SLAP SHOT

Alexandar Georgiev shouldn’t play another game for the Avalanche

Apr 23, 2024, 4:00 AM

Alexandar Georgiev...

(Photo by Terrence Lee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Photo by Terrence Lee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Alexandar Georgiev had his chance, then he had it again, and then again.

And we’ve seen enough.

Georgiev shouldn’t play another game for the Colorado Avalanche.

What happened in Game 1 against the Winnipeg Jets was completely unacceptable. Georgiev gave up seven goals and made just 16 saves on 23 shots. That’s a horrid .696 save percentage, one of the worst marks you will ever seen in an NHL playoff game.

Really, we should’ve known this was coming.

Georgiev was a mess at the end of the regular season against the Jets and Golden Knights, having two stretches where he gave up four goals in basically a period of hockey. It was obvious to anyone who watched that his confidence was broken and gone. He looks like he’d struggle in the AHL right now.

And while some of us sounded the alarm bells two weeks ago, the Avalanche didn’t have a plan for the problem. Throw in Justus Annunen getting sick at the exact wrong time, and Arvid Holm was the backup goalie on Sunday night in Winnipeg.

Who?

With no disrespect to Holm, about 99 percent of Avs fans had never heard of the guy. Head coach Jared Bednar must have almost no faith in him (more on that in a moment), because even when Georgiev couldn’t stop a beach ball, no switch was made during the beatdown.

But this isn’t on Bednar. Any fan calling for him to be fired if the team loses in Round 1 yet again has their anger misguided. No, this is on general manager Chris MacFarland for not adding a competent veteran goalie at the trade deadline. MacFarland made four moves, and none of them involved another net-minder.

You’d think with Pavel Francouz retiring and Ivan Prosvetov struggling at the NHL level, it would’ve been top of mind. But MacFarland ignored the issue and looks asleep at the wheel. He’s failed to find a second-line center since he took over two summers ago and also didn’t get out in front of this obvious goaltending issue.

Georgiev’s save percentage hung around .900 all year, not even top-30 in the NHL. It didn’t take a rocket-scientist to figure out a trade needed to be made.

Now, MacFarland has put the Avalanche in an impossible spot, and it could cost him his job. If someone has to pay for these failures, it should most certainly be MacFarland and Georgiev, not Bednar.

None of this is personal, but it’s also professional sports. Expectations were high for the Avalanche this season, and they’re three games away from coming up woefully short.

Bednar said at practice on Monday that Annunen was “still sick,” so hopefully he has some better news after morning skate before Game 2 or when they take the ice several hours later.

But the fact of the matter remains, Georgiev simply can never play for the Avalanche again. It’s unfair to Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Mikko Rantanen and the rest of Colorado’s roster. They scored six goals against arguably the best goalie in the league in Connor Hellebuyck and lost. That’s inexcusable.

The guys can say all the right things after the game, but deep down you know they’re seething. MacKinnon and Makar have to feel like their primes are getting wasted because Georgiev is broken. You only have so many chances at winning multiple Stanley Cups before you blink and a career is over.

Even if Annunen is still ill before Game 2, then it’s time to make a switch. The team recalled Prosvetov from the Colorado Eagles on Monday and sent Holm down. Apparently that NHL debut will have to wait, while Prosvetov may find himself smack in the middle of a playoff game.

Hopefully Annunen is also getting heavy treatment, and realizes this is his moment. He could become a hero in this town overnight, just by being competent. Annunen doesn’t need to post a shutout on the Jets, he only needs to hold them to two or three goals.

It’s been real Alexandar Georgiev, but it hasn’t been real fun.

Avalanche fans are over it.

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Alexandar Georgiev shouldn’t play another game for the Avalanche