Cody McLeod (Brent Lewis / Denver Post via Getty Images)
Colorado's Cody McLeod was inexplicably named the first star of the game in Saturday's 4-1 win over Dallas. McLeod was ejected in the third period and finished the game with 30 penalty minutes and no points. Huh?
There must have been something in the air in Denver on Saturday. How else do you explain a fourth-line fighter getting first star honours after picking up 30 penalty minutes and getting kicked out of the game? Colorado’s
Cody McLeod fought twice, played 8:58 and took four shots on net to nab top honours in the game. Nevermind that his teammates outscored the Dallas Stars 4-1. No, it was clearly McLeod’s game-changing dust-up with
Jason Demers in the third period that turned the tide.
The Avalanche were up 3-0 with under 14 minutes left to play. Demers was following up on a rebound in front of
Semyon Varlamov. That’s when McLeod cleared Demers away from his goalie and shoved him up against the boards, then slipped in a quick left hook for good measure. That shot touched off a melee between the Avs and Stars, even as Demers held his face with an apparent injury. Demers went back at McLeod during the TV timeout a few moments later, punching him in the face while he was speaking to a referee and touching off another fight in front of the Dallas bench. A few Dallas players even got involved, and McLeod ended up speed-bagging
Ryan Garbutt with a few punches on the bench. Refs and players from both teams swarmed in, and with McLeod restrained, Demers reached over the ref and hit McLeod in the face a few times.
Dirty, stupid and cheap on both sides. Or, um, heroic? Game-changing? Awe-inspiring? How else do you explain McLeod getting first star in the game? Was the Demers fight icing on the cake after McLeod dropped the gloves with
Curtis McKenzie earlier in the game? This isn’t a joke. Well, it is, but it happened. Here’s the proof.
The three stars of the game are a fan thing. They don’t really mean anything. McLeod won’t bring this game up at his next contract negotiation. But still, how does anyone pick the hometown goon as the best player in a 4-1 win? There was plenty of action to laud over a stupid shot-for-shot.
Alex Tanguay set up
Dennis Everberg with a gorgeous pass for the fourth goal of the game – a goal that gave Everberg two points and third star on the night.
And then there was
Jarome Iginla’s goal, which looked more like a Three Stooges routine than a hockey play. Iginla was the last guy to touch the puck after
Brad Stuart put it on net moments before colliding with teammate
Nick Holden. Stuart took the hit from his own player, then went down in a heap after
Shawn Horcoff hit him at the blueline.
That, at least, was good enough to earn Stuart the second star in the game. But it's no third-period ejection.