Colorado Avalanche Face Latest Must-Win in Vegas

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 24: Alexander Kerfoot #13 of the Colorado Avalanche skates with the puck against Reilly Smith #19 of the Vegas Golden Knights in the third period of their preseason game at T-Mobile Arena on September 24, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Avalanche defeated the Golden Knights 5-3. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 24: Alexander Kerfoot #13 of the Colorado Avalanche skates with the puck against Reilly Smith #19 of the Vegas Golden Knights in the third period of their preseason game at T-Mobile Arena on September 24, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Avalanche defeated the Golden Knights 5-3. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche face their latest must-win situation when they play the Golden Knights in Las Vegas tonight.

Well, the Colorado Avalanche took off this morning for Las Vegas to play the Vegas Golden Knights tonight. Judging by the Avs’ Twitter, they had a healthful and filling breakfast on the plane:

I personally think the chef should permanently rename that second smoothie “Barrie Good,” but I do love a good pun.

Anyway, back to work tonight. The Colorado Avalanche hopefully “rested and rest” so they can get back to their winning ways. They’ve dropped three out of the last four and four out of the last six to teams they had no business losing to.

Unfortunately, Vegas might be a team the Avs would “have business” losing to since they’ve only beaten them once in the regular season (and twice in the preseason, for what that’s worth). Hopefully, if Colorado stays true to form, that means they’ll pull out a decisive victory.

How to Enjoy the Game

Game time: December 27, 8:00 pm MT
TV Networks: Alt , ATTSN-RM  (Knights’ feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (FM 92.5)

Rest and Reset

The last couple games have been “must-win” situations for the Colorado Avalanche. They were playing struggling teams, and they needed to get trending toward winning again.

Instead, Colorado played loosey-goosey, mistake-laden hockey and lost. They’re still solid in the standings. However, after the Arizona game, captain Gabriel Landeskog remarked, “We know we can play and dominate any team in this league. For us it’s just about making sure that we learned how to bring that every single night.”

Gabe, I love you, but you’re in the eighth year of your NHL career. At 26, you’re in your prime. Learning time is over for you. You’re the captain, and it’s up to you to bring that dominance “every single night” to show the others the way.

I’m not going to focus too much on a single quote, especially since I have tremendous respect for Landeskog as a captain and he did score a goal against Arizona. Let’s just hope the Avs players did use their break to rest and reset, and they’re ready to implement Gabe’s words.

Side note: Speaking of bringing your A-game, I hope Marc Moser does so tonight. There was a minor Twitter controversy over the pronunciation of J.T. Compher’s last name, which, as I’ve mentioned previously, is essentially “comfort” without a t.

Moser, and the majority of the Altitude crew, say it “KOHM-fer,” with the same sound as “Compton.” Then this happened:

Um, what? You’re refusing to say a player’s name right? An AVALANCHE player’s name, as the AVALANCHE play-by-play announcer? I mean, no one’s expecting you to roll your R’s and tighten your vowels to say “Varlamov” with a Russian accent. But refusing to say “KUHM-fer” when the player stated to your face that’s the correct pronunciation?

Deliberately mis-pronouncing someone’s name is a subtle sign of disrespect. Do I think Moser is deliberately disrespecting J.T.? No. Do I think he’s disrespecting his job and his viewers by refusing to make a minute effort to say it correctly?

Yes. Not deliberately, but I think he’s being too casual with his job, especially considering he’s in his first year as the play-by-play announcer.

When I heard J.T. Compher say his name in his introductory video last season, I stopped and corrected myself every time I said it wrong after that. And I was just talking to friends, not actually announcing games.

To be fair, in the game that night, Moser said “KUHM-fer” about half the time. Here’s to hoping he starts getting it right more often than not.

Ryan Reaves Factor

More from Analysis

Ryan Reaves is a straight up goon, and he’s going to be unleashed on our small, speedy team like Racki on Derek Sutton in Youngblood. (Possibly the most obscure hockey movie reference you will ever come across.)

Anyway, Reaves isn’t a goon in the Cody McLeod sense or even the Chris Simon sense — or even the Scott Parker sense. He’s a player who openly intends to injure and is pleased afterwards by the aftermath — a Todd Bertuzzi sort, in other words.

Recently, Reaves was involved in a bit of controversy when he targeted Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson. Yeah, yeah, say what you want about Tom Wilson, he never targeted a specific player all night with the deliberate attempt to injure, laughed over his prone body after a hard hit, concussed said player, then signed autographs of the injured player after said concussion.

That’s d-baggery of the highest order, and that dishonor belongs all to Reaves. After hearing he’d concussed Wilson, Reaves shrugged and said, “He ran into a lion in the jungle.” Inscriptographs then presented Reaves with a photo of Wilson injured on the ice with Reaves looking on. Reaves wrote that quote onto the photo and autographed it.

To be honest, even Bertuzzi didn’t go that far. There is no place in hockey for a man who not only wants to injure another man, he takes glee in having done so. Wilson hits hard and doesn’t take care enough about the head. Reaves actually assaults players and delights in hurting them. Sick.

Heads up, Avalanche players. It’s a slippery slope for a goon like Reaves to say Tom Wilson deserved it for head shots to, for example, saying Gabriel Landeskog deserved it for hitting hard.

Avalanche News

We woke up to some very welcome news:

Nathan MacKinnon has been named — voted — the captain of the Central Division All Star team. Say what you want about the All Star Game, being voted one if its captains is a great honor and furthers the recognition the Avalanche are finally getting around the league. MacKinnon is the first Avs player since Joe Sakic in 2007 to be named captain.

We also woke up to some weird news this morning. The team reassigned AJ Greer, Pavel Francouz and Anton Lindholm to the Colorado Eagles. That’s not so strange — and it does bode well for Semyon Varlamov’s illness. However, they recalled Ryan Graves from Loveland.

Colorado acquired the 23-year-old Graves in the Chris Bigras trade at the deadline last season. If he plays tonight, it will be his NHL debut. Anton Lindholm played in the last two games after Nikita Zadorov was injured in the game against Montreal.

Sheldon Dries is also still in the lineup. He was one of the call-ups made after Colin Wilson suffered the upper-body injury that immediately put him on a week-by-week basis.

Next. Christmas Wishes for the Team. dark

After tonight, the Colorado Avalanche will face the Knights two more times, both times in Colorado.