We Don’t Need Another Hero

It seems that once again, Adrian Dater has caught the ire of Avalanche fans. His tweet commenting on the crowd at the 3/6 game against the Wild has me wondering:  when did Dater START sticking up for Avs fans?

My opinion of the Denver hockey media has never been a good one. Altitude is the biggest bunch of homers you’ll ever meet, but they’re not my source of news. They call the game. If I want some actual insight, I’ll head over to the Denver Post. The Post is probably the best local mainstream coverage of the team you’ll find, but it’s no secret that the biggest critic of the Avs and their fans is Dater. It’s not perfect, but it’s what we got.

The Avs were 24th in attendance last year. Considering where they were in the standings, I’d say that’s a pretty fair place to be. When a team does poorly, they lose fans. When they do well, they gain them. The Stanley Cup honeymoon is over. Hardcore fans like me will still cheer, but I’m not the guy the team is trying to sell tickets to. Dater is really missing the point by blaming the hockey market for an empty arena. This latest jab at the loyalty of fans in Denver should be ignored. You can argue that Dater doesn’t “stick up” for the hockey market he covers, but why should he? The job of a reporter is to tell the facts, while the job of a columnist is to sell papers. Dater plays both roles, so he’s going to blur the line. Criticisms about attendance and loyalty (which Dater has made about many markets, not just Colorado) will always cause a stir, and a stir gets people reading.

The team will eventually do well again, and after awhile Dater’s comments will shift to how packed the Can is. When that time comes, don’t stick up for Adrian. He’s not sticking up for you.


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Is The Shanahan Ban Hammer Wielded Too Often?

Many, including me, have noticed an uptick in suspensions handed out by the new head of discipline in the NHL, Brendan Shanahan. Let’s take a look at the amount of suspensions this year so far versus last year:

2011-2012 (from Wikipedia):

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2010-2011 (from Wikipedia):

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Well, one thing you’ll notice is that, yes there are more suspensions this year, but the vast majority of them came during the preseason. Right now, there’s only one suspension this regular season. Compare that to the four that were doled out in the same amount of time last year. Now, I know this isn’t a lot of time to really make a definitive answer (My Center Ice preview hasn’t even ended yet!), but it looks like Shanahan has tried to set a precedent early. I’ve heard the argument that this uptick can be attributed to rule changes, but when you look at what’s being considered a punishable offense this year, it doesn’t seem to differ too much from last. Shanahan doesn’t seem to be focusing on head hits. I was certainly sketpical during preseason, but it looks like the right precedent has been set and we should see less shenanigans in 2011-2012.

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Guest Recipe – African Chicken ala Puppet

Guts McTavish, the best puppet-turned-hockey columnist I know, asked for a fellow hockey fan for a place to post his newest recipe. I give you:

African Chicken ala Puppet

Courtesy of the WORST twitter based cooking show… #thepoormansfoodnetwork #PMFN

Ingredients for 2 to 4

  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 2 chicken breasts. (butterflied)
  • 2 bunches green onion
  • 2 dozen cashews
  • Clubhouse La Grille chicken spice (salt free)
  • Salt/pepper
  • Uncle Bens Bistro Express (Basmati)


Saute… Add chopped fine green onion to large pan (no heat yet) with can of coconut milk, cashew halves and a few pinches of salt and pepper – mix with microwaved rice. Turn heat to high and stir until milk is reduced and to desired thickness.

Chicken… After butterflying for thinner strips cover chicken in oil. Use fingers. Wash every time you touch the chicken. Sprinkle on chicken spice covering 75% of each chicken portion. Add small pinch of pepper to all. Heat on BBQ/high for 2/3 minutes each side. (depending on thickness of course) Remove and let chicken sit on large plate. Cut chicken into bite size pieces and spread evenly over the plate.   Then cover the entire chicken with your coconut rice saute straight from the still warm pan. Careful not to dry it out. We want it moist. This will also keep your chicken moist and warm.

Ready to serve.

Add corn as a nice side but not required.

Season for personal taste.


Years ago on Davie Street (Vancouver) there was an odd dive called DV8. On the menu was African Chicken. I have spent years trying to recapture this recipe at home and through plenty of trial and error this is as close as I have got.


Thanks for the grub idea, my felt neighbor to the north! I’m going to make this at some point this season and provide a scathing/glowing review.


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How to Pronounce the Names of the Avs

Puck Daddy posted the Youtube channel of a user that’s posting the proper pronunciation of your favorite NHL players with some difficult names. I took the liberty of embedding all the Avs on one page. No longer will you embarrass yourself among other fans when you try to talk hockey. Be sure to check out the rest of the NHL as well.

Milan Hejduk:

Jean-Sebastien Giguere:

TJ Galiardi:

Matt Duchene:

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Clear Up the Net to Clear Up Reviews

There’s been some discussion very recently about the NHL’s goal review process thanks to Marian Hossa’s controversial goal against St. Louis. The War Room said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to overturn the good-goal call from the referee, which has many wondering how to clean up the picture to make pucks easier to see.

Even with the advent of HD cameras watching from multiple angles, that top-down view is still obstructed by the net. Talks of a piece of plexiglass on the top are overkill while an auxiliary yellow confirmation line is just laughable. Plexiglass will break and cause be exploited for weird bounces. That yellow line doesn’t address the problem already at hand. If we can’t see it cross one line, what’s one more obstructed line going to do?

The simplest solution is one I haven’t heard yet:  CHANGE THE NET. Right now, the nets are made of a white nylon which could easily be changed to a transparent color. I’m no fabric or thread expert, but would switching to a transparent net really change anything? Yes, it may not look as nice or as traditional as the white nets currently in use, but another yellow line or a piece of plexiglass are bigger hockey sins in my mind.

Am I missing something, or is the NHL missing one of the better ways to solve this problem?

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Avalanche Guardian: Superhero or Keystone Kop?

Looks a bit like Val Kilmer, no?

The 22nd NHL Guardian released in anticipation of the 2011 All-Star Game is Colorado’s own Avalanche. He’s described as having a problem with authority and hating being told what to do. He also has a “deep-rooted gambler mentality” that is attributed to historic Denver being populated by miners and gamblers. The “giant piece of rocky frozen earth” can control ice and rock elements, meaning he can cause an actual avalanche (but only when conditions allow for it).

So, what we have here is a gamling-addled cousin of Mr. Freeze that’s a frozen rock. His powers can only work when he’s surrounded by ice and snow, which as many Denverites know, doesn’t happen very often. The Avalanche’s problem with authority is really the best part of the entire profile, though. Our savior the Rocky Mountains is at best a loose cannon and at worst a petulant child that doesn’t want to follow rules.

If the Avs fans are in trouble, they’d better hope their superhero is in a good mood and hasn’t been shaken down by his bookie. Oh, and it would also help if it wasn’t one of Denver’s 300+ days of sunshine they enjoy every year.

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Potential Return of Forsberg Has Historic Implications

The offending organ

On January 22nd, Peter Forsberg will begin practicing with the Avalanche to test his NHL mettle for a possible return. Most are focusing on the Foppa, which leaves an interesting fact overlooked.

With the addition of Matt Hunwick to the team this season, the Avalanche added a second person to their roster without a spleen. Hunwick lost his in 2009 while with the Boston Bruins. Peter Forsberg lost his in 2001. Right now, the Avalanche probably have the least amount of spleens of any NHL team without Forsberg. However, with his addition to the practice squad, the team is one step closer to confidently proclaiming sole ownership of such an odd record.

At the very least, Hunwick and Forsberg can compare scars and stories about their organs rupturing.

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The “Genious” of the Guardian Project

Today, the NHL released the next Guardian in the series of 30 to represent each team. Unfortunately for the San Jose Shark, something is a bit off.

It’s nice to know the NHL is taking this seriously. At least they spelled “technological” correctly.


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The Team Without a Face

Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post has penned a column accusing Denver of no longer being a hockey town. What’s his evidence? Some damning attendance numbers at Pepsi Center for the past couple of years. Kiszla paints a picture of the Pepsi Center as a ghost town with a hockey game going on in the middle. Denver is shown as a city of bandwagoners that doesn’t take too kindly to a team that doesn’t have a star. Any Broncos fan of the past 30 years can tell you this isn’t the case. Terrible football ran this town, even after a couple of Cup wins by the Avs.

DENVER - NOVEMBER 17: Kevin Porter  of the Colorado Avalanche hits the ice and watches his game winning goal as Kent Huskins  of the San Jose Sharks defends in overtime at the Pepsi Center on November 17, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Sharks 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

While the Avalanche found their place almost instantly with a championship their first year in town and another one just 5 years later, the team has ridden that success into the ground. Lazy and sometimes just nonexistent marketing is just fine when you come into town as a winner, but some effort needs to be made when the on-ice product stops doing the talking.

As Kiszla points out in his column, the “All About the A” ad campaign is a headscratcher that has given way to plenty of jokes as to what that “A” actually stands for. That just isn’t going to cut it. Who is the face of the Avalanche? Only the die-hards just thought of a name while reading that last sentence and I’m sure there were many different answers. There’s the problem! Crosby is the face of the Penguins. Ovechkin is the face of the Capitals. The Avalanche need to unite their team under the name of a player, not an arbitrary letter. When the vast majority of your players are guys that are new in town it’s a pretty hard sell.

“Did Denver ever really love the NHL? Or did the bandwagon stop when Joe Sakic, Rob Blake, Patrick Roy and Peter Forsberg got off?”

This little statement has a lot wrong with it. Denver has always loved the NHL, but right now the Avs look more like the incredibly awful Rockies of old NHL infamy. With a shaky history to start with, it’s no wonder the Avalanche are starting to crumble under the weight of old expectations. Yes, the greats of the Cup years are almost all gone, but that doesn’t mean there’s a bandwagon. It just shows that the team needs to give the fans a poster child to rally behind once again.

Kiszla is singing that same old song of the terrible Avalanche marketing, but I’m going to finish it. The Avalanche have some work to do. Billboards with Duchene, Stastny, and Foote are a great idea. Let’s introduce Denver to more than just the “A”. Let’s make the in-arena experience less of a snore. I am consistently jealous of other fans around the league and the party that seems to go on in other buildings.

Ditch the Kiss Cam. Ditch the “All Hell Broke Loose” gimmick. Ditch every overplayed little applause trigger that hasn’t seemed to change since Pepsi Center opened.

Mark alludes to the Winnipeg Avalanche, but we all know the team isn’t leaving Denver. However, if the Avs don’t do something soon, they’ll soon see their stories under a much bigger lacrosse or soccer headline in the papers.

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Hey Facebook, I am well aware that hockey season is over. Stop rubbing it in.

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