Talk about a quick turnaround.
On Friday, the Colorado Avalanche woke up thinking its next Stanley Cup playoff game wasn’t until Tuesday, at the earliest. By lunch time, the Avs learned they were playing in a little more than 24 hours so NBC didn’t have to show Seinfeld re-runs to its prime time audience.
Ah, the power of broadcast television.
Considering how well the Avs are playing right now, it’s probably a good thing for Colorado. Let’s just hope they have enough time to clean up Arizona goaltender Darcy Kuemper’s chalk outline before the puck drops at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
Albert Okwuegbunam — A
One thing we need to get out of the way right off the bat:
It is right and good to refer to the Broncos’ new tight end as “Albert O.” It’s a name he knows and loves. And, frankly, it’s a lot easier for some of us dummies to spell.
Now to the more important part: Without any preseason games and a shrunken training camp schedule to work with, the rookie out of Mizzou is making the most of his opportunities early on at Dove Valley. Injuries to Austin Fort and free-agent signee Nick Vannett gave Okwuegbunam an opening in the first week of camp, and he’s burst right through it.
A regular on the positive side of the ledger in Broncos beat writer Ryan O’Halloran’s training camp reports, the 6-foot-5, 258-pound tight end has been seen running crisp routes, soaring into the air for jump-ball receptions and catching passes in the end zone.
While his run blocking skills remain a mystery, we know this much: He’s given Coach Vic Fangio something to think about as Week 1 quickly approaches.
Nuggets’ defensive effort — D-
For three straight games, the Utah Jazz have gotten whatever it’s wanted against the Nuggets.
Donovan Mitchell drives to the bucket? Sure. Rudy Gobert thunderous two-handed dunks? Yup. Wide open looks from the 3-point line? With frequency.
Gary Harris and Will Barton can’t come back soon enough.
Unfortunately, the latter already left the Orlando bubble Wednesday to rehabilitate a nagging knee injury — signaling an extended absence. That just so happens to be the day Denver submitted the first of two defensive stink bombs.
For the record: The only reason this isn’t an “F” is the efforts of Jerami Grant and Jamal Murray, who at least seem to care that the Nuggets were getting their behinds kicked Friday afternoon.
Nolan Arenado — C+
After an offseason in which Arenado kinda, maybe, possibly nudged Rockies management about getting traded to a winner, the all-star third baseman is falling down in the clutch for Colorado.
The stat line on Thursday was nice (2-for-5, home run, double), as has been his predictably stellar defense on the hot corner. Here’s what’s not: Arenado’s .074 batting average with runners in scoring position entering Friday night.
That mark is well below the 29-year-old’s career average in such instances (.325), and it’s even worse when you consider he was just 1-for-14 with two outs and runners in scoring position through 24 games.
When you’re getting paid what Arenado is, that’s not going to cut it.
Especially after what happened last winter.