Jared Bednar is not in you Fangio, thank God. But, Lord, it’s the avalanche options in the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs that started out reminding you a bit of the Brokers’ Derby at the Broncos last summer. And not in a good way.
Darcy Quimper or Pavel Francoz?
Drew Luke or Teddy Bridgewater?
Does it matter?
Choose a side, Front Range. Because there is a chance that neither man will get you where you ultimately want to go. This is a victory parade.
Avs coach Jared Bednar said after his team survived a confrontation wild, 8-6 win in Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference Finals.
“And (they) are trying to survive (with) not having the ability to direct goals from more than one player. And we have that.”
Stanley Cup worth? Not if the series’ opening Tuesday night is any harbinger of what’s to come.
To be fair, the opposition had a big role in this. If you’re an Avs, playing Edmonton is like playing an evil version of the alternate universe, the Alberta version of themselves. The Oilers have the star power of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisatil, and Evander Kane, speed and savvy through four lines, and enough electricity on attack to power 15 buildings in the city.
Bednar’s slate is like the Pacific Ocean – it comes to you in relentless choppy waves. The Avs went into the third round of the post-season with 16 different playoff scorers and eight skaters who scored two or more goals. The Oilers, on Tuesdays, have produced 14 and 9, respectively.
Kuemper left the first game with an upper body injury, a 6-3 lead, and more questions from a fan base that saw two or three easy goals allowed against the Blues. Francoz came off the bench and was thrown at Wolves against one of the ice’s hottest fouls, stopping 18 of the 21 shots he’s faced – including some big shots in the final two minutes as a desperate Oilers hit him with a man advantage.
“(Francos) was fantastic. Avs star Nathan McKinnon said of his backup internet junkie. “Playing the best players in the world, and satiating you as soon as you get in – it was really impressive by Frankie.”
Impressive, yes, given the context.
It wasn’t necessarily final either.
And when a reporter asked Bednar for an update on Kuemper’s status for game two Thursday night, the coach gave only a brief “Yes, we’ll see”.
Only a sadist would envy Bednar’s options moving forward, pending the health of Mount Darcy. Try Josh Manson in the goal? Coax Patrick Roy and his 56-year-old legs after retirement?
“No, definitely not the way,” Avalanche defender Cal Makar, who was fantastic on Tuesday, “want to play a game with these guys (Edmonton).”
Trustworthy. Giving up six goals on your first appearance in the Western Conference Finals in 20 years is a bit tricky. To say something to the heart.
“We know that security is death,” Bednar said.
But why is the three-goal lead, on home soil, so slippery?
That wasn’t hockey. It was a huge blow to commercial holidays.
It was every video game tournament with no strings attached in your bedroom, the one you’re still laughing at decades later, played in real life between the two fastest hockey teams in North America.
(After Makar’s goal is amazing that The first period is over. It’s not an unfair comparison. Sometimes you have to make your own luck. Or the replay teachers in Toronto decide to make it for you.)
At 7-3, you were wise about football results. At 7-4, you exhaled and wished for the best.
At 7-5, after a feint goal from Edmonton’s Derek Ryan early in the third clip, you held your breath.
After an unfortunate Gabe Landeskog penalty to lock down McDavid brought the Oilers strong game and another goal – cmature, 7-6! -From Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, I carried rosary beads. For dear life.
“I think we have a lot to clean up defensively,” Avs striker JT Compher said last night. “If we want to win more matches in this series, we have a little clean up.”
Kuemper or Francouz?
Lock or Bridgewater?
Does it matter?
If a coach says he has two quarterbacks, that means he doesn’t have either. When Bednar says he has two goalkeepers, at this point, it means the same darn thing.