Well, it worked, Kiz.  Our little ploy to lose big once Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final was out of hand seemed to work. All that broom talk by Colorado hockey fans might have subsided, but now quietly creeping up is the unthinkable, totally impossible thought, tucked in the crevices of Avalanche minds:  This best-of-seven series could easily be, outside of the one lopsided loss, 3-2 or 4-1 in favor of the Lightning. Don’t expect the Avalanche to win Sunday. You see, we’ve roped this rodeo before & we really like boat parades in Tampa Bay.  All the pressure is now on the Avalanche.

Larry, Bolts fan

Kiz: The Avalanche have nothing to fear except panic itself. The ice in the Stanley Cup Final seems to be almost constantly titled in the Colorado’s favor. The Avs cannot possibly blow a 3-1 lead in this series? Can they? I predicted the Avs in seven before the puck dropped. And I will stick to that.

NHL should provide a ‘ref refund’ for all Avs fans who bought tickets to Game 5.

J.B., Ph.D. in hockey

Kiz: Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper is a puppet master. He complained about too many men on the ice after Game 4, and the on-ice officials promptly danced to his tune. Manipulative? No doubt. But it’s also respect Cooper has earned with back-to-back championships.

Kiz, I normally agree with you. But it would appear that you and I are the only ones who thought Avs coach Jared Bednar made the wrong choice to start goalie Darcy Kuemper in Game 4. As we saw, Kuemper was magnificent. I’ve owned up to my wife and friends. You should probably do the same for your readers. It’s OK to be wrong once in a while.

John, Conifer

Kiz: Am I ever wrong? After rolling out of bed every morning, I’m lucky to put on two socks that match. Yes, I would’ve started Pavel Francouz in Game 4. Kuemper got the victory. So happy to give credit where credit is due. But there’s also mounting evidence that Kuemper can be counted on to surrender at least one soft goal per game. And if that trend doesn’t change, the Avs are in serious danger of suffering an epic collapse in this series.

Kansas forward Christian Braun seems like a great draft pick for what the Nuggets need. If he can step in as a rookie and be a competent 3-and-D guy, that would be really helpful. Not so sure about taking UCLA’s Peyton Watson at No. 30. Why draft a project when you are in win-now mode?

E.B., armchair draft analyst

Kiz: For his work in his first draft in charge of the Nuggets roster, I give Calvin Booth a grade of: Meh. Maybe a Meh-minus. Win now? The trade of JaMychal Green now seems more like a salary dump. Here’s hoping Booth got a contributor in Braun with the 21st pick in the first round. But the draftniks here at Kickin’ It Headquarters predicts the San Antonio Spurs got a better player in Notre Dame guard Blake Wesley at No. 25.

And today’s parting shot cuts me right down to size.

Mark, you’re just a burned-out journalist with small hands.

J.J.



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