakes on, apparently in an attempt to prove that when the Avs trade players, they universally fail. To be honest, they haven't been all that hot when they don't trade players, either, but oh well:

Well, OK then. Trade him away. Hope you get more for him than you got for Craig Anderson and Kevin Shattenkirk and Chris Stewart and others. And I hope by just dismissing O'Reilly you don't have the regret you had when just casting aside Tomas Fleischmann and Peter Mueller and Brian Elliott and Matt Hendricks and Ian Laperriere and ... get the point?

Frankly, no I don't, because his "point" is bullshit. Despite the fact that only one of the examples he offers of bad Avs moves is actually an example of a bad Avs move (I do give partial credit for blaming the Avs for not holding onto Brian Elliot... or for not instead trading Anderson for a player they would hold on to), Dater keeps bringing these up time and time again in his attempt to rile up his little mob of front-office-hating zombies. Has there ever been a team that only trades away crap players and only gets studs in return? Dater never offers any context for these moves he's deemed failures, and in that way he does a disservice to the Avalanche, the players involved, his reader, and to logical adult thought.

Dater keeps straddling the fence on O'Reilly. He says the Avs offers have been fair, but then criticizes them for not upping their already-fair offer. He writes that trading O'Reilly would be a "gigantic mistake," but then closes by saying that the way things are, the team "will have to trade him." Make up your mind, man. If you don't have an answer, why bother including the question?

The next question deals with a couple popular whipping boys, David Jones and Paul Stastsny. Dan of Colorado Springs says that these two have been "sleepwalking," and throws in a criticism of Sacco's dump and chase strategy.

Dater starts by smartly deflecting some of the blame from the dump & chase, writing that it
"can be very effective, provided you have a good hard forechecking scheme and get control down low." He goes on to write that Stastny is in a continuing "decline as a player," but does not really explore why this may be. He adds that Jones hasn't had scoring chances but has also been "bad in his own end." In his assessment of Jones, I think he's being kind... pick an end, and Jones has been bad in it. He's a streaky player who contributes next to nothing when he's not scoring.

While I am typically a Stastny defender in that his decline in scoring (due in no small part to his poorly-matched and previously-mentioned streaky linemates) often overshadows the other, less-flashy things that Stastny brings to the table every night. However, with both these high-paid guys, it's tough to defend their play when they so rarely contribute on the scoresheet. Overall a solid answer.

The penultimate question deals with hits to the head, asking why they are not an in-game penalty. Dater misses the obvious answer to this question, which is that both a minor penalty and a match penalty may be assessed in-game for hits to the head. When a person asks a question about the rules, I think the least Dater can do is to actually answer the question by explaining the rule, before going off on his tangent.

That tangent, not surprisingly, is once again the hit by Brad Stuart in which Landeskog was injured. Dater does explain that he spoke to "the NHL" about that particular hit, and that it was deemed not illegal because although there was contact to the head, it was a full body check that did not target the head, and the rule says that both principal and targeted contact to the head are required to make it an illegal hit. In this part of the answer, Dater is factual and actually comes close to offering a helpful answer to the question.

However, Dater goes on to say that the thing he doesn't like about the hit is that "Stuart left his feet to deliver it," challenging anybody who disagrees to "get their eyes checked." Dater's been banging this drum since the hit happened, and all it does is erode what little credibility he has away from that mob of Dater zombies, because Stuart did not leave his feet to make the hit. It was not charging in any way, shape, or form... this is one of those things that Dater seems to think if he says it enough times, it will be true. Video doesn't lie, though... which means Dater continues to. His readers deserve better.

The final question is about the Edmonton Oilers' announcers description of the Avs as "bottom feeders of the league" who "lack skill, particularly on defense." The questioner asks if Dater thinks this description is accurate.

Dater, however, dodges the question and instead just gets a dis in on the Oilers. If the answers in this mailbag had been of higher quality, closing with a little attempted humor wouldn't be so bad. This answer, though, just fits in with the rest of the snooty, uninformed, half-ass answers he provides, and in that light this answer only seems juvenile and unnecessary.

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