It was definitely a blown call. How could the Big Brother watchers in New York and Toronto get it wrong, so wrong, during Sunday’s Avalanche game in Chicago? Jonathan Toews was clearly – clearrrrleee – offside before scoring the goal that got the Blackhawks back into the game midway through the third period.

But you know what? The Avs still had a 3-2 lead at that point. One call isn’t supposed to beat you in a 60-minute hockey game. The Avs should have just gotten mad and gotten the lead back. They should have played with a sense of “I will have my vengeance!” the rest of the way and gone on to win. But, all too predictably this season, the Avs faced a little adversity and just crumpled.

Four straight Chicago goals happened from there. Four. So, yeah, sing “nuts and bolts, we got (blanked)” all you want, Avs players. The bottom line is, you can’t let one call beat you like that.

On to Tuesday and St. Louis…

MITCHELL OPENS UP

I’ll tell you, I’ve been in a lot of Avalanche locker rooms, but this is just the saddest, most forlorn one of the bunch I’ve ever seen. No, not a big revelation there. The Avs are one of the worst teams in modern NHL history. You wouldn’t expect a party atmosphere in the room. But, man, this is one beaten-down bunch.

After Saturday’s loss in Detroit, I spent a few minutes with veteran John Mitchell to try to get a sense of just how bad it’s been lately, personally and professionally. As one might expect, it’s not a fun time. It’s been the worst experience of anyone’s career who’s lived through it, Mitchell said.

“It’s been difficult for me personally and everyone in the room. We’re all proud guys and we want to win games,” said Mitchell, who has been with the Avs since 2012. “No one wants to lose hockey games, ever. But when you win won, then lose five in a row, win one, lose another five in a row, it just beats down on you mentally. Physically even, too.”

Mitchell had four straight seasons with the Avs scoring 10 or more goals. In 62 games of this one, he’s got…two. Mitchell is 32 and will be an unrestricted free agent July 1. He probably won’t be back with this club and he knows it. He might have trouble finding any job in the NHL next year. He’s got some games left to try and prove he still belongs in this league.

But, man, he and the rest of the Avs sure look like a dispirited bunch.

ETC.

Matt Duchene and Gabe Landeskog had a brutal weekend. Neither got a shot on net in the loss to Detroit, and each finished a minus-3 Sunday against the Hawks. Duchene again failed to get a shot on net. Landeskog got two. … Could Mikhail Grigorenko’s two-goal game help get him a new contract with the Avs next season? One more goal and he’ll reach double figures, after all. Not horrible. I kind of doubt it. Grigorenko will be RFA this summer, but I don’t see the Avs qualifying him. I think it’s time to move on. Then again, he’s only 22. But there’s only so long you can keep clinging to the “He’s got potential” bromide. The two goals were his first points since Feb. 25, by the way. … Hard to believe the Avs couldn’t give Duncan Siemens at least a look-see, and maybe that’ll still happen. But it’s getting awfully late. It’s obviously another setback of sorts for the 2011 first-round pick of the Avs (11th overall). It’s just never worked out with the big club yet. He’ll be RFA this summer too. It’ll be very interesting to see if the Avs qualify him or not. He’ll be 24 in September. It’s getting late in the day for his career.

 

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Adrian Dater

Adrian Dater is a staff writer with BSNDenver. He started his journalism career way, way back in 1988 as a proofreader with the Concord Monitor as a kid out of college (Keene State College), and has wended its way since with a 25-year stop at The Denver Post, 20 of which were spent as the beat writer of the Colorado Avalanche, from its inception in 1995. Adrian has also worked as a primary hockey writer with Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, The Hockey News, Versus.com and Bleacher Report. He is the author of seven sports books, including the best-selling “Blood Feud: Colorado Avalanche v. Detroit Red Wings, The Inside Story of Pro Sports’ Nastiest and Best Rivalry of Its Era” and “100 Things Avalanche Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die”, which was published in October, 2016.

  • Busted Twigg

    On qualifying RFAs Grigorenko and Siemens… There’s really very little downside to qualifying them. The Avs have plenty of cap room and it’s unlikely they will be limited by roster slots. Both players are assets that might have value down the line in a trade, or they might realize the potential that made both first round picks. What’s the downside?

  • Colorado_Superchronics

    Grigerenko just set a career high in goals during a season where the entire team cant score. Please Dater explain to me why it is time to move on?
    Don’t just stay stupid crap and not back it up. You’re talking about a kid who is 22 years old, just set a career high on a team where their top three offensive stars will be lucky to break 20 goals, and is relatively cheap. If your reasoning behind why you wanna drop him is because he hasn’t lived up to his 12th overall draft selection you should not be writing about hockey, or at least not about the avs. Besides hes turned out better than Hishon, seimens, bleakely, and the rest of 1st round draft bust the avs have had over the last 7 years. You could also offer the kid a three year 6 million dollar deal and he’d probably take it which for his age ceiling and potential would not at all handicap this team going forward.
    Dater stop just writing to write. Put some supporting evidence behind your illogical claims.

    • Adrian Dater

      Really, I shouldn’t write about hockey at all if I say Grigorenko hasn’t lived up to his 12th overall draft selection? Ok then. Thanks

    • Adrian Dater

      So he “set a career high in goals” this year. His previous career high was six. Lofty standards you have for a guy who got a lot of top six and power play time here.

      • Colorado_Superchronics

        He has primarily played on the third line with soderberg and mitchell all year. how many points do they each have?
        And you are not saying he hasn’t lived up to his 12th overall selection, you are saying the avs should not resign a guy who set a career high while the entire team is having career worst type seasons.
        One thing you should know about the avs since you cover them so much, and in your mind you probably think you are good at it, is our top six is awful. We maybe have a top three and if you shut those guys down your left playing against a bunch of ahlers, we also have had one of the worst pp in the league, so your statement of how he played a lot of top six and power play time doesn’t justify anything.
        We aren’t paying him like an all star so why would you expect all star production or be disappointed when he doesnt pot 20- 30 goals regularly.
        What you are saying is during a terrible season production wise from the entire team, the one person who set a career high doesnt deserve to be resigned. That is where you are wrong.
        What im saying is that he is young, CHEAP, meaning he is not getting paid like an all star or a 12th overall pick 6 years later, and he may not have lived up to his potential, but there is still time and hes not on a 4 or 5 million dollar contract not does he expect or deserve one.

  • IDBMWRS .

    So… my understanding is that this isn’t offsides because the player bringing the puck into the zone hasn’t touched it yet – would be the same as if they dumped it into the corner, tagged up and got the goal. NHL needs to clarify the rule – he’s obviously in possession of the puck – just not touching it, as to whether he touches it or not before Toews tagged up isn’t clear in this pic.

    • Greg Wilber

      He stick handled the puck into the zone.

      • IDBMWRS .

        Agreed – but he last touched it outside the zone and then wasn’t touching it (and supposedly hadn’t) until after Toews tagged up – like I said the rule needs to be clarified – it needed to consider possession (without puck contact) which it doesn’t.

        • Greg Wilber

          I hear ya. A rule clarification would be helpful. Dumping the puck into the corner is one thing. Dumping it in 6 inches beyond the blue line so that only you can get it after your player tags up seems wrong. Seems to defeat the purpose of the offsides rule.