I don’t know that you learn anything from a night like this. When the opponent clearly is still stowed away neatly in the overhead against the Hawks, it’s going to be over in a hurry unless the Hawks are also a couple tacos short of a combo plate. Sadly for the Avs, the Hawks most certainly were not.
This game was probably over when it was scheduled and the Avs weren’t allowed to travel until this morning. While I wrote into tonight’s Indian how I thought the union’s call for a three-day Christmas break was harming the league (no exposure at a time when everyone’s sitting around begging for a distraction from their family), I understand wanting Christmas Eve and Christmas day at home with loved ones. I would have thought extending it to Boxing Day would save everyone the hassle of traveling on Christmas night. But to extend a travel ban through the next day? You’re essentially sentencing more than a few teams to be up against it, and Colorado was one of them. I don’t think it’s asking too much for teams to be allowed to fly into town the night of the 26th. It would give them more of a fighting chance.
But sympathy only runs so deep for Colorado, I suppose. I can’t decide if starting Giguere was Patrick Roy’s admission that the legs wouldn’t be there, as the Avs don’t play tomorrow night. Or was it an attempt to get the legs going by not having quite the security blanket behind the skaters (though Giguere’s been pretty good in his own right this year)? I suppose it doesn’t matter.
Anyway, let’s get some bullets out of the way before we get to what you all came for.
The Two Obs
-Luckily for all of us, the Hawks are about as ruthless as it gets, especially when they have a heavy defeat from the team they are playing still ringing in their ears. Toews, Hossa, and Sharp were obviously in no mood of Christmas cheer, and Jan Hejda and Erik Johnson rolling out a red carpet to the net for Sharp certainly helps. Those two Avs d-men were -8 combined.
-Of course, you knew Patrick Kane wasn’t going to let Sharp and Toews have the night to themselves, and he ended up with nine shots. Nine. Also, the Versteeg-Handzus-Kane line had an over 80% Corsi-percentage, which I’m not even sure I’ve seen before. Versteeg is really blossoming on Kane’s opposite wing. While he’ll still have some shifts where he tries to out-Kane Kane, most of the time he’s just getting to areas to be found. Or he’s getting the puck to Kane, which is obviously never a bad idea.
I guess what’s just so wonderful about this team, among many things, is that somewhere down the road Versteeg and Saad could possibly be flipped on lines two and three, and it probably wouldn’t matter a jot.
-On a night where Patrick Sharp pretty heavily demonstrated why he should be on Team Canada (that chasing down of Duchene may have clinched it because who catches Duchene from behind without taking a penalty?), Gabe Landeskog showed everyone why Seabrook probably shouldn’t be.
-Tonight Q decided to match fire with fire and have Toews’s line take Duchene’s. Maybe it wouldn’t have been such an Atomic Drop if the Avs were a little more with it, but you can see what could be done in other occasions. Probably didn’t think Smith and Bollig had the speed to keep up.
-I don’t want to bring everything down, but I want to address something. In tonight’s Indian, on the front page and in the Headley Lamarr section, I made numerous jokes and references to Varlamov and that whole mess. I called him a lot of names. And in the past I’ve dismissed the charges being dropped as no sign of his innocence. And I really shouldn’t. To leap and then stick to a conclusion of him being a demon spawn who should be removed from Earth is really no better than those who immediately shifted the blame to the victim.
These things have a much larger gray area than we want to admit. I wanted to pick up a cause that means a lot to me, and I may have weakened it by inflaming both sides (however small what I say people pay attention to). These cases do end up so hard to prove and get a conviction because of that gray area. Memories of traumatic events are usually hazy. It’s one person’s story against another and little else. It’s usually murky.
Do I think Varlamov is a good person? No, and I won’t ever. You don’t get arrested generally for doing nothing. Do I think something may have happened that night? Yes, I do. But I have no idea what. And to just assume the worst is not right. And to do it to in some way glorify myself as a champion of women’s rights or something (which I have to admit is what is was partially) is even less right. It could just as likely be that the victim exaggerated or even made up facets of this case, which damages those who are victims of even worse abuse as it colors others even more against victims of this horrific crime. Or it could be that Varlamov is the monster I portrayed him as. I don’t know, and I shouldn’t pretend to simply because I want to.
Do wife-beaters get away with it? All the time. And that’s awful. Do sports need to take these more seriously? Of course they do and right now. But that doesn’t make everyone one. And I can be better at picking my fights than I was tonight. That is not to apologize for what McClure or Kills have said here or in the Indian. Their opinion is their opinion and I certainly understand where they’re coming from. I was just there. I just don’t feel right about what I wrote tonight. And for that, I am sorry.
Ok, enough of that.