Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The first game of the trip was a 3-0 victory over the Lightning. Matt Duchene caught fire in this game as he ended up with 2 goals for his first multigoal game of his young career.
Duchene again was a huge story two nights later in Florida despite the Avs losing to the Panthers 6-5 in a really entertaining game. The Avs trailed by 2 goals almost the whole game. Duchene scored his 2nd of the game with just under a minute left in regultation to bring the Avs to within 1. With the net still empty, the Avs put heavy pressure on the Kittens and TJ Galiardi tied the game only seconds before regulation ended.
The season turned scary during the overtime as Keith Ballard, who nearly decapitated his goaltender Vokoun in their previous game, went hard into Craig Anderson and Andy had to leave the game with a neck injury. Budaj came in for the rest of OT and the shootout where only 1 goal was scored by Steven Weiss (who also had a hat trick in the game) for the winner.
The next night in Pittsburgh, Budaj had a really solid game despite the 4-1 outcome. Galiardi had scored in the 2nd period but the play was prematurely whistled dead so the goal did not count (even though the puck crossed the line before the whistle went). That wouldve given the Avs a 2-1 lead but instead it clearly took a lot out of the Avs and they then let Pittsburgh take a 2-1 lead as Sidney Crosby made a nice feed to Bill Guerin who put it by Budaj who had no chance at making the save. Crosby and the Pens got some help padding their stats by netting 2 empty netters in the final minutes.
Budaj got his 2nd straight start in Columbus in another solid performance by the boys in burgundy. They got off to a 2-0 lead which normally is like an Avs loss waiting to happen. The Jackets got 1 past Budaj and that looked like the comeback was about to start but then just after that, Wojtek Wolski made a nice pass (while also taking a hit) to Chris Stewart who took a wrister that squeaked past Steve Mason. The Jackets did get 1 more but the Avs still managed to hang on to the win.
Finally last night the Avs received another great effort by Budaj who recorded the shutout against the Blues. Chris Stewart was a beast in the game as he scored 2 goals and 1 assist for his 2nd career 3 point game. The line of him, Wolski, and Stastny was the best line all night and Coach Sacco played them every chance he got. Matt Duchene capped off the night with his beautiful wrister through Chris Mason to make it 4-0 in the 3rd.
Some other highlights and notes from the trip:
-Matt Duchene was named NHLs 3rd star of the week last week.
-Paul Stastny quietly moved into the top 10 in both points and assists.
-Wojtek Wolski is on a 7 game point streak where he has 10 points in those 7 games.
-Wolski also moved into 16th place on the scoring list.
-Wolski-Stastny-Stewart might become the Avs true #1 line after their performance against the Blues.
-Andy was sent back to Denver before the game in St. Louis to meet with team doctors. He may be ready for the game against the Wild.
The Avs return home tomorrow night when they host the Wild who has had the Avs number all season. The game will be on Versus so as long as you dont have Directv, like me, you'll get to see it.
Monday, November 30, 2009
I understand local blackouts and all when talking about TV and even online when the game is live but why black it out for 48 hours after the game is over? That is the case if you are in one of the teams' local markets. Apparently Albuquerque is in Denver's local television market so I wouldn't be able to watch either game for 48 hours after either game ended.
It makes sense when the game is blacked out locally on TV but usually you can catch a re-air later that day or night. With Gamecenter, you must wait 2 whole days. The whole reason I purchased Gamecenter was because I knew I was gonna be too busy to catch the game live so I would just check it out on the archive when I was around. That wasn't the case and I had to miss both of my team's games while I was away.
While I was away, I didn't appear to miss much as the team is starting to come back down to mediocrity. November has been the exact opposite of the red hot October. Only 4 wins in the 13 games so far this month, the Avs would like to end the month on a positive note with a win tonight against the Lightning in Tampa.
Not only are the Avs losing games now, but they are doing it in horrible fashion. They seem to want to just take the foot off the gas when they get a 2 goal lead. As we saw in the game against the Flyers, if we could just put that goal in that gives a 3 goal lead, we can win the game. That doesn't happen. 2 goal lead and then no more pressure and ultimately lose the game.
Games arent the only things being lost now, players are as well. Confirmed Hejduk will be out tonight with that knee issue. The huge loss for the Avs occured against the Wild on Saturday as a Wild player fell onto David Jones' knee causing a tear in his ACL. The injury will keep him out 4-6 months (possibly the rest of the season). Brian Willsie was recalled after Jones was placed on IR. What a horrible loss as Jones was beginning to have a break out season and looked really healthy. He has been showing that he will definitely be part of this team long term. I hope this injury doesn't affect his game when he's back.
Despite the injuries, the team is still getting some positive performances from key guys and even some stepping up their games. McLeod has been his usual self and scoring hard working goals. Durno and Hendricks have both been working hard and getting their chances. Biggest of all, Matt Duchene is starting to get some goals and even got his 1st goal at Pepsi Center on Saturday. The Avs will need Duchene to keep playing like this if they are even thinking about the playoffs.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Dater confirmed that Peter Budaj will make his first start tomorrow night against the Coyotes. He was supposed to make his first start two weeks ago but he was diagnosed with swine flu which caused him to miss all of last weeks games while Tyler Weiman filled in as Andy's back up.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Speaking of records, it would've been hard for the Avs to reach this great record without goalie Craig Anderson. Andy started all 14 games in the month so he is also 10-2-2 and is still yet to give up a soft goal. Obviously 10 wins in any month is a career high for him but it is also a team record edging out some guy named Patrick Roy.
It has been a team effort on the Avs part to get them to where they are currently sitting. Everyone is chipping in. Despite being benched in 2 games by Joe Sacco, Wojtek Wolski seems like he's finally starting to get it. He has been great in the last few games since his last benching. His 13 points are tied for 1st with Paul Stastny. The most surprising of contributions is coming from rookie Ryan O'Reilly. Tied for 2nd on the team with 11 points, he also sits 2nd overall in rookie scoring, 1 point behind Rangers rookie Michael Del Zotto.
One person who is bringing the team down (despite what the standings say) is Marek Svatos. He's got 2 goals, both of which came on power plays, and he is a team worst -7. Not only is his defense horrendous but he gets knocked off the puck too easily and gives away the puck to frequently. How Sacco has failed to bench this guy is beyond me but something tells me this will be Mr. Svatos' last season in Denver.
Just like the last few seasons, injuries have been a huge problem for the Avs. Throughout October, the Avs have lost Darcy Tucker, Cody McLeod, John Michael Liles, Peter Budaj, Matt Hendricks and most recently TJ Galiardi. Liles has already returned and Budaj, who had the swine flu, is also back with the team. Galiardi, who is a huge loss to the very good PK, is out 4-6 weeks with an ankle injury.
The Avs still have to work on some problems if they want to be taken seriously in the league. There are still issues with allowing the other teams to keep the puck in their end for long periods of time. They also have to start limiting the number of shots their opponents get on net. It's great that Andy is almost perfect everynight, but with the number of games it looks like he's going to get, he doesn't need to get that much work everynight.
Now that October is over, the Avs can look forward to a new month, November, that will see a few more home games than last month (7). The month gets kicked off tonight in Vancouver. Anderson will be making his 15 consecutive start for the Avs against former Av Andrew Raycroft since Luongo is out with a rib injury. Anderson shut the Nucks out in the 1st meeting October 3rd.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
We are just a day away from the beginning of Avs hockey AJ (after Joe). The Avs will begin their first season under new captain Adam Foote against the San Jose Sharks tomorrow night.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
The Avs made 3 cuts today that sent Chris Durno, Derek Peltier, and Tyler Weiman down to Lake Erie. With those 3 down, the Avs now have 24 players on the roster but Tom Preissing will be put on injured reserve making the 23 man roster complete.
That means that the two 18 year olds who were both just drafted in June will start the season with the big club. Matt Duchene was pretty much a lock for a spot but O'Reilly really impressed coach Joe Sacco enough to earn him a spot for the beginning of the season.
Duchene will more than likely begin the season as the team's 2nd line center behind Paul Stastny. O'Reilly should begin as the 3rd line center. This is shaping up to be a really young center group with Stastny being the dinosaur at just 23 years old.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The Avs just signed RW Milan Hejduk to a 1 year extension through the 2010-2011 season. No terms for he deal were announced but I would guess it's for around the same amount $3.9 million he currently makes maybe a little more now that he also has more of a leadership role. There is also no mention of a no trade clause but I also assume that would be on there since his current contract includes one.
Update: According to the Denver Post, the deal is for 3 million. Great to hear the Duke even took a paycut to stay with us.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Today's question will be discussing the Avs new bench boss, Joe Sacco and what is to come from this 1st year NHL head coach after 2 seasons with Monsters in Cleveland.
Also, today head on over to Avalanche of Thoughts for some other rumblings of the new Joe in town.
What will be the most successful change Sacco will bring to the team? Why?
The most successful change Joe Sacco will bring to this season's Avalanche will be making the team a tougher one to play against on nightly basis. He mentioned this fact numerous times during his press conference. Last season's Monsters showed that. They were basically forced to have an ECHL roster with all of the injury call ups the Avs needed and yet, they still were competing for a spot in the AHL playoffs. I believe he will achieve this by getting the players working hard and finishing checks, something last season's Avs did not do much. TJ Galiardi mentioned that was something that Sacco taught in his time with the Monsters in the Denver Post article.
Me - Avaholics
Work ethic, a thing this team lacked last year. They will fight in the corner, skate for loose pucks and all of the small things that make your team hard to play against. Simple stuff like having the defensemen play face-up to the skaters, defending the blue line, pressing the attack and creating break-out plays. If he can do that, the Avs should be better than last years incarnation. If not? well, we've see it all before. Oh and forget about the ghost of Patrick Roy watching over your shoulder, Sacco. This is your team right now and coach the best you can to make a decision of firing you as hard as possible.
Aaron M - HockeyBuzz
It's been said that Sacco has been a great developer of talent in Lake Erie, and that's a change that's not necessarily welcome for all of the obvious reasons, but if that's what the organization needs right now, let's go with it. Some coaches need to be able to manage talent, some need to develop it, and some need to do a bit of both. He's going to need to develop talent for a few seasons right now, and that is what he's known for, so hopefully that's the most successful change he's able to bring with him to the show.
Jay - The Avs Hockey Podcast
The change that Sacco will bring will be in the area of youth development. He proved successful in growing the youngsters in the minors, thus the logical move to elevate him to head coach for the rebuild. What Sacco must do is continue to grow the kids while serving as a steadying force during the inevitable hiccups that will come over the next couple of years. The sad part is that if he is successful in cultivating a strong team, he may end up as the odd man out when the time comes to take things to the next level, ala Michel Therrien in Pittsburgh. My hope is that his abilities will evolve along with the team and he will stick.
Aaron D - The Dog and Pony Show
From the sounds of how he ran the camps, it will be work ethic. Sacco sounds like a coach who is all business yet doesn't alienate his players. He seems to be able to push players to reach their potential and they appreciate and respond to the way he does it. That's exactly what this team is going to need as they grow up together. Too often last season, after one of their many losses, I never felt confident that Tony Granato was standing up and calling the guys on their inconsistent play. With Sacco, I'm already confident that he won't let players get away with not trying. Lucky for him, Arnie isn't around anymore. Or maybe it's lucky for Arnie...
Shane - AvsTalk
And there it is. Work ethic and developing the young guys is what we can all expect Joe Sacco to turn around with this year's Avalanche squad.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Ryan O'Reilly just signed a 3 year entry level deal with the Avs today. He hasn't been cut yet and has been getting praise by Joe Sacco all training camp and preseason.
When drafted, many people believed O'Reilly would need to spend another season in the OHL before making th jump. The fact that he has not been cut yet and is constantly talked about and is now signed makes me believe he will be on the Opening Night roster.
Now whether he does get cut or makes the team and stays past the 10th game is up to Ryan and the coaching staff. I'd love to see him get the 10 game tryout and see what he's made of.
The Avs today announced that they cut Ryan Stoa. Stoa was a player I thought would definitely be on the Avs roster. Dater had mentioned that he didn't look up to NHL speed but I figured his size would land him in a top 6 LW spot. Hopefully he will spend time working on this in Cleveland this season and we will see him in the not so distant future.
Stoa had a goal in the first preseason game against Dallas and only logged 8 minutes in last night's 2~1 victory against the Blues. None of those 8 minutes came in the 3rd period.
Avs also sent down defenseman Ryan Wilson. This was kind of expected since we curently have enough NHL dmen under contract. The latest cuts take the roster down to 27.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I felt Bates could'be been that true 3rd line center that we haven't seen in Denver since Nikolishin or Yelle. Over 50% in the circles and great on the PK.
As Dater mentioned, the Avs will probably use Galiardi as 3rd line center and go with a more offensive 3rd line which wouldn't suit Bates' style.
other cuts today included Tom Fritsche, Patrick Cusack, Samuel Finn, Peter Delmas, Brandon Maxwell, and Cedric McNicoll leaving the Avs with 49 players for the Burgandy and White game tomorrow night.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Over the next 3 days, 59 Avalanche hopefuls will be competing for a chance to make the big club for the 09-10 season. It will be mainly the forwards who are competing for spots as the Avs have a plethora of NHL defensemen. Early favorites to make the squad Matt Duchene and Ryan Stoa will get the opportunity to show the coaching staff what they bring against NHL caliber players.
The 3 day training camp concludes on Tuesday and on Wednesday the team will be split up for the annual Burgandy and White game. The night after, the Avs will open their 6 game preseason schedule against the Dallas Stars. For some great pictures of rookie camp check out The Avalanche Guild's photo album.
Friday, September 4, 2009
One name that you might not recognize is forward Shawn Bates who last played in the NHL for the Islanders two seasons ago.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
According to RDS and Mile High Hockey, the Avs have hired former goaltender Jocelyn Thibault as the team's new goaltending coach. He played 16 seasons in the NHL last in 07-08 with the Nordiques, Avs, Canadiens, Blackhawks, Penguins and Sabres. Thibault was also part of the deal that brought Patrick Roy to Denver.
This official retirement announcement came almost a year from when Parker had his contract with the Avs terminated because he failed to report to the Lake Erie Monsters last season.
Parker was also a member of the 2001 Cup team.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Forsberg stated that the foot was feeling good but he could not comment on his hockey future. This could be very intriguing news if it is fixed this time. The Avs could definitely use Peter's scoring and leadership. Having a guy like Peter around would work wonders with the young centers Stastny and Duchene. However, with owner Stan Kroenke trying to cut salary and GM Greg Sherman wanting to build with youth, it doesn't appear Forsberg would be in the team's plans.
Another note, Peter is listed on Team Sweden's roster for the Winter Olympics coming up in February. Hopefully it all works out for Peter and best of luck to him in his latest comeback attempt.
Monday, August 17, 2009
So these beauties are what a poster on Chris Creamer's Sports Logos message board claims will be the Avs next 3rd jersey. He claimed that he saw and took a picture with his camera of the actual jersey but wasn't allowed to share the picture with anyone so he designed one to represent it with Paint. If these are, infact, what the Avs will be wearing as their alternates next season, then it will be okay if they are going to be really bad because they will also look really bad doing it.
Among the things that stand out on here is the same "Colorado" that the Avs used in their last 3rds. I do like the fact that they keep the main logo on the shoulders of the jersey. The stripes on the sleeves look a litte out of place. If they were going to use stripes, it would've been better to bring back the old mountain stripes at the bottom of the jersey. The shade of blue used in this jersey seems to be paying a little hommage to the Quebec Nordiques which is a nice touch. One thing that isn't too noticeable is the "Avalanche" on the back of the collar.
At first sight, these things look horrendous but maybe with some changes to the striping, it could be a pretty nice 3rd. I was a fan of the old 3rds and the Nordique blue color is pretty nice choice so overall, I'd give it a C+.
Friday, August 14, 2009
It has been pretty well known that Avs owner Stan Kroenke is in full cost cutting mode. There is no way that he would want to pay someone like a Brett Clark, Ruslan Salei, or Tom Preissing the money they are making to sit out everynight as the team's 7th defenseman or rot away in the AHL. I believe one of these guys will be dealt before the start of the season. Only question is which one will it be?
-Tom Preissing was brought in mainly as a salary dump for the Kings as we dumped Smyth's loaded contract on them. He is capable of being a pretty solid bottom pairing defenseman and add a little scoring depth to our blue line. The main concern here is his health. He's only played 99 games over the last 2 seasons which could make trading him a little tough.
-Ruslan Salei, when he was acquired from Florida, brought that physical element that the Avs lacked. He also was not afraid to shoot the puck while the rest of our D seemed scared to shoot. It seemed like a full season under Jacques Cloutier's coaching turned him away from his style. With Cloutier out of the picture now, Salei should turn back into what he used to be and play a more physical style. One knock on Salei is that he takes a lot of stupid and lazy penalties. Other teams could see that as a problem but his physical play could prove valuable to a contending team as a nice bottom pairing defenseman.
-Brett Clark was a journeyman between the NHL and AHL until securing a full time spot with the Avs after the lockout. Clark regularly ranks among the top of the league in shot blocking. He is not afraid of sacrificing his body to block a shot. Because of this, though, he often puts himself out of position and gives up a scoring opportunity. He should use his shot blocking skills more in a way to break up a play rather than to just go down so easy to block the shot. If he could work more on staying in defensive position rather than flailing on the ice, he could be used as a good middle pairing defenseman for the Avs or a bottom pairing guy for a contending team.
Out of these three, I would love to keep Preising and Salei around and try to move Clark out. Shot blocking is great to have but not when one guy is attempting it the whole game and giving up valuable scoring opportunities for the opposition.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
14 COLORADO AVALANCHETHN only had the Coyotes finishing worse in the West. They were spot on with this prediction.
Why: Some believe Joe Sakic may not have retired if the Colorado Avalanche iced a Stanley Cup-contending team this year. Management’s off-season rebuilding of the roster rendered that option moot – and also severely hampered the Avs’ hopes at a playoff berth. They’ll need at least a couple years to hope to regain past glories.
First, Pierre Lacroix fires Francois Giguere. Under Giguere, the Avs missed the playoffs 2 of 3 seasons. A move that needed to be made as Giguere just seemed like he was just fine with losing not doing anything at the trade deadline last season. One area Giguere actually made some improvements for the team was in the prospect pool where he drafted some promising talent like Kevin Shattenkirk and Cameron Gaunce.
The organization gave itself a bad rap to the rest of the league when a report was leaked out that Pierre Lacroix had been meeting with Patrick Roy where Lacroix had offered the coaching and GM job to Roy. At the time, Tony Granato was still under contract as the head coach. Ultimately, Roy turned the job down to return to coach the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Pretty sure it won't be the last time we'll hear of the organization wanting Roy to be the coach.
Probably the best move of the offseason was the firings of Head Coach Tony Granato, assistants Jacques Cloutier (who has a long history with the club), and Dave Barr. Granato was too much of a players coach who never really instilled a system for the players to buy into. Cloutier was best known for turning our defensemen into non-physical, shot-blocking pylons. Replacing them will be former Lake Erie coach Joe Sacco. His assistants will be former Avs Sylvain Lefebvre and Steve Konowalchuk. Good moves as Sly should be able to re-teach our defensemen how to play physical and Kono should be able to improve our special teams.
That brings us to June 25th where the Avs received their highest draft pick since the team moved to Denver. They used that 3rd pick to take Matt Duchene who was seen by many scouts to be the best all around player in the draft. A 1-2 punch of Paul Stastny and Matty Duchene should be great for the future of the organization. The draft also saw the Avalanche select future 3rd line center, Ryan O'Reilly (33rd), D Stefan Elliot (49th), Tyson Barrie (64th), Goalies Kieran Millan (124th) and Brandon Maxwell (154th), and completed the draft with D Gus Young (184th).
Free agency saw the Avs bolster their goaltending with the addition of UFA Craig Anderson formerly of Florida. This is a signing to get excited about as Anderson has one of the best save % over the past few seasons. Only problem is he's never had a true shot as a number 1. Sadly, Peter Budaj was not only re-signed but also given a pretty nice raise. I guess he'll be good as a back up for Anderson but the raise wasn't deserved. Free agency also saw fav favorite Ian Laperriere leave to sign with the Flyers, Andrew Raycroft sign with Vancouver, and best of all Tyler Arnason sign with the Rangers.
Only days after free agency started, the changes kept rolling in. Ryan Smyth, a guy that gave it his all everynight and played with more heart than almost all players in the league, waived his no-trade clause and was dealt to LA where he will finish his contract with the Kings. Coming back in the deal was a solid potentially #2 defenseman Kyle Quincey, veteran (and somewhat injury plagued) defenseman Tom Preissing and a 5th round pick.
Then a move that changes the whole identity of the Avalanche, captain Joe Sakic decides to hang up his skates after 20 seasons in the League, all with the Quebec/Colorado franchise. Sure, Joe was on the back end of his career and couldn't play a whole season in each of his last 2 seasons but having to see a jersey with a C on it and not see the number 19 on it will take some getting used to. Joe Sakic's jersey will be retired opening night October 1st to the Pepsi Center rafters.
The losses of Sakic, Smyth and Lappy is really going to hurt in the leadership department but there are still some pretty decent vets on the team for leadership roles. Adam Foote and Milan Hejduk will have to step up to take this role next season or maybe one of the young guys (looking at you Mr. Stastny) will step up and begin to lead this team. Whoever wears the C next season is going to have huge shoes to fill.