18 July 2010
So I said I'd get around to doing a Top 10 of '09-10 and here it is, more than a month after the season ended for the Avs. I'll be counting down all 10 of the top 10 Avs moments of the season. I thought about breaking this into 2 posts, but then realized I could easily milk it for 10. Without further adieu, here we go:
Before this game, odds were that this game would be remembered as the Montreal Canadiens home opener. As the game wore on, it was almost assuredly going to be remembered as the poster-child for poor officiating. But with 6:13 left in the game changed and now will forever be known as the game of Ryan O'Reilly's first goal, a game winner.
This game cruised along in a brand of hockey that the NHL would like to see. Unfortunately this is a brand of officiating that the NHL would never like to say, because this game easily qualifies as one of the worst five officiated games of the season. The Habs blog: Eyes on the Prize described it as such:
During good long stretches of the game, one could envision a time warp matchup between the '77 Habs and the '96 Avs.
The only trouble was, the officiating was vintage 1918 debauchery, and we can all be thankful it didn't hamper the performances more than it already did.
More after the jump
The game was an exciting one. After Roman Hamrlik opened up the scoring in the first period, the Avs tied it up with a Milan Hejduk goal more than midway through the second period. Then Kyle Cumiskey took the puck coast to coast with less than a minute remaining in the second period and threw it in front of the net. It hit two Canadiens skates and past Carey Price to give the Avs a lead.
But if Lady Luck is a fickle mistress, then Mrs. Officiating is an irrational jealous vengeful bitch. A little over 8:00 into the third period the puck went high into the netting. One of the Canadiens put the puck into the corner high and bounced it off the netting. The Avs almost unanimously pointed up, and the Canadiens player remembered what he learned when he was five, which is "play to the whistle". He then slashed the stick out of an Avs players hand passed it back to the point and the shot found it's way to the back of the net.
At this point it could have been very easy to be very angry, bitter and disillusioned with this game, but the Avs gave us a little glimpse at what the rest of the year would bring. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves for getting screwed: they got even (Mrs Officiating also played a bit of a role.) Cody McLeod had a great forecheck and checked Gomez hard into the boards (this is home team euphemism for McLeod boarded him. This is where Mrs Officiating got mad at Montreal. Don't worry, she was back to hating the Avs by the end of the game). This time though, Montreal lost their heads on a bad call, as they went after McLeod leaving David Jones free to pass to Ryan O'Reilly wide open in front of the net. O'Reilly then slid the puck around Price for the go-ahead goal.
Mrs Officiating wasn't done putting her fingerprints on this game. With time winding down and the Canadiens pressing and on the powerplay, they decided to do everything they could to get the tying goal. Including throwing wave after wave of their men at the Avs. Ok only 7 of their men. The problem is that the rules only allow 6 players on the ice at the same time.
Picture taken from All things Avs, but it's all over the internet
The Habs were unable to score and the Avs won. Even more memorably, Ryan O'Reilly had his first, of many, career goals for the Avs.
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