Kukla's Korner Hockey
From John Branch at the New York Times (Wednesday edition),
“I wish I had played 40 games instead of 9, but that’s just the way it is,” Forsberg said in the locker room Sunday. “On the other hand, I should be pretty rested coming into the playoffs.”
Ploy or not, fans have found themselves attracted, again, to Forsberg’s rare blend of grit and artistry. He played his first nine N.H.L. seasons with the franchise, helping lead it to Stanley Cup championships in 1996 and 2001. His vaunted place in local lore was cemented when, during the 2001 playoffs, he had his ruptured spleen removed after helping the Avalanche clinch a spot in the conference finals.
from Adrian Dater at All Things Avs,
I’m officially picking the Wild in six games over our brave boys.
How could I pick the Wild after I dared to poke some fun at Marian Gaborik and rip the wondrous skills of Derek Boogaard? First of all, settle down all you Wild lovers. It’s a hockey blog for crying out loud. Let’s have a little fun now and then, sheesh.
But I’m picking the Wild because of three guys some of you may never have heard of ’til now: Stephane Veilleux, Branko Radivojevic and Mikko Koivu. Along with being one of the all-time hard-to-pronounce lines, they’re the Wild’s checking line, and I just think they are the major difference over the Avs.
Adrian Dater of the Denver Post feels the Sharks would have been a better matchup for the Avs instead of the Wild.
Watch Adrian in action…
from Adrian Dater at All Things Avs,
The Avs no doubt are saying their prayers that a guy like Boogaard will be in the lineup a LOT in this series. He’s slow, not skilled and if he wants to fight guys all night and/or take dumb penalties, the Avs will take that all night long.
I don’t know what to think about the Wild. They’re a very good team, fast, with some good skill. But their defense isn’t overpowering. I mean, this is a D that suits up a has-been like Sean Hill, a soon-to-be has-been like Keith Carney and, lest anybody in Denver forget, Martin Skooooo(no, those are boos)la.
But I got a whiff tonight of a team that talks a little too much for one that has won the square root of Sweet Fanny Adam in this league.
from Adrian Dater at the Denver Post,
A lot of people on the Avalanche don’t have a contract for next season — including the coach, Joel Quenneville. Avs general manager Francois Giguere said Thursday it is too soon to discuss the future of Quenneville or any of the other potential high-profile unrestricted free agents.
“When the season’s over, we’re going to sit down and really evaluate all our guys,” Giguere said. “We have coaches, we have players (unsigned), but I’m not in a position where I want to discuss those things.”
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
Because of the NCAA Frozen Four at the Pepsi Center, the Avs will start a first-round series on the road, even if they win the division and gain home-ice advantage - still a possibility. For that to happen, the Avs will need to beat Minnesota in regulation Sunday in their season finale, and have Calgary win in regulation tonight against the Wild but then lose to Vancouver in the Flames” final game.
Giguere said a schedule hasn’t been finalized with the NHL should the above happen, but most likely the Avs would have a 2-3-1-1 format, with a seventh game at the Pepsi Center.
from All Things Avs,
What better place to be than Northern California, this or any time of year? That’s my best bet for where the Avs will open up, at the H-P Pavilion against the Sharks.
A quick couple of thoughts here before the ambien fully kicks in: I think the Avs would be better off playing the Sharks in the first round, instead of Minnesota. I know San Jose has been the hottest team in the West in the second half, and that their defense was transformed with the addition of Bryan Campbell, and Joe Thornton is a monster and Patrick Marleau has been a lot better. I get that.
I still think that’s the best matchup for Colorado. I don’t think the Avs fear Evgeni Nabokov much. I think, of the top eight teams in the West, he is in the middle of the pack among goalies.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
The Avalanche didn’t sign Ryan Smyth to a five-year, $31.25 million contract for him to be a third-liner.
But with Colorado in position to clinch a playoff spot tonight, when the Avs face the Vancouver Canucks at GM Place, that is what Smyth has been of late — a third-liner.
“Whatever Coach wants me to play, I’ll play,” Smyth said.
With 14 goals in 53 games in a season disrupted by a broken ankle and a shoulder injury, Smyth will likely have to be far more effective — and more often revert to his trademark gritty play around the net — if Colorado has any shot of getting out of the first round of the playoffs.
from All Things Avs,
I’m officially throwing in the towel when it comes to trying to make sense of anything to do with Peter Forsberg. Really, I give up.
I will never, ever, write anything other than Forsberg is “questionable” to play a game. His latest absence is just another train wreck of head-scratching misinformation/mysteriousness.
I should have known better than to swallow the Avs’ company line - again - yesterday, when I wrote what they said, that he was “likely” to play today in Minnesota. Forsberg did not play today, with yet another alleged “groin” injury.
from the Denver Post,
Denver Post columnist Woody Paige, Avs beat writer Adrian Dater and Post news staff writer Kevin Simpson — a former sports reporter and longtime Avs fan — sat down recently for a roundtable session….
How far does the Avalanche advance in the playoffs?
Dater: The Avs do not win the Cup, I’m sorry to say. I don’t think they even make it out of the first round. They’ve yet to develop the kind of consistency and chemistry they’re going to need. But, I will give one caveat: If they can somehow keep Forsberg healthy, I think they’ve got a shot. But I think they lose in seven games in the first round.
Paige: If they can get to sixth or seventh place, they can be a scary team. I don’t think teams are going to want to play them. This is a team that is better than a lot of teams ahead of them, if Forsberg and Sakic stay healthy.
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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