Friday, February 11, 2011

Return of the King

Peter Forsberg has finished all of his immigration stuff and joined the team in Columbus yesterday. He took part in this mornings skate and then announced that he will be in the lineup tonight when the Avs play the Blue Jackets. He will play on a line with Milan Hejduk and Matt Duchene.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Time to worry?

Ok so it is well known now that this Avs team is starting to sink and a top draft pick is starting to look like a reality. The defense has been terrible (why did we trade Hannan again?) and the goaltending has been a little sub-par (being very generous). They have only seen 5 victories in the 13 games since the new year started. This slide has taken the Avs all the way down to 12th place in the still tight Western Conference. While this is starting to look all doom and gloom, I'm here to offer a some sunshine on the whole situation.

The Standings

At first glance, the Avs look like they're out of it being in 12th place and all. However, the Avs sit just 3 points behind 8th place Phoenix. Wait, it gets better, the Avs also have 2 games in hand over both the 7th place Wild and the 8th place Coyotes.

Injured players returning

David Jones left last Wednesday's game against the Coyotes after suffering a shoulder injury. It was later reported he would be out indefinitely. Well apparently indefinitely means a little over a week as Jones is set to play tomorrow afternoon against the Ducks. He will add some much needed size and hopefully some scoring.

Ryan O'Reilly who hasn't played since January 14 against the Wild after that scary crash into the boards won't be suiting up tomorrow like Jones but he will be back in the next few games. He's been practicing with the team all week. He'll be a huge upgrade on the defensive end and penalty kill.

While probably a ways off, Peter Mueller has been skating with the team finally. This has been his first time on ice since his latest concussion suffered in the preseason. He is probably still anywhere from a few weeks to a few months away from returning but his presence on the ice alone should give the team and the fans a little more excitement.

The Foppa factor

By now, everyone is aware that former Avs star Peter Forsberg has been practicing with the team in hopes that he can return to the NHL this season. His foot appears to be feeling much better and he should be making his decision pretty soon. I'd have to agree with Dater that we will be getting a decision before the team leaves for the next road trip on Sunday.

With the loss of Tomas Fleischmann and not having Mueller all season, the Avs have become short at left wing. Forsberg would be a huge upgrade at the position even if he isn't at 100%. He's a guy who is nearly impossible to take off the puck. His vision can only be rivaled by guys like Sidney Crosby, Joe Thornton or Henrik Sedin. And the main thing Foppa will bring (other than ticket sales) is veteran leadership for the young guys.

Trade Deadline

While the Avs look like they'd be in a position to sell off pieces, the standings are too tight right now and they're still in alright position to make the playoffs. The biggest need for this team right now is defense and goaltending. Upgrading the defense would probably help in the goaltending department as Anderson and Budaj are being peppered with high percentage shots every night. Some players the Avs should consider to help on the back end include Boston's Mark Stuart who is rumored to be on the block as well as Edmonton's Kurtis Foster. Another possibility is Chris Phillips from Ottawa who could just need a change of scenery. The Avs need to get bigger on the back end and these guys would help in that department.

While it is looking like there may be little hope that the Avs will make the playoffs, with the right moves made by the players and management, there is still a lot of reason to believe that this team can do it. It needs to start happening now though before it is too late. Already feels like playoff hockey.