Welcome to the Game Day Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s 11th game of the season on Oct. 28, 2009.
So the Colorado Avalanche roll into town and the very same day, I see a lot of tweets from my Calgary friends about standing in line for swine flu shots. Coincidence? I think not.
Yes, Petr Budaj was kept home from this road trip with the (fatal(?)) disease, but who knows how many of his teammates he kissed before they left? He has caused an absolute epidemic in the NHL. It was revealed after last night’s game that Ladislav Smid has a case of it. Their opponent? Colorado! *dramatic music*
Several other NHL players had it, too, but I am at this point unclear on how, exactly, Budaj was involved. I’m currently operating under the impression that he sneezed into envelopes and mailed them to the infected players.
But beyond the fears of what damage this can cause in the Flames dressing room, this is a worrisome game for Calgary. Colorado is pretty much an unstoppable killing machine so far this year and, while that is unlikely to last forever (or indeed, for very much longer at all), they’ve shown no signs of even slowing down yet, and my concern is that they will continue to live among statistical outliers for at least tonight.
Not that Calgary can’t beat hot teams. Edmonton was hot coming into Saturday and they got thumped and sent home embarrassed. Let’s hope this is the end of the line for the Avs and they descend into cripplingly poor play starting in about two hours.
The Calgary Flames (7-2-1 for 15 points. Tied for third in the West, second in the Northwest) and the Colorado Avalanche (9-1-2 for 20 points. First in the West, first in the Northwest).
7:30 p.m. Mountain time and 9:30 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should momentarily disobey the laws of gravity.
Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta.
Calgary is 5-1-0 at home this year, which is pretty great. The Avs are 5-1-2 on the road, which is slightly better. They’ve gotten points from 11 games this season, all but four of which have been on the road.
What (to hate about the Avs)
Swine flu — I’ve heard of advocating masks in the NHL but this is ridiculous! Take my wife, please!
They inspire me to do bad jokes — Boy I tell ya, my wife wanted me to take her somewhere she’d never been before. I said, "How about the kitchen?"
Milan Hejduk — One of the last holdovers from a time when the Avs were oh-so-much more hateable. While I have nothing specifically against him, seeing him makes me want to punch someone. Maybe it’s the goatee.
They are somehow good — Seriously, the Colorado Avalanche are the best team in the NHL right now. How does something like that happen when their No. 1 goalie is Craig Anderson?
Paul Stastny — Good though he may be, his insistence on using a wood stick means we will hear about his wood stick during every game he ever plays for the remainder of his career.
Because Petr Budaj will come to your house and cough on you if you don’t. Enjoy the game and feel free to share chicken soup recipes in the comments section.