Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
News: Big jump to first place comforting and vexing (Denver Post)
Views: Yes, that was the Colorado Avalanche in first place in the Northwest Division this morning.
That the Avs have been able to even hang in the Western Conference race with long-term injuries to Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth and Paul Stastny qualifies as one of the feel-good stories of the season so far.
And go directly to the head of the class and collect a gold star if you predicted they would do it with Jose Theodore in goal.
It’s probably a stretch to suggest Theodore is actually worth his $5.3 million cap hit – after all he’s got a ton of making up to do – but there is little doubt Theodore is playing his best hockey in years.
many more News & Views…
from Adrian Dater at All Things Avs,
When is this going to end? I mean, Stastny practiced today and looked great. Then his appendix bursts afterward. Now you’ve got an Avalanche team without Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth and Paul Stastny in the lineup - with Sakic and Smyth out until March 1 at least.
It’s going to be up to No. 60 now, along with Nos. 23, 15, 40, 8, 39 and 37. Yes, I think T.J. Hensick is going to have to really come through now, and he’s got the chance to do it.
Anyone get the feeling Dater watches too much NASCAR?
from the Colorado Avalanche,
The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that forward Paul Stastny will miss approximately two to three weeks after undergoing surgery this afternoon to remove his appendix.
“Paul experienced some pain in his abdominal area today,” said Avalanche Head Athletic Trainer Matthew Sokolowski. “Further examination by our medical staff following practice determined he needed the procedure. We expect him to fully recover in two to three weeks.”
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
Tattoos cover roughly half of Jose Theodore’s upper body. They are elaborately stenciled works, some in dedication to his wife and daughter. Some seem to just signify rock ‘n’ roll cool associated with his hobby of strumming a guitar away from the hockey rink.
Winning has a funny way of making players seem cool again. Theodore’s locker stall has been bereft of reporters much of the past couple of seasons with the Avalanche, but has become a crowded place again. There is much more notice, therefore, of the intricacies of those tattoos — along with anything else on his body, or mind.
via Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Wondering what Avalanche veterans Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth are thinking as they wait out their injuries and won’t be playing again until at least March?
Could it have Sakic pondering retirement — or have him more determined not to go out this way?
Problem is, the Avalanche’s policy is that injured players are not available to the media, and it’s a prohibition the players are told to honor, too.
It’s not a savvy move for a franchise attempting to remain in the forefront of the Denver sports market.
from Adrian Dater at All Things Avs,
OK, here’s my prediction of something soon regarding the Avalanche: they will make a BIG pitch to Peter Forsberg IF IF IF he decides he can play again this year. That decision should come soon. I’m not hearing anything overly negative about his latest condition, so it might happen.
Here’s why the Avs will make a big pitch if he wants to play: First, he’s still Peter Forsberg. Second, the Avs are DESPERATE for some offensive punch right now. Third, the Avs need to get some buzz back with their fans and sell some tickets.
from Terry Frei at All Things Avs,
...but I think it’s clear now that the Avs have a pair of backup goalies — at best. (I know a lot of fans believe Theodore is short of that.) For a long time, this has been the pattern: When they play solid games, the sort you expect from bona fide NHL goalies, many of us (including me) overreact, treating that showing as potential harbingers. And the next thing we know, the goalie in question looks in his next start as if he’s the weak link.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
At the height of the Avalanche-Red Wings rivalry, East Lansing, Mich., native T.J. Hensick wasn’t yet a teenager.
His family had Detroit season tickets, and while dreaming of one day wearing the winged wheel on the Joe Louis Arena ice, Hensick was in Darren McCarty’s corner — so to speak — during McCarty’s avenging encounters with Colorado winger Claude Lemieux.
So when Hensick plays his first NHL game at “The Joe” on Tuesday night, it might feel a bit strange for a millisecond or two. He plays for Colorado, which will be opening a five-game trip against the Red Wings.
from the Rocky Mountain News,
After 41 games, the Avalanche is neither a woebegone pretender nor a powerhouse contender but instead somewhere in between. Colorado is 22-16-3, eighth in the Western Conference.
“I think our record’s a pretty fair assessment of our play,” forward Andrew Brunette said. “We’ve gone through stretches that we’ve played very well and other stretches we haven’t played very good.
“I still think we have another level that this team hasn’t gotten to. We show glimpses of it, but when we’re all healthy and we get going, I think we have another level to go to instead of just being in the middle of the conference.”
from Ryan Kennedy at the Hockey News,
Without a serious goaltending pedigree in town, Colorado’s playoff hopes – which looked practically radiant in the summer – now fall on the shoulders of one happy-go-lucky fellow: Paul Stastny.
Sure, the Avs get solid contributions from the likes of veterans Andrew Brunette and Milan Hejduk, but it is Stastny who leads the team in points by a wide margin (44 to Hejduk’s 30) and Stastny who has the highest ceiling for stardom.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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