🚨 The Cale Makar Incident: A Dangerous Play by Kyle Okposo
During the game, Cale Makar was on the receiving end of a dangerous hit from Kyle Okposo. Not only was the play not penalized, but Nathan MacKinnon, who was giving the referee a hard time, was slapped with a 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty—a literal insult to injury. This incident has sparked a heated debate among fans and analysts alike. It raises serious questions about player safety, officiating standards, and the league’s disciplinary actions.
RGQs (Really Good Questions) for Contemplation:
- How can the NHL improve its officiating to ensure player safety? The NHL can never be perfect, but the lack of consistency in calls is infuriating. I’d be shocked if there was any further discipline given.
- Should the league implement stricter penalties for dangerous plays? Again, just be consistent. Let the players know what is and is not acceptable with consistent officiating, even if it’s a veteran player.
- What role should team leadership play in responding to such incidents? It’s a hot topic no matter how you frame it, but I’m of the mind that a response was needed, and it could have been as simple as some clean big hits and pushback in the scrums.
😤 Team’s Response—or Lack Thereof: A Missed Opportunity for Leadership and Strategy
What was notably missing was the team’s collective response to the hit on Makar. In sports, protecting your star players is often considered a given. The lack of immediate retaliation or even a strong verbal response was surprising. The Avs had an opportunity to send a clear message to the league that cheap shots are not okay. While no one is advocating for violence, a clean, physical play or even a face wash after the whistle could have sufficed.
RGQs for Contemplation:
- What does the team’s lack of response reveal about its current leadership dynamics? Probably nothing. But, maybe, just maybe, an interim Captain needs to surface. Not wearing the C, but setting the tone and responding when when it’s needed.
- How can the Avalanche adapt their strategy to counter the effective game plans of their opponents? When the Avs are on, it’s a non-starter. They can impose their will on a team even if they know what the Avs will do. But, when your game is struggling, you must be less predictable.
🎯 The Landeskog Factor: A Void in Leadership and Toughness
In a game that screamed for leadership and grit, the absence of Captain Gabriel Landeskog was palpable. Landeskog, who was present at the game, must have found it agonizing to watch his team struggle without the very elements he brings to the ice—leadership, toughness, and a morale-boosting presence.
The situation begs the question: Who has stepped up in the locker room during Landeskog’s absence? Leadership isn’t just about wearing the ‘C’ on your jersey; it’s about accountability, rallying the troops, and setting the tone. While no one is suggesting that the ‘C’ should be sewn onto another jersey, the role of that leader needs to be clearly defined and owned by someone else in Landeskog’s absence.
RGQs for Contemplation:
- How does the absence of a key leader like Landeskog affect the team’s performance and morale? Landy is the North star of the team. Today was a good example of how not having him on the roster is a culture hit. That said, it’s really early in the season, and there will be losses.
- Who in the current roster has the potential to step up and fill the leadership void? Everyone leads in their own way, and there is leadership on the team, but when it comes to that one voice above the rest, it’s unclear if there is that kind of leader.
📉 The Losing Streak and the Opponents’ Playbook: A Cautionary Tale
Losing two games in a row is bad, but three is a crisis. The Avalanche must avoid falling into a losing streak, as it could have long-term implications for their season. Moreover, it’s worth noting that the game plan against the Avs in both of their losses this season has been strikingly similar. Opponents have been pressuring the star players, funneling the transition game to the boards, and winning the puck battles in the corners. It’s a straightforward strategy, but until the Avs can counter this physical game and win those “want it more” battles, this will remain an effective game plan for future opponents.
RGQs for Contemplation:
- What immediate changes can the Avalanche make to break the losing streak? Just win, baby. Win on the dot, in the corners, in the scrums, and in the slot. The rest will work itself out if the Avs can do that.
- How can the team adapt its strategy to counter the effective game plan employed by opponents?
Again, the books are in on the Avs, and we will fall to the level of our system. We need to have more variability and less predictability to leverage when it’s not working.
🥅 Goaltending Dilemma: Who Takes the Net?
When it comes to goaltending, Coach Bednar has a decision to make. It’s his role to determine what’s best for the team, and that might mean giving Georgiev a night off in the next game. To clarify, this isn’t about Georgiev’s performance, which has been commendable. However, he’s seen a lot of pucks in the first eight games, and a breather could benefit him and the team.
🏒 The Transition Game: A Double-Edged Sword
Improving the transition game could also be a boon for any goalie stepping into the crease. The Avalanche have been giving up too many odd-man rushes, which puts undue pressure on the netminder. A tighter transition game could not only bolster the team’s defensive stats but also provide a mental lift for whoever is guarding the net.
RGQ: Could deploying a backup goalie serve as a catalyst for the team to elevate their game? Sometimes, the absence of a seasoned goalie on the ice can be the spark that ignites a team’s performance.
🎉 Keep the Spirit High
Whether you’re at the game, watching from home, or following updates on your phone, your energy and enthusiasm are contagious. Let’s keep the spirit high and the support flowing!
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Stay awesome, and as always, #GoAvsGo 🎉