Kukla's Korner Hockey
“I have faith in them, but to me, the start is not a core thing; it’s a team thing. I think you see we’re trying to hold people accountable. We know we have certain guys who can give more, and those guys know they can give more, but it’s not like it’s a whole thing. We’re not as consistent as we need to be. We didn’t win two straight Cups and have that leeway. We have to play with that urgency every night on a consistent basis to be successful.”
-Joe Sakic, GM of the Colorado Avalanche on his core players and team. More on the Avalanche from Terry Frei of the Denver Post.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
As the Avalanche practiced Wednesday morning at Family Sports Center, only the New York Islanders, with 18, had fewer points than Colorado’s 19. And later, when the Isles knocked off the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 in Brooklyn, it left Colorado and the Arizona Coyotes tied for the lowest total in the NHL.
That’s how damaging an 0-2-1 start to a five-game homestand that continues against Columbus on Thursday has been for the Avalanche. The latest stumble was a 5-3 loss to Nashville on Tuesday, and the struggles again raise the question of whether the Avalanche’s much-cited faith and commitment to its “core” — generally conceded to be six players — has been misguided, and whether that core should be broken up.
Defenseman Erik Johnson, one of the six, acknowledged the core group needs to kick its game up a notch.
“It doesn’t matter how many points you have or how much you’re playing, it’s the record that indicates how you’re playing,” Johnson said. “Clearly, the record is not good enough. … Nobody can look in the mirror and say we’re playing good enough because our record doesn’t indicate it. As a group of individuals who feels a lot of responsibility for the team, I think you go out and do your best every game and you realize there are consequences no matter what.
“You always want to play and be our there in key situations and get the opportunities but I’ve enjoyed playing with ‘Combs’ and Mitchell over the last six games or so. We’ve been getting better. We’re pretty much the third line and being on the third line, you want to be a part of and be one of the best third lines around. That’s our goal...."
“I’d like to be out there, everybody wants to play as much as they can and be in situations to contribute, that’s the fun of the game, right? You want to be out as much as you can. But, yeah, I’m fine, I just want to win and I think being on that line, we can be good at it. You have to produce but we’ve been solid. You want to go out there and turn the tide and it’s a little bit of a different role, but it’s fun and I think we can still get some results doing that, too.”
-Jarome Iginla of the Colorado Avalanche. Terry Frei of the Denver Post has more on Iginla.
via Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Herald...
with Versteeg gasping for air as he retreated to the visitors’ locker-room. “I thought it went pretty well until I got in that car accident there,” Versteeg said with a grin. “That’s definitely, I would say, up there with the hardest I’ve ever been hit. When you can’t breathe for a minute, it’s pretty scary.” For Brouwer, the scary part was the thought that Versteeg might be headed back to the injured list. “When you see you’re going to hit your own player, all you try to do is make it as soft as possible,” Brouwer said.
via Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,
The game got chippy late in the second period, leading to four combined power plays. Edmonton forward Matthew Benning delivered a low, neutral-zone hit that appeared to injure MacKinnon and teammate Joe Colborne confronted Benning, but Colborne was given the extra minor.
Watch the hit below...
from Jeff Bell of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Winnipeg forward Nikolaj Ehlers fired a pass in his own end that somehow squeezed through the pads of goalie Michael Hutchinson 1:23 into the extra period to give the Colorado Avalanche a crazy 3-2 triumph over the Jets Friday night in Denver....
"I thought I had two guys right by me and I just tried to throw it in the middle and get (our) two guys going," he explained....
Jets head coach Paul Maurice said his club did plenty of things right, flukey goal notwithstanding.
"He threw the puck at the net, it shouldn’t have gone in. It’s a bad break," said Maurice. "It really had nothing to do with the game or how we played. We played a really hard-fought road game. It’s a good point on the road, good effort."
more on the game...
Game highlights are below...
Marek Svatos was only 34 years old and no word at this point on how he died.
DENVER – Colorado Avalanche Executive Vice President/General Manager Joe Sakic today released the following statement on the passing of former Avalanche player Marek Svatos.
“The entire Avalanche organization is extremely saddened by this news. Marek was a tremendous person, a talented hockey player and a great teammate. Our thoughts, prayers and our deepest sympathy to his wife, children and his entire family.”
from Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post,
If Subban were wearing an Avs sweater, Colorado would be confident of returning to the NHL playoffs after a two-year absence, instead of hoping to sneak in the back end of the Western Conference bracket.
And if general manager Joe Sakic had pulled off a trade with Montreal for Subban instead of watching an elite puck-moving defenseman go to Nashville, maybe there would be more enthusiasm in Denver for the Avs than the Chicago Cubs.
The Avalanche lost 5-1 on Tuesday to Nashville.
“The work boots and work hats weren’t on,” captain Gabriel Landeskog said. Not that anybody in town noticed. It’s Raiders week and the Cubbies are wrestling a goat in the World Series. There were so many empty seats in the Pepsi Center, the Avs should have let folks in for free with a two-drink minimum.
It’s hard to watch this hockey team without a beer in your hand. Yes, Nathan MacKinnon can fly and Matt Duchene can score. But what Colorado management sees in goalie Semyon Varlamov at $6 million per year escapes me. What’s more, if the Avalanche really cared about Varly, why hasn’t Sakic gotten the 28-year-old goalie some meaningful help on the blue line?
Watch the game highlights below...
from Adrian Dater at WoodyPaige.com,
Plan the parade? No. Block off time in mid-April to attend Avalanche playoff games? Not yet.
But let’s give the beleaguered ice men of Denver a little nice pub here. It might be the last chance for a good while.
The Avs, YOUR Avs, are 3-2-0 after the first five games of the 2016-17 season. Big deal, three and two. Alert the media.
But the record is impressive when you consider:
*These are the Avs.
*All five teams the Avalanche has played made the playoffs last season, with two (Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay) making the NHL’s Final Four, and the other three (Dallas, Washington and Florida) winning their divisions.
from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,
Avalanche left wing Gabe Landeskog acknowledged Thursday that he was pleased to learn he will remain captain and that new coach Jared Bednar represents change from something that wasn’t working.
Landeskog, who is preparing for his sixth NHL season, and fellow Swede Carl Soderberg practiced under Bednar for the first time Thursday. Both were given a couple days off after Sweden was eliminated from the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto.
“It needs to be said that I respected Patty on and off the ice and I enjoyed working with him for three years,” Landeskog said about former coach Patrick Roy, who abruptly resigned Aug. 11 after two nonplayoff seasons. “But I’m really exited about having Jared here. It feels like he brings in a lot of fresh air and comes in with a lot of optimism about this group. It feels like he believes in us.”
Under Roy, the Avs played too much in their own zone. Shots-against average was among the league’s highest, which limited time in the offensive zone. Bednar wants to push the pace with a north-south breakout that doesn’t allow the puck going backward.
from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,
Jarome Iginla enters his 20th NHL season — third with the Avalanche — still looking like a prizefighter in his prime. The right winger’s only body fat is of the essential kind, and his appearance offsets his age, 39, as well as the status of his contract, which expires after this season and could be his last.
At Joe Sakic’s celebrity golf tournament earlier this month, Iginla repeatedly said that his ability to play physical at this stage of his career will lead him to success — this season and perhaps beyond.
“I want to be better than I was last year,” said Iginla, whose 22 goals in 2015-16 were second on the team but fewest since his rookie season in 1996-97. “I had a good start last year, a tough middle and a good last quarter — as far as my play. At times I got away from being gritty or aggressive enough. I’d like to get back to that. I’m not trying to save myself for anything. I want to come back and be physical, a net-front presence and I still enjoy playing a lot. I still feel good. I feel strong. I want to be apart of, first of all, the playoffs, and I feel that we can do that. And once you get there, you never know, but with this group it’s getting better and better.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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