Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Matt Duchene? Hardly surprising. Ryan O’Reilly? Now that one we didn’t see coming three weeks ago.
The Colorado Avalanche announced this week they’re keeping both 18-year-old centers and not returning them to junior hockey, a huge accomplishment for both kids. Once they play in their 10th NHL game Friday night, their NHL entry-level contracts kick in regardless of whether they are later sent back down to junior. They’re in for the long haul.
“Certainly their play dictated the majority of that decision, along with the fact our head coach and coaching staff were very comfortable with these two players, both Matt and Ryan, not only with their minutes but also in crucial parts of the game,” Avs GM Greg Sherman told ESPN.com.
But it’s not an easy decision in the world of this collective-bargaining agreement.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
The news last week that Quebec City Mayor Regis Lebeaume has commissioned a feasibility study as the first step toward building a new arena caught my attention. I’m both rooting for it to become reality and for the NHL to return to Quebec City.
All the talk seems to concede that, a la the Cleveland Browns, the new franchise would revive the Nordiques nickname. The only reason that would be significant here is that the Avalanche recognizes the franchise’s seasons in Quebec in its records, while not its retired numbers. So if the Nordiques name is revived, the Avalanche would have to decide whether to “return” those franchise records to Quebec too.
more on the Avalanche and their surprising start…
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
SN: How would you explain your team’s fast start overall?
Stastny: I think we’re just four lines playing with confidence. Everyone is playing well from all our defensemen — starting with our goaltending, from the back end to the front end. Our special teams are big. We’re killing well and have a good power play. Any time you’re doing that, you’re giving yourself a chance to win.
SN: Honestly, have you been surprised by the strong start?
Stastny: Yeah, you never know. You look at the schedule at the beginning of the season, you tell yourself you can win some of these, you could lose some of these. We’ve played some pretty good teams. There are no easy games these days….
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Craig Anderson showed why he’s the absolute steal of the free agent season so far. He allowed two goals tonight – one on the power play and the other that should never have counted. A puck hit the mesh behind him, which should have nullified the sequence that led to Plekanec’s tying goal, and then there was the issue of Kyle Quincey getting his stick illegally knocked out of his hands right after that.
I still haven’t seen Anderson let in a truly soft goal yet. He’s just been very, very good.
more on the Avalanche…
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The first-year GM of the Colorado Avalanche walked past a gaggle of media Tuesday at Air Canada Centre in hockey’s self-proclaimed mecca.
“Who is that?” asked one high-profile NHL media member.
Greg Sherman, that’s who it was. And he, like many of the players on his team, is recognized by few people.
Just who are these 2009-10 Colorado Avalanche and how the heck have they started the season with nine out of a possible 12 points?
from Damian Cox of the Toronto Star,
...But you sure don’t go out of your way to comfort the enemy, right?
Well, apparently, if you’re the Leafs, you do.
Mired in a depressing five-game winless streak to start the season, the game operations staff thought that with the Colorado Avalanche in town Tuesday night it was a perfect time to pay tribute to Darcy (Sideshow Bob) Tucker, one of the feistier, most popular and more publicity-conscious Leafs to play in Toronto in recent years.
First came a generous video collage 10 minutes into the game and then a loud ovation, to which Tucker responded by standing at the Colorado bench and waving to the Air Canada Centre faithful.
All that was missing was a bouquet of roses.
While the fans clapped and the Avs players tapped their sticks, the players who currently skate for the Leafs sat stonefaced on the bench or stood motionless on the ice.
“No impact on us as players at all,” insisted veteran winger Jamal Mayers.
from Rick Sadowski at NHL.com,
Joe Sakic returned to the area where he has always felt the most comfortable—the ice.
But on Thursday, he stepped onto the ice to be honored by the Colorado Avalanche, who retired his No. 19 jersey and raised a banner honoring their longtime captain to the Pepsi Center rafters, joining those of Patrick Roy (No. 33) and Ray Bourque (No. 77).
“You never could imagine you’re going to have that honor, have your number raised up in the rafters – not growing up, not ever,” Sakic said following a 45-minute ceremony before the Avalanche and San Jose Sharks met in the season opener for both teams.
“To see it up there with Patrick and Ray, it’s a tremendous honor.”
continued and watch the full ceremony (42 minutes) below…
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
He’s just a kid to some, but Stastny is the Avs’ highest-paid player and the one the Avs will most rely on in the 2009-10 season, which starts Thursday. That’s OK. Stastny is used to growing up fast.
“It comes with the territory. I know what’s expected of me here, but I expect as much or more from myself,” he said. “We’ve got a younger team now, and I know I need to be an example to some of the younger guys. But I’m excited about it. I got to learn from some great players before me, so I hope to do some of the same things to other guys.”
Stastny will start the first year of a five-year, $33 million contract this season. He is eager to prove he’s worth the money and to make people forget about last season. Injuries limited him to 45 games, and he had the worst point production (11 goals, 36 points) of his three-year career.
“I think everyone wants to kind of throw away last year, but at the same time remember how bad it was and use it as a reminder we don’t want it to be that way again,” he said. “I learned a lot last year, even though I didn’t play much.”
DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has signed forward Milan Hejduk to a one-year contract extension through the 2010-11 season.
Hejduk, who is entering his 11th season in the NHL, has spent his entire career with the Colorado Avalanche. Originally selected by the Quebec Nordiques in the fourth round (87th overall) of the 1994 Entry Draft, Hejduk has recorded 312 goals and 345 assists for 657 points in 783 career games. He ranks fourth in franchise history in both games played and goals, and sits fifth in points. Hejduk is the franchise’s all-time leader in regular season overtime goals with nine and his 52 career game-winning tallies rank second in franchise history behind only Joe Sakic (86).
“Milan has been an integral part of this organization over the past 10 seasons,” said Avalanche General Manager Greg Sherman. “We are pleased to have him under contract and are counting on his leadership both on and off the ice to help this team move forward into the future.”
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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