29 November 2009
..It seems like the Avalanche ellipse is fittingly missing the third period (Wakka wakka wakka).
After the Avs very hot start, many critics predicted that the Avs wheels would fall off, and Avs fans defended their team vigorously. To be fair their are some statistical indicators that pointed to the Avs being a team that wasn't very good.
Well the critics may be insufferably smug now that the Avs have been a very pedestrian 4-5-3 in November, and falling out of 1st place in the Northwest. Avs fans never claimed that they expected the President's trophy, but this month has been especially brutal with the being the Avs inability to do anything in the third period.
The lack of depth in the forward position is really starting to show for the Avs, as they have been unable to find suitable replacements when injuries have happened. And injuries always happen.
Milan Hejduk, TJ Galiardi, Matt Hendricks, Cody McLeod, Darcy Tucker, and now David Jones have all been injured for periods this season, and guys like TJ Hensick and Chris Stewart have been unable to step up and fill the void left when these guys do down. Jones' injury should be an opportunity for Chris Stewart to step up and fulfill his potential, but he has struggled mightily this season.
Before the season started, everyone (myself included) was worried about the Avs depth at forward. That worry is starting to come back and bite the Avs in the ass, as the Avs have no one to fill in when a player goes down injured.
The Avs struggles this month can be almost directly tied to injuries. Galiardi, Hejduk, Tucker and McLeod missing time have all combined, at one time or another, to deprive the Avs of a key player in their early season resurgence. Guys who are supposed to step up, like Chris Stewart, TJ Hensick, Marek Svatos and yes Matt Duchene haven't been able to fill the, now gaping, injury void.
Where the Avs actually have depth has been surprisingly weak as well. The defense has struggled whenever there has been an injury, whether it's Liles, Cumiskey or Foote.
Wilson has stepped up, but Preissing was a disaster. Ruslan Salei has apparently been completely forgotten.
The worst part about the Avs struggles are that they are coming from within the division this month going 1-6-1 against the Northwest in November. They were actually 3-0-2 against non-NW teams this month.
The Avs have a touch December ahead, but they need to play well. Luckily they only play the NW foes 3 times.
Chris Stewart is probably the key player next month. With Jones out Stweart needs to play to his potential and be a force on the ice, or the Avs are going to end up sinking to the bottom of the Northwest.
Finally, you'll notice every paragraph in this post has 2 sentences. That's because I, like the Avs, are unable to use the third period (Wakka wakka wakka).
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