Category Archives: Colorado Avalanche

The Avs Go Seven; The Rox Are Hot

Welcome to the 58th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I have a bit of a lighter post for the second straight week because I write these on Monday nights and for the second straight week the Avalanche are in an intense playoff game on Monday night. It’s awfully difficult to put one of these together with one and a half eyes on the TV screen. (Update: I worked on this instead of working at my job today… Not that short afterall!)

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

(Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Aaaaand it looks like Denver will host a Game Seven tomorrow night at The Can. Game Sevens are a lot of fun. But only if your team wins. If I’m in Vegas, I’m not betting on a Game Seven because there is an element of unpredictability involved. One random bounce can end a teams’ season.

But I do think the Avalanche have a lot going in their favor.

  • They’re at home.
  • They have the better goalie.
  • Matt Duchene did not look limited at all in Game Six. In fact, he played more than Roy said he would and looked pretty sharp. Duchene is possibly the Avs’ best player and he will make an impact tomorrow night after knocking some rust off on Monday.
  • They’re not afraid to rest their genitalia atop various eating surfaces.

So I’ll pick the Avs … But who the hell knows?

I have a feeling it will be intense, entertaining, and a whole lot of fun. If you have a couple free tickets, feel free to throw them my way.

We also can’t forget about the awesomeness of Saturday night, when the Avs pulled off a trademark “Cardiac Kids” victory again, scoring another goal after the goalie had been pulled and winning again in overtime.

And again, you need to listen to the calls from Mark Moser, the Altitude radio guy. Here is the game-tyer. And here is the winner. I think he enjoys his job.

Don’t look now, but the Rockies have won nine of their last 13 games and sit just a half game back of the Giants for first place in the NL West. As we all know, strong starts from the Rockies can fade quickly, but I’m here to tell you it’s okay. It’s okay to get little optimistic about this team as April turns to May. That’s part of the fun of the long marathon of a baseball season.

The past week was an encouraging one for the Rockies. They went 4-2 against the Dodgers and Giants– the two teams that have killed the Rockies’ seasons the past few years. Winning the series in Los Angeles could turn into a huge statement if the Rockies continue to play well.

Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the Rockies’ April:  Things have not gone all that well. They have managed to pull off this impressive start with their best starting pitcher (Chacin) on the DL and their third best starter (Chatwood) missing a few starts, and their main offseason acquisition (Anderson) going down and their most reliable position player (Cuddyer) hitting the DL and uncharacteristic struggles from perhaps their best player (Gonzalez) and another of their best starters (De La Rosa) and two of their supposed better relievers (Belisle and Brothers).

That’s a lot to overcome.

But the rest of the roster has exceeded expectations. Tulowitzki and Blackmon (more on him later) are both Player-of-the-Month candidates. Morneau has been incredible. Arenado has improved. Jordan Lyles and Franklin Morales have turned in a number of quality starts out of the blue. Ottavino has been blowing people away with his slider (which is fun as hell to watch).

If nothing else, you should be watching this team just because of the defense of Tulowitzki and Arenado on the left side. They are just ridiculous. Arenado might have been the difference in both the wins in Los Angeles with run-saving plays like this one:

So proceed with cautious optimism, Rockies fans. Yes there’s 135 games left, but allow yourself to be optimistic. It’s okay.

Stud of the week:

Charlie Blackmon’s beard. (And Charlie Blackmon too I guess.) If there wasn’t 135 more games left in the season, Blackmon would probably be your National League MVP. Coming into Monday’s game, he led the National League in Slugging Percentage, On Base Percentage, OPS (obviously), Offensive WAR, Hits, Runs Scored, and is second in total bases. He’s been very good defensively too.

Coming into the year, center field was a major question mark for the Rockies. So was finding a lead off hitter. Blackmon has put those concerns to rest in a way that has far exceeded the expectations of literally everyone in the world. With Michael Cuddyer going on the DL and Carlos Gonzalez struggling, Blackmon’s performance has been beyond essential to the Rockies solid start.

He also has a sweet Twitter handle @Chuck_Nazty. So there’s that.

Blackmon is starting to get a little love nationally with articles on Grantland and Fox Sports this week.

Douche of the week:

Donald Sterling in a no-brainer. I don’t have much to add to this story. It won’t be going away any time soon. The best things I read on the topic were this scathing takedown by Dave D’Alessandro of the New Jersey Star-Ledger and Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s strong take for Time.

Tweet of the week:

The ugly Donald Sterling thing created this scene in Oakland, which was pretty funny.

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And we actually have another stud in Dani Alves. I guess he is a Brazilian soccer player, presumably in some kind of soccer league somewhere. Anyway, Donald Sterling is not the only racist person in the world and some enlightened hooligan threw a banana at Alves. His reaction was pretty much gold.

Maybe he just needed some potassium. Or maybe that’s the best possible way of saying “I don’t care about you ignorant idiots.”

A few links I enjoyed from the last week:

Dr. Jack Ramsey died Sunday night. On Monday morning his son published this touching piece on ESPN.com. It’s worth your time.

Jason King of Bleacher Report: “Remembering Lacey Holsworth: How 8-Year-Old with Cancer Captured America’s Heart”. Unbelievable story in so many ways.

These interactive maps on the borders for baseball fandom are interesting and enjoyable.

I’ve often said that in another life I was destined to be a guy waiving a towel on a basketball team’s bench. So I found this goofy video to be particularly entertaining.

This bit from Fallon aired last night. It is simply brilliant.

(This was updated Tuesday night. I originally posted the boring interview segment of Cano on Fallon. My bad.)

Carlos Gomez is generally kind of a douche, but this was a cute moment.

And finally, graduation season is approaching fast. I’m all about doing awesome stuff to bring attention to yourself when leaving the stage. This guy’s super-awesome backflip is right on the money.

Nailed it!

Happy Tuesday everybody. Enjoy Game 7 tomorrow night. Put your balls on a table for me. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

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Your Weekly Roundup From The Sports World and Internet

Welcome to the 57th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where we’re enjoying a great time of the year for sports. I don’t even care if I say that in this space every single week. Let’s get into it.

The Avalanche vs. Wild series has been pretty damn fun through three games. I told y’all playoff hockey was awesome.

We’ll start with Game One, because Game One was unbelievable. You know what happened. Roy pulls the goalie with three minutes to go (!). Erik Johnson saves an empty net goal by doing this (!) with less than two minutes left.

Then Stastny scores with 13 seconds (!) left. Then he scores again in overtime (!). It was awesome. (Just ask Ty Lawson.)

 

You also have to listen to Marc Moser’s homer radio call of the two Stastny goals. They’re epic.

Regardless of what happens in the rest of this season and series, Game One will be one of the best sports moments of the year in Colorado. To welcome playoff hockey back to Denver in that manner was truly unbelievable.

They also won game two of course, in part because Nathan MacKinnon did this.

via @cjzero

I mean… Holy Crap. What a great GIF. He’s completely alone taking on four Wild… guys (Wildites? Wildonians? Wilds?). I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone on skates breaking dudes’ ankles like an Iverson crossover. By the way, that feat was accomplished by a guy who was born in 1995, so that should depress us all.

Later that evening. Landeskog, McKinnon and Stastny combined for this artistic goal. Flat out artistic.

The Avs lost 1-0 in overtime last night despite 45 saves from Semyon Varlamov, who was incredible. I still like the Avs in five or six. Keep in mind, if they get by the Wild they might get their best player back in Matt Duchene for the second round. That would be fun.

Douche of the week:

Matt Cooke’s cheap shot on Tyson Barrie last night was bush league and confirmed his doucheness. Cooke is a low-talent hack who as made a career of hits and cheap shots and suspensions. As Deadspin and The Post’s Adrian Dater pointed out, this is just who Matt Cooke is. It’s one of the things that sucks about the NHL. Goons cheapshoting opposing players who are actually good detracts from the game. And it sucks for the Avalanche who just lost another important piece for likely the rest of the year. What a douche.

Stud of the week:

This should probably go to Nathan MacKinnon or Paul Stastny or Semyon Varlamov, but I’m going with Greg Popovich. The Spurs’ coach is known for hating the in-game interviews during nationally televised games. He gives salty, combative interviews like these with the affable Craig Sager.

It was recently revealed that Sager will be undergoing treatment for acute leukemia . On Sunday, Sager’s son took over and interviewed Pop during the Spurs vs. Mavericks game. The coach carried himself a little differently even though it was in the middle of a crucial playoff game.

That was an awesome moment from Pop.

Tweet of the week:

That’s just funny.

Picture of the week:

Bartolo Colon is an old fat guy who is good at throwing baseballs. He’s in the National League now, which means we all get the pleasure of watching him attempt to hit baseballs thrown by younger, less fat guys who are also good at throwing baseballs.

Adam Hunger, USA Today Sports.

PICTURE OF THE YEAR! PICTURE OF THE YEAR! PICTURE OF THE YEAR!

Aaaaaaaand I just realized I need to devote much more of my blog to this wonderful human being. Starting now.

Okay, I suppose that’s enough for this week. But this will not be the last we see of Bartolo Colon.

A few links I enjoyed from the last week:

Pat Tillman died 10 years ago today. Interesting articles here, here, and here.

Twitter’s reaction to Mike and Mike asking for questions to ask NCAA President Mark Emmert was hysterical.

If you watch Mad Men (and everybody should watch Mad Men), these Grantland reviews from Molly Lambert are just the best.

I thought the follow-up on the popular obituary of “Pervert Dave” was pretty darn interesting.

And finally, hopefully you didn’t miss the Rockies’ new mascot on display Saturday night. This guy/gal is definitely better than Dinger.

And some quick thoughts on the Rockies while we’re at it… I still think they’re pretty good and will remain relevant in the National League throughout the year barring any long term injuries. Their starting rotation is going to improve. Their bullpen has been fine. And their offense is the best in the majors. That’s not a bad combo.

Also, I was going to review the new Party Deck/Rooftop at Coors but my friends got there before I did on Friday night. (I like to watch the first inning from the concourse behind home plate.) They hated it so much that I never even made it up there. (“Can’t see the game. Can’t even get a beer.”) That said, if it pulls the “party crowd” away from wherever I’m sitting and isolates the people who don’t care about baseball way up there, I absolutely love it.

And we’ll close with a pretty funny moment from last night’s blowout win over the Giants. This kid has never seen a baseball before. Or he just really likes baseballs.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

Let’s Talk About the Avalanche

Welcome to the 56th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where there appears to be plenty of room on the Denver hockey bandwagon. (I jumped on a couple months ago.) The sports world (still) has a lot going on. Let’s get into it…

18-year-old Rookie of the Year candidate Nathan MacKinnon has been key in turning around the Avalanche. (AP Photo)

The Colorado Avalanche have just completed one of the most surprising regular seasons I have ever seen. In last year’s lockout-shortened season the Avs finished last in the Western Conference at 16-25-7. This year they finished with the 2nd best record in all of the NHL at 52-22-8. So this year they played 34 more games and had three fewer regulation losses.

Think about that for a second. It’s astounding.

We just witnessed one of the great turnarounds in Colorado sports history, even if much of the public didn’t realize it because the local media was more enamored with debates about who the Broncos might pick 31st overall or the likelihood of Von Miller getting suspended again.* But those of us who have paid attention to the Avs (and I’m not exactly a superfan or hockey nut) have been treated to a fun season from a talented team that is a blast to watch.

*As much as I bitch about the local media and their year-round, unending fascination with the Broncos, all they’re doing is feeding the beast. Give the people what they want. And in Denver, people want the Broncos. Like, all the time. ALL OF THE TIME. ALL! OF! THE! TIME! Honestly, I think if I devoted this post to… I dunno, the release of Broncos’ preseason schedule (THE SEAHAWKS DUDE!) it would generate more views than writing about the Avalanche. But I digress…

Anyway the wild season started with this awesome, awesome moment at the end of Opening Night:

Aaaarrrghhhh!!!

That maniac right there is your NHL Coach of the Year. This was a symbolic moment for the franchise, even if we didn’t know at the time. Roy stuck up for his players and made it clear he wouldn’t be taking any crap. This was moment was awesome on so many levels. Have I already mentioned that?

Aside from Roy, this team has become one of the league’s best because of a remarkable wealth of young talent that continues to develop, specifically from four players who have been the biggest factor in the Avalanche’s unexpected ascension to the top of the NHL standings.

Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly are in their fifth seasons in the league since being drafted in 2009. Gabriel Landeskong is in his third season since being drafted in 2011. And Nathan MacKinnon should be the Rookie of the Year this season since being drafted with the top pick. All four were drafted by the Avalanche.

That’s a lot of young, homegrown talent. (The Post had a nice feature on these four in Sunday’s Sports section.) Duchene is the team’s best player. He was injured and missed all of April, but others have somehow filled in for him seamlessly.

Throw in veteran Paul Stastny playing some of the best hockey of his career in Duchene’s absence and some clutch late-game scoring from Tyson Barrie down the stretch and some MVP-level play from Semyon Varlamov between the pipes all season and you have Home Ice in at least the first two rounds of playoffs. After watching the Avs for the past couple of seasons, I can’t believe I just typed that.

The NHL playoffs is one of the best events in sports. They games are intense. They don’t seem to take six months like the NBA playoffs. They feature a lot of gross lookin’ beards. What’s not to love?

The Avalanche take on the seventh-seeded Minnesota Wild beginning Thursday night at The Can. The series is in the 2-2-1-1-1 format with games every other day.

You’ll have to take my word for it when I say I am an expert on the entire Minnesota roster but I just don’t feel like diving into it right now.

I like the Avs in six.

Whatever happens with the Avalanche moving forward, the season has already been an unequivocal success.

And these playoffs should be pretty darn fun.

On to the weekly departments with an emphasis on The Masters this week…

Stud of the week:

We’ll go with Bubba Watson because he won that recent golf tournament and seems like a pretty good dude.  Also I just like this GIF. Somebody knew what they were doing when they set up this scene. Pretty awesome to let that little dude just wander out there on his own. Then his completely unimpressed, I-Don’t-Care-About-Any-Of-This reaction was cute.

Bubba Watson greets his son after winning the 2014 Masters

The Big Lead

(This little guy was far more impressed at a Milwaukee Brewers game this week.)

mlb.com

Tweet of the week: Speaking of that Bubba Watson fellow… He sure knows how to play up the “normal dude” angle. After he won the Masters and the $1.62 million purse that came with it (not a bad weekend) he celebrated with a gourmet meal at… Waffle House.

Picture of the week:

AP Photo

Lots of little boys in this week’s post apparently. My mom is gunna be pumped! That is Finn Stallings (son of PGA’er Scott Stallings) checking out the flag stick in Wednesday’s practice round. Gorgeous shot.

Douche of the week:

Aldon Smith is an absolute nut job. Certainly you’ve by now heard the story of his arrest for telling a TSA agent he had a bomb. What a freaking nut job! Anyway, I have obtained exclusive footage of him getting arrested at the airport:

 

Back to the Masters. This one is pretty funny

 

And finally, this video is long. But it’s worth it. Absolutely hilarious.

Two moments just slayed me. 1. The guy describing a conversation on the mound with the catcher’s glove over his mouth. 2. The guy describing “Hand signals! Not even sign language!” Genious stuff.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.