Colorado Avalanche Pregame: Denver Vortex Sutra

In 1972 Doug Johnson was sent to prison by a military court for a crime he didn’t commit. He promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, he survives as soldier of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire the Puck Buddys.

The Puck Drop: Caps fans and booze-hounds, rejoice! We proudly announce this season’s newest, bestest, most assured to get you F’d up cocktail! The Rockin’ Red Flame Out! Directions: grab some high-priced this, pretend to add some top-shelf that, splash with vaguely European liquor, shred ice, and shake! Mix! Toss about round n’ round! Throw in a blender and oscillate! Back and forth, back and forth, up and down, over and over and over again! That’s the spirit!

Drink and regret. Clean out your blender from top to bottom (well, don’t go nuts) and repeat. Mmm…now that’s satisfaction.

Here’s the deal. I can’t believe I’m writing this yet again. For weeks I’ve been thinking about what to say about Denver – the team, the city, the doped-out state of mind. How Denver is nothing of the above: at the end of the prairie but not quite prairie, near the lip of the mountains but not in the mountains. Neither East nor West, North or South. The Hollow-Man City; the place that everyone forgets… or tries to. The cosmic rendezvous at the event horizon; the bong-water swamp where memory ends. In short, the Vortex Sutra of All That Is and Nothing That Isn’t. The confused, abandoned, cardboard bastard child of America.

And yet – hahaha we stink. Almost exactly half the time. Meaning all the mean things I said about Denver? They’re still half true, but we’ve got no room to swagger. Not despite, but precisely because of the last game.

The Naughty and Nice List, Quarta Edizione

  • Naughty: Alexandr Valeryevich Semin. The Great 28. How disappointed are we; we who adore you? You don’t even get a funny comment, that’s how much. There’s nothing to laugh about anymore.
  • Nice: Mike “Kanoooobs” Knuble has never disappointed, and Thursday night he again… failed to, um, not disappoint. Or something. Meaning Papa Knuble stands for everything that is awesome-sauce about the Knaps lately. Extra Xbox for the kiddies under the tree for you. But our special vánočka cookies go not to Santa but to his elf, Michal Neuvirth. Humbuggers may scoff at his stats (SV% .885) plopping him near the bottom of the NHL, but he’s shown dazzling sizzle (and other zazzley words we can’t think of right now) in moments throughout the season, and Thursday’s shut-out – though not of his own making – held moments of brilliance. Double-puppy-dog thanks to you, Neuvy.

OK, we’ve contractually gotta do this “Avs R Hawt” thing, so strap in. And to help us out, we’ve enlisted Michael “Bandito” Cox of GForce Hockey and some law skool or something out in Denver. The PuckBuddys pulled him away from his hotbox — haha, we mean finals! — long enough to offer some informed thoughts on the Avs. (ATTN prospective employers: we kid the kid – he’s straight-arrow, whip-smart, hot on his feet and has no earthly idea what a “hot box” is.)

What Makes Them Hot

1: Touche Douchene. Sure, he’s a little guy with a big ol’ -7, but Matt Duchene at 11G – 11A is second only to the comically named Ryan O’Reilly (who went to school with Paddy McShamrock) in total points, and still the Avs leading scorer. Says Cox: “He has some Crosby-esque, stylish moves up his sleeve that Caps should really watch out for, but this goal gets extra points.” So…apart from the C-word mention, he’s good. Oh, and if you’re so inclined, he’s also smokin’ hot.

Gabriel Landeskog

2: Names We Can’t Pronounce: Captain Milan Hejduk (9G, 12A, -5), the aging Czech right winger, and compatriot Gabriel Landeskog, the youthful left wing (5G, 8A, +4) are the sort of Yin/Yang to this team. Cox on Hejduk: “Their Knuble equivalent, and he’s even more of a papa because the next oldest forward is 29. Been with the Avs since ’98, he’s their captain and go-to veteran.” And on the other blondier one, simply: “He’s their Viking Warrior God.” We’ve seen pics of said deity, and we can confirm our colleague’s astute assessment.

Semyon Varlamov

 3: Space Cadet: Oh, guess what tonight is! Dinner with our Ex! Well, that’s always fun, eh? Yeah, we’re meeting up once more with Semyon Varlamov (SV .896%) near-giant Russian slab o’ puck-stoppin’ treat…and ex-Cap. And still handsome as hell. Says analyst Cox: “Some nights he’s a jedi, others he’s a space cadet.” We still miss you, Varlmonster, although we’re not missing what you didn’t do in our crease. That just sounded obscene. Anyway, you get it: Varly & Neuvy (we expect) face off. Russia v. Czech Republic. Vodka v. Pivo. Them v. Us. Sorry Varly, you’re off our Christmas card list.

What Makes Them Not

1: Is That A Stat, Or A Demographic? Oh harhar, the Avs are 14-17-1, placing them somewhere behind the Oilers and the Sun City Retirement Village Senores Y Senoritas squad. Not that that’s stopped us before from ignominious (look it up) defeat. Still, if you want to get your confidence back but you’re not quite at all confident, why not pick on the smaller kid? Oh that’s right, because it’s douchey. But may also be a path back to Caps believing in themselves again.

2: Deep Thoughts: From future 1-percenter and current forward Michael Cox: “Dale Hunter spent his final year in the NHL with the Avalanche when they went to the western conference finals, but they lost. We traded Varly to the Avs for a 1st round pick next year and a 2nd round pick in 2013 (Thanks Colorado!), Fliechman spent last year with the Avs before going to Florida, Scott Hannan (gone now) the D-man last year came from the Avs.” So…if I’m reading this right, the Avalanche is sort of the Caps dumping ground. Hmmm?  No? Well, let’s dump on them all the same.

Meme of the Night