Unfortunately, after viewing last night's debacle, it looks like part 3 of this quadrilogy will be posted after Saturday's game. I was looking forward to seeing a game not end up 3-2 in OT, but this wasn't exactly what I had in mind. The Colorado Avalanche outplayed, outhustled, outscored and outeverythinged the Minnesota Wild last night. At least last night's performance makes for easier work on the Warpy Quark awards.
dangling subatomic participles:
Top Quark(s): No single individual stands out from last night's game (at least none from before I got hammered) so we'll go with a collective Top Quark to the entire Avs team for their thorough domination of our homeboys. Man, that was ugly, but you've gotta give props to the Avs for taking advantage of a tired and sloppy Wild team to put the game away early.
Up Quark(s): Nobody in a Wild jersey played well enough to merit consideration for an Up Quark. Joe Sakic gets a mention in this segment for being one of the few Avs players to consistently play at a classy level. I used to be a big fan of Peter Forsberg, but his "let's see how many people I can get to care about my foot this year" antics gradually soured me to #21, and his wussy tactics in this series (particularly last night) have cemented the end of my respect for the Swedish meatball. For a guy who does as much stickwork on opposing players as he does, Forsberg sure knows how to make himself scarce when anyone over 150 pounds is around. Sakic, on the other hand, doesn't resort to crap like that, which explains all of the respect he gets -- richly deserved -- from hockey fans everywhere.
Down Quark(s): Too many downer moments to mention, so the entire Wild team gets a collective Down Quark. Actually, scratch Niklas Backstrom from the downer list -- the Wild defensemen could easily have been credited with assists on three of the Avs goals, so it's hard to blame the goalie for last night's disaster. Martin Skoula and Kim Johnsson played like their old selves yesterday, but everyone else played so badly that even the Dildaphonic Duo didn't really stand out. That takes some serious doing.
On the Avs side, we'll toss Down Quarks to Ian Laperriere and Cody McLeod as well as to Forsberg. For all the griping the Avs homer fans are doing because of the supposed "goonery" by the Minnesota Wild, it's ironic to watch the play of Lapansyass and McToofless: they sure act and talk tough when separated by linesmen or dividers, but neither one of them has shown enough hair on his balls to take on anyone bigger than Gaborik or Bouchard.
Bottom Quark(s): Bottom Quark has to go to Jacques Lemaire for double shifting the Gaboriks and Koivus of the world after the score got out of hand, while at the same time keeping the Boogaards and Simons on a sphincter-tight leash when the opportunity presented itself to send an emphatic message. Presumably, Doug Risebrough obtained guys like Chris Simon and Todd Fedoruk to prevent a repeat of last year's mauling by the Anaheim Ducks, but the message sent by J-L last night was essentially: "go ahead, hit our smaller guys all ya want -- it's all free." Earth to Lemaire: what's the point of bulking up a roster if you're not going to utilize the advantage that it offers? Can you imagine Glen Sonmor preaching "let's just play old time hockey, Toe Blake style" with a quartet of Ogie Oglethorpes on his bench?
Strange and Charmed Quark(s): The refs and linesmen pick up the Strange Quark for their strange job of officiating throughout the series. I'm not going to grumble about all the penalties called on the Wild last night (because most of them were fully deserved) but the officials have nobody to blame but themselves for seeing the game get out of hand in the later stages. When Avs agitators have free rein to do their thing while officials keep the Wild enforcers at bay, chippy (and dangerous) stickwork is inevitable. If the zebras would let a couple of guys duke it out for a while, the frustration would vent itself off in a much more civilized fashion.
Charmed Quark goes to the Avs for continuing to get more than their share of the non-calls. As long as the officials prevent the Wild from exacting payback -- and as long as J-L refuses to let his enforcers exert their civilizing influence on the agitators -- the Avalanche have no reason to change their tactics.
And in Kihnclusion: What an ugly abomination that was last night! Hopefully, the Wild enforcers are putting on the foil in preparation for a badly needed donnybrook right off the draw tomorrow. If the officials let some guys go in the early stages of the game, they'll probably be surprised at how clean and civilized the rest of the game goes. I can't wait to see how Avs fans react when their team is on the receiving end of a wax job like last night. I'll just copy and paste some of their own "quit whining at the refs and play better hockey" posts from today, and we'll see who the real sniveling homers are. GO WILD!!!
...and now, a word from our spawn's heirs...
If my wife to be or not to be is watching, PETA is not interested in my beaver shooting. To the rest of you, thanx for tuning in, keep your stick on the ice, and remember: if it walks like a Duck and quacks like a duck, but has teefus like Leon Spinks and runs like a chicken, it's probably Cody McLeod.