OK, so I know a lot of you are depressed and desperate right now about the Avalanche. Let’s take a step back for a moment and take a look at the situation:
It’s a tied series, one of three best series and the Avs have two of three at home. No, the Avs haven’t looked competitive against Vegas for most of the past eight periods now, but also – terrible as they are, they were five minutes away from winning Game 3. If the Avs can just find a way to beat it. ‘Getting normal production from a few guys like Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar, this series can quickly come back the other way.
Frankly, I’ve always thought that this core of Avs gamers did best when they were the underdogs, when everyone was scoffing at them – which is now happening among most media experts and gamblers, including those in his. gaming. The best players on this team – and the others on the next level that have been around for a while just haven’t shown great killer instincts. But they generally respond well when everyone else counts them.
So Jared Bednar met the media on Zoom this morning and reiterated many of the things he has said over the past two days, which can be summed up as: “We have to make it harder for them, we have to. we fight harder, we have to be better with the puck on our side ”, and so on. etc.
Bednar said he “is thinking of” playing Bo Byram in Game 5. Reading between the lines, I think the candidate most likely to come out is Conor Timmins. Why am I thinking of Timmins and not Patrik Nemeth, who is currently the butt of Avs fans?
Because Bednar thinks Nemeth is still a good shorthanded asset, which has been good for the most part. Bednar said, however, that he is aware of the length of Byram’s absence (March 25) and the little hockey he has played in the past year and a half. Yes, it is a concern. But one of the things Bednar says is missing right now is the puck’s transition out of the D zone. Byram can be a one-man escape when things are normal for him.
Then again, Bednar also said that the big, heavy Vegas forward setback created problems for the D, that they were “under duress” and that Byram was not a big, heavy guy. It’s a calculated risk, put in a Byram, but I think it’s going to happen. It’s not as if the formation of the last two games made Bednar feel good.
- Avs did not practice today. I think this is a good thing. It’s time to spend a day away from hockey and relax a bit.
- I expect the decision of Nazem Kadri’s second appeal to fall anytime now. No, I have no indication of what the decision will be. I do believe, however, based on Shyam Das’ story, that a reduction in Kadri’s eight-game suspension is likely.
- Well, maybe “possible” is a better word than likely.
- So I was at a memorial service for the former general manager of Avs Pierre Lacroix yesterday. It took place at the Inverness Hotel, and it was an Avs Who’s Who story. Joe Sakic, Rob Blake, Adam Foote, Ray Bourque, Claude Lemieux, Stéphane Yelle – these are just a few of the former players. Stan and Josh Kroenke were there, along with the Avs’ first primary owner, Charlie Lyons.
- Sakic was there until about 3 p.m., then left for a nearby private airport and a waiting jet to get to Vegas in time for the local 5:30 p.m. drop.
- It was a very moving service, full of songs, photos and private videos of Peter. His sons, Eric and Martin, spoke eloquently of their father, as did Eric’s son, Max.
- Patrick Roy and Céline Dion also paid tribute to Pierre, via video.
- Claude Lemieux paid a moving tribute to the one he called “Uncle Pete”. He told a funny story about how Lacroix convinced him and his new wife to live right across from Pierre, after his exchange with the Devils in 1995. Lemieux was also convinced to drive with Pierre until at the airport and back for most road trips, and he told funny stories about what it was – including the time Lemieux said he was mad at Lacroix over something and that ‘he treated him silently the whole way home and how Peter almost kicked him out of the car.
- Roy told a funny story of how in 1993, after winning the Cup with Montreal, he received a free trip to Disneyland for his friends and family. Lacroix, his agent at the time, also came. Roy convinced Lacroix to go up to Space Mountain, and Lacroix apparently thought it was such a terrifying experience that he didn’t have room for dessert that night.
- Those who knew Pierre well knew how much he loved a good dessert. He definitely had a sweet tooth.
- I still remember how excited Pierre was to tell me where to eat in Montreal, on my first road trip there in 1995. He knew all of the best restaurants in town, and where he got me. Said to go was “Gibby’s” in the old town part of town. He said that the “chocolate souchard “ cake was the thing to order for dessert – and it was.
- Max Lacroix, by the way, played preschool hockey in Massachusetts this year. The foster family he stayed with? The Bourque family.
- Erik Johnson was there too, by the way, and I spoke with him briefly. I don’t think I’m telling stories outside of school when I say Johnson said he was feeling a lot better and “getting closer” to a possible comeback.