— Kelvin Walz (@Walzy_9) March 20, 2017
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.
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.