Takeaways From Avs-Wild Game: Hate Minnesota


“We were buzzing pretty good… I think the effort was there tonight, and we worked as a unit of five.” – Gabriel Landeskog

This year’s home-opener was not as much fun as in previous years. Even in the Joe Sacco years, I don’t remember being this disappointed. It’s that Pandora’s box of hope — once you have it, the hope easily turns to disappointment.

The Avalanche themselves were not a disappointment. They certainly played a lot better than they had in the season-opener in Minnesota. I don’t know if we can call Patrick Roy’s new system of scoring duos a success yet, but the Avalanche players certainly had a lot more pep in their step — sometimes a bit too much. So, let’s have a look at some of the takeaways from the first game at Pepsi Center, which I happened to attend.

#1: I snubbed Mr. Evil, Matt Cooke

I felt the cold eyes of evil upon me, and I stood tall. Matt Cooke looked directly at me during the warm-ups. I felt the cold chills running down my spine, but I looked at the golden head of our captain and felt strong.

Actually, I feel kind of bad. Cooke apparently was just trying to get my attention so he could toss a puck over the glass to give to a kid sitting behind me. To be fair, I only realized that once he caught the attention of a less fanciful woman next to me and completed the transaction. On the flip side, the kid was obviously terrified, too, or he would have gotten out of his seat himself for the puck.

#2: The older players aren’t fast, but they’re tough.

The Avs Nation kept tweeting about how slow Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay looked on the ice. I had rinkside seats, and they didn’t look that slow.

On the other hand, both Iginla and Tanguay laid hits on Wild players right in front of me. No joke, Wild faces were plastered to the glass with one of the older guys smashing it. Ryan O’Reilly just love-tapped Minnesota players. It’s a great achievement, but O’Reilly didn’t earn the Lady Byng for making opponents pay.

#3: Minnesota Wild fans are annoying.

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I usually don’t hate on other team’s fans. We’re all just passionate about our teams. However, part of the reason I snubbed Cooke was because I was trying to ignore these squealing Wild fan-girls next to me. I mean, Avs fan-girls don’t squeal that high for Gabriel Landeskog and, you know, he’s practically a Swedish model.

Also, there’s a reason teams don’t celly hard after winning on the road. It’s just bad form. Even the Wild players kept it cool after their back-to-back shutout wins. After the game, though, packs of Wild fans roamed Pepsi Center crowing about their win. Seriously, that’s just rude.

#4: Neither Barrie nor Holden can hold the puck in the zone like Erik Johnson.

Both Tyson Barrie and Nick Holden have a lot going for them. Barrie had extra pep in his step, and he even gave Cooke a “friendly” shove. Holden put some pucks on net.

However, especially during power plays, neither player could keep the puck in the Wild zone. Johnson’s a brick wall on the blue line, but Barrie and Holden just aren’t. Which is unfortunate because Johnson only played one period…

#5: Please don’t let Erik Johnson get suspended.

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  • This is the second time I’ve attended a game in which Johnson got tossed for a game misconduct. He is not a dirty player — I firmly maintain that. However, he’s a big, strong hockey player, and when he gets physical, opponents pay.

    Early in the second period, Erik Johnson laid a massive hit on Minnesota forward Erik Haula. Haula was airborne as he hit the glass — he’s a pretty good jumper. He also stayed down on his knees until Johnson got tossed. Then he jumped right up, never missing a shift. Johnson, on the other hand, got a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

    I repeat, Haula was not injured. Johnson should not get a suspension. But… with a game misconduct, you just never know.

    Roy said of the hit, “There was no elbow there. I watched [the video] about 20 times.” Even Haula said, “He caught me with his hand, I think.” Sorry, but slapping is not a punishable offense in hockey.

    There are certainly positives to take from the game. Our golden-haired captain states “We have to put the work boots on and get to work.” Just, you know, let Erik Johnson be around to put those boots on, too.