Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
While most people were gob-smacked by their success, former Avalanche forward and four-time Stanley Cup champion Claude Lemieux was not. Having played with Roy in Colorado, Lemieux knew that Roy's passionate personality would take the team places no one expected.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Lemieux told ESPN.com in a recent phone conversation. “I know Patrick is a good coach, more than a good coach -- a really good coach. I knew he would have a big impact. He’s so committed to the game, he’s so well-prepared, and he understands winning. He has been a winner for life and that only translates to being contagious to players.”
Lemieux said he actually expected the Avalanche to fare far better in 2013, but knew it was only a matter of time once Roy was hired. The Avalanche lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Wild, but gained valuable postseason experience, which Lemieux hopes will aid them heading into their 2014-15 campaign.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Here's the Avalanche's biggest problem as veterans prepare to report for physicals Thursday: It's difficult to come out and declare that you don't want to be as successful in the regular season as you were a year ago.
You can't really say that to your players, to your fans, to the media, to anyone.
But if an adoption of a collective veteran mind-set personified by one of the game's top leaders, Jarome Iginla, makes Colorado better suited for a deeper postseason run in 2015, a regression in the regular-season standings is more than acceptable.
In the first season of Joe Sakic being atop the hockey hierarchy and Patrick Roy behind the bench, the Avs stunningly rebounded. They rang up 112 points and, thanks to the St. Louis Blues' collapse down the stretch, won the Central Division. They also posted the second-best record in the Western Conference and third-best overall in the NHL.
This is a huge compliment, not a slight, but there's no way the Avalanche truly was the third-best team in the league. It was one of the more monumental single-season turnarounds in the history of the league. But then came the first-round loss in seven games to Minnesota, which went down as failure despite the fact that the Wild's payroll was $11 million higher.
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
Does Jarome Iginla have much left in the tank? The numbers indisputably say yes. Iginla led a good Boston team in goals last season (30). Not since the 1999-2000 season has Iginla failed to score 30 goals in a season (excluding the NHL's 2012-13 lockout year). He scored 29 in the 1999-2000 season for the Flames.
He is 37 and not the fastest skater on the ice, but all indications are that his hands and finishing ability remain among the elite in the NHL. He also gives the Avs something they have lacked since Chris Stewart was traded: a power forward from the right side.
Will the defense still be a liability? The Avalanche allowed too many shots last season, an average of 32.7 per game. That ranked 25th in the league. The only significant addition to the top six is veteran Brad Stuart, who turns 35 in November. While Stuart adds toughness and experience, the overall defensive corps remains the Avs' most worrisome area. Players such as Erik Johnson, Tyson Barrie and Nick Holden will have to be just as good, and likely better, if the Avs are to make things easier on themselves and Varlamov.
DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche announced today that the team has signed defenseman Tyson Barrie to a two-year contract through the 2015-16 season.
"Tyson is a big part of the young nucleus of our team," said Avalanche Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic. "He is a gifted young defenseman who brings a lot of offense. We are pleased to have him under contract and look forward to his contribution this upcoming season.”
Barrie, 23, led all Colorado defensemen with 13 goals this past season, the most by an Avs blueliner since 2006-07 (John-Michael Liles - 14). Barrie finished second among Avalanche defensemen in both points (38) and assists (25) while appearing in 64 games.
The legal case for the loss of my NHL career is over. I have accepted a settlement agreement which has now been finalized and signed by all the parties.
This day comes with mixed emotions. I am extremely thankful for the compassion and encouragement of so many people over the past decade. These years have been very difficult for me and my family. The injuries I sustained in my rookie year, the years I spent trying to return to my NHL career, and dealing with the loss of my career and the ensuing legal case, have been long and trying experiences. While nothing replaces the loss of one’s dream, I am happy my family will no longer be burdened by an unresolved legal case, and I am grateful to be able to move forward.
I thank the fans and the public who have supported me so passionately and tirelessly, not just across Canada, and the U.S., but around the world – your support has meant more than you can imagine. I thank the people who supported me in this legal case; your courage, and integrity are an inspiration. I thank former Chief Justice of Ontario Warren Winkler for helping with this settlement. Finally, I thank my friends, and especially my family, for your unwavering love and devotion which kept me going over these last ten years.
I look forward to continuing to bring more attention and resources to the prevention and treatment of concussions and other head and neck injuries in sport, through The Steve Moore Foundation.
While my own hockey career was cut short, my love for the game has never diminished.
from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,
Less than a month shy of its preseason opener, the Avalanche is feeling stronger than it was a year ago. The toughness and depth gaps between the Avs and the Los Angeles Kings, defending Stanley Cup champions, along with the Western Conference giant Anaheim Ducks, seem to have diminished.
Executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic, defensive assistant coach Adam Foote and newly signed right winger Jarome Iginla recently spoke about the improvements while trying to maintain their excitement about defending their Central Division title and making another step in the playoffs.
"Last year we were dealing with trying to win back the trust within the community and belief in the team, and this year is a different challenge," Sakic said. "We did so well last year, but (now) it's to improve and get to the next step, and obviously the next step is not to just make the playoffs — it's to improve in the playoffs."
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Once a settlement is 100 percent confirmed, the Avalanche, which periodically honors its alumni, should schedule a Steve Moore Night during the 2014-15 season.
Since Patrick Roy was hired as coach, he often has spoken of partnerships, including between the team and its fans. Moore played 12 games with the Avalanche in the final two seasons before Roy's retirement, and 57 more in 2003-04 with Joe Sakic still as his captain.
A Steve Moore Night would not just be for Moore. It would be for the fans who have booed Bertuzzi every time he touched the puck at the Pepsi Center the past 10 years. It would be for those who consider loyalty to the Avalanche to include remaining disgusted by what happened to Moore in Vancouver, and perhaps even disappointed by the franchise's responses since. In the aftermath, Moore and his family thanked Avalanche executive Pierre Lacroix and the team for their support, but moves since have been befuddling.
Those responses include the 2005 signing of ex-Canuck Brad May; Sakic's 2008 acknowledgment that he had been part of a group vacation trip with Bertuzzi, a 2006 Canadian Olympic teammate, and that he considered him a good guy who made a mistake; and continued public silence about Moore. That all contradicted the much-touted hockey tenet of all-for-one and one-for-all.
"I'll be a depth guy (with the Avs), hopefully they're looking at me as a role model-type, someone who takes care of himself off the ice."
"I'm still committed to doing the little things to keep me where I'm at, having a job in the best league in the world."
-Jesse Winchester of the Colorado Avalanche. More on Winchester from Todd Hambleton of the Cornwall Standard Freeholder.
DENVER – Colorado Avalanche Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic issued the following statement today regarding the retirement of goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
"On behalf of the Colorado Avalanche, I would like to congratulate Jean-Sebastien on an outstanding hockey career. His achievements speak for themselves, from winning the Stanley Cup to winning the Conn Smythe, Jiggy was always a top-notch goaltender. He was also a very important part of our team during the past three seasons, providing veteran leadership and stability in net. We wish him and his family the best of luck."
from Rick Westhead of TSN,
Steve Moore's brother Mark says there is no deal between Steve and Todd Bertuzzi, a bombshell claim that casts doubt on claims made Wednesday by the NHL and Bertuzzi's lawyers that a settlement had been reached.
"I got a text message from Steve last night and he's very concerned," Mark Moore told TSN. "He says there is no deal yet and isn't sure what to do about all the media speculation.
"Because of the injury he has trouble making decisions and so he doesn't know how to handle the media."
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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