Duchene playing with Forsberg and Cody H back to Moose

By Terrance Gavan

Imagine how excited Matthew Duchene must be.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Matt Duchene broke his scoring drought last night and is playing on a line with Milan Hejduk and Peter Forsberg.

Playing on the same line with one of his old idols Peter Forsberg.

Well, the Avs are slowly working their way out of the playoffs with an incredibly belief defying string of games.

Several zero sum games and a lack of scoring has led the Avs to a long long slide to anonymity and ignominity in the west.

Something ain’t right.

And Forsberg ain’t the answer.

Here from the horse’s mouth we get some prop pops from Adrian Dater, beat writer for the Denver Post.

Dater seeks other answers and here in unredacted beauty is an excerpt from his blog last nite.

OK, on to business: I’m not a major second-guessing-of-the-coach kind of guy. I tend to be harder on the actual players on the ice, and those in management who make the final decisions on what players are on their team. Coaches, to me, are guys who get too much credit when things go well for their team, and too much blame when things go bad.

But I’m officially on board tonight with questioning the recent decisions of Joe Sacco as Avalanche coach. Frankly, I think his lineup decisions for tonight’s game with Nashville made no sense, and perhaps played a role in what is now an ignominious new team record for consecutive losses in a season – seven.

Sacco decided to bench right wing Chris Stewart from the game entirely, and to bench defenseman John Liles for the entire first period tonight.
I get that some guys need to be “sent a message” sometimes, and it’s definitely the coach’s prerogative to decide who plays when on the ice in a game. But, come on, was benching Chris Stewart for the game really the BEST thing for his team tonight, a decision that gave his team the BEST chance to win a game – as Sacco is so fond of saying?

I think not. Was the two minutes and four seconds Sacco got from David Koci in tonight’s game something that gave his team more of a chance to win than having not Chris Stewart in the lineup at all? YES, I agree, Stewart hasn’t been great since he returned from that foolish fight that broke his left hand effectively has ruined his – and much of the Avs’ – season. But that was something that happened in a game, a hockey-game occurrence where Stewart meant well and was doing what he thought was good for his team at the time.

He misses seven weeks and then struggles some when he comes back. Yeah, it stinks, for him and the team. But, for a team that has lost six in a row, a team that STILL has at least a smidgen of hope to make the playoffs, for that team to just bench a 28-goal scorer from last year, who was leading the team in scoring at the time of his injury – to say to him, “You’re not worth putting in the lineup over David Koci tonight” and bench his (rear end)?
Come on now, this is getting into junior bush league stuff then and I think it’s obvious that any desired “message sending” by Sacco tonight didn’t work – just like it didn’t work the night before in Columbus when Sacco benched the always-working, always-hustling Ryan O’Reilly for a game, just a few days after returning from a shoulder injury.

I don’t have any players whispering into my ear that they have tuned out the coach, or that they can’t stand him or anything like that. Not yet anyway. But I do sense a team that is a bit confused, a bit scared to do anything wrong, a team that is walking on proverbial eggshells around anyone with the Avalanche who wears a suit.

I alluded to this earlier in the season, about sensing a team that somehow didn’t quite have that kind of indefinable but you-know-it-when-it’s-their chemistry. And I’m not saying that it’s a BAD chemistry in the Avs’ room. I’m just saying that all year long it’s seemed to me that this Avs team just wasn’t always on the same page somehow, probably exacerbated by too many injuries and too many guys shuttling in and out of Lake Erie all the time.

Dater brings up some uncomfortably cogent points and let’s face it, when a team goes from first place to 12th or 13th in the space of just less than 20 games, the hounds will inevitably yap their way to the coach’s office door.

This reach out to an aging star hearkening the past, juxtaposed on their self-proclaimed tendency to follow the youth train, just dcesn’t make any sense right now.

I love Foppa.

And I love the fact that he’s playing on that lovely line with Dutchy and Hejduk.

But healthy scratches with players who are actually sitting on the bench seems a little ludicrous.

Sacco is sending a message?

Of course he is.

He did it with Duchene earlier in the season.

Let Dutchy stew on the bench for a period.

I expressed dismay then and I am still against the Sacco strategy today.

Talk man to man.

But don’t embarass a player by sitting him on the end of a bench.

A little like putting a dunce cap on an underachieving student.

They don’t do it with kids anymore.

And they shouldn’t do it with grown men.

The hounds are baying in Colorado.

And let’s hope Sacco gets the message before it’s too late.

And in the second part of this tale we have the Haliburton Lake cottager Cody Hodgson, lagooned back to Winnipeg, as part of that revolving door that the Canucks have been working like a merry-go-round for the bulk of the season.

To be fair, the fourth line on a finesse team was a little beneath Hodgson’s considerable talents.

Cody Hodgson is not a banger.

The fact that he nailed an assist and a goal in about 21 minutes of real playing time in three games – held scoreless in his last two games with the Canuncks – must at least show the brass that Hodgson has something to offer.

Will we see him before the playoffs?

Well the Canucks had nothing but praise for their 10th choice overall in the 2008 entry draft.

[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Cody Hodgson got a goal and an assist in his first three NHL games and now he's back to the Manitoba Moose.

The Manitoba Moose will be playing six games in a short stretch and he’ll be getting mega minutes with the AHL Canucks’ affiliate.

Hate to say it but Hodgson will benefit more from playing 22 minutes a game than the seven or eight he was getting with a bunch of head bangers on a fourth line that was seeing little in the way of quality ice time.

Let’s see how this goes.

I’m pretty sure that the Canucks will be pulling the trigger before the trade deadline.

Maybe to make some room for Hodgson and maybe to give the kid a shot somewhere else?

We’ll see.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]