23 April 2009
Shane over at Avs talk linked to TSN's off-season gameplan for the Avalanche yesterday and I, unlike Shane, took a minute to read it. It automatically gets a fail for not mentioning the best things the Avs could do... Fire Granato and hire a quality coach.
Other than that, the overview was pretty decent, certainly a lot more in-depth and smarter than most national, or even local, Analysis of the Avs. So I'm a bit hesitant to criticize it. But two paragraphs caught my eye:
Veteran sniper Milan Hejduk tied Smyth for the team scoring lead, but also posted the first minus rating (minus-19) of his career. The 33-year-old is entering the final year of his contract and would have some appeal if he was willing to be moved, but he's also one of the club's few proven finishers so if the Avalanche do unload Hejduk it could make the rebuilding process all the more challenging.
As the most adept puck-handler in the group, John-Michael Liles is supposed to be a cornerstone, but last year's career-low minus-19 didn't shine a bright light on his defensive prowess. He's not big, nor is he aggressive, so he's not likely to be a defensive stalwart, yet Liles' skating and puck skills should produce better results if he has a stronger supporting cast (in terms of goaltending and forwards).
*sigh*. This is the exact reason (±) should just be tossed out the window like a 6-month old carton of eggs. Anyone watching the Avs knows that Liles probably had the best defensive season of his career, and Hejduk was one of the Avs best defensive forwards all season. In fact I remarked all year how I was commending Liles improved defensive zone play. His, and Hejduks, (±) was clearly a result of inept coaching combined with poor teammate play and is not even close to an accurate representation of their season defensively.
(±) is a useless statistic for individuals, and should never, ever, ever be cited in an analysis for someone's defensive abilities.
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