Friday, August 28, 2009

Foppa sighting

According to TSN, Peter Forsberg played in a preseason game for his hometown team, Modo, last night. Foppa played on the top line and was held scoreless but Modo defeated Geneva 2-1. This is the first (somewhat) meaningful game Forsberg has played since undergoing yet another surgery on his problematic foot.

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

New Avs 3rd Jersey?

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

Which defenseman should be out?

In the deal that saw Ryan Smyth leave to LA, the Avs took back two NHL defensemen in Quincey and Preissing. That brings the total number of NHL defensemen on the Avs roster to 7. The others would be Liles, Hannan, Foote, Clark, and Salei. Also waiting for regular NHL ice time is prospect Kyle Cumiskey.

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.

Sidney Crosby priceless

Oh how that helmet is just so fitting for the boy. Special day for a special boy.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Let the Predictions Begin!

So it looks like the first of many predictions are in. The Hockey News began there 2009-10 regular season predictions. No surprise where they predicted the Avs will finish and unlike last season, it's pretty easy to agree with this one.
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.
THN only had the Coyotes finishing worse in the West. They were spot on with this prediction.

The Offseason So Far

We are around the midway point of the NHL's offseason, one that saw many changes go on around the once elite Avalanche organization. Some changes for the better, some not so much. Lets recap.

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.