Let the playoff speculation begin! Colorado is upset that Jacques Lemaire says they cheat on defense and it will give us chances. Avalanche fans are upset because the Wild play "boring hockey." The Wild are down yet another defenseman, with Nick Schultz's flu bug turning into appendicitis. Man I love the playoffs. Every series has it's own bit of drama.
I've never been sold on the common premise that the Avs are a better matchup for the Wild than the Flames. While I agree that we haven't played well v. Calgary, we played them better the last couple games. Also, the whole "I think the better matchup is this team..." often goes the other way in sports. Here's some things that scare me 'bout the Avs:
- There's a little vibe in this town that we're just happy we're not playing Calgary, almost taking this series lightly. That never works out.
- The Avs have a star-studded lineup. Joe Sakic is a Wild killer and Mr. Clutch. Paul Stastney, Ryan Smyth, Adam Foote, oh, and that Peter Forsberg guy.
- The Avs have a bunch of grizzled veterans, many of which are previously mentioned.
- With Schultz out for an unspecified amount of time, the Wild are waaay short on defense.
- In 2003, the Wild came back from a 3-1 deficit in the 1st round against the Avs. I'm worried about hockey karma in this one. Add to the karma factor that Colorado brought back the nucleus of that team. Oh, and Andrew Brunette, who scored the series winner in '03 (and sent Patrick Roy to a minor league coaching career, causing him to be mean-spirited and send his son into a hockey brawl) now plays for Colorado.
- The Wild spent alot of energy in winning the Northwest. If they lose game 1, and essentially lose home ice, they would lose all the momentum they fought for. Game 1 is pretty critical.
- Many times regular season success against a certain team turns into failure against them in the postseason.
- Alot of the muckity-mucks in the hockey world are picking the Avs in this series, including Darren Pang. Not everyone has bought in to what the Wild are selling yet.
Well, there's the negativity. Tomorrow comes the positivity - I'll touch on what I think the Wild have going for them in this series...