Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: colorado avalanche
Like everyone else here at Kuklaskorner, I wish I had something of a lighter nature to talk about today. This summer has been filled with death, and having to write another post about former players passing away so soon after my Wade Belak post is extra tough. I hoped that would be the only piece I’d have to write about a player death in a good long while. I certainly wasn’t expecting to find myself by my computer ten days later, trying to find another way to put my thoughts into words about a tragedy that has stunned the entire hockey world. But here goes.
I remember when princess Diana died, and where I was at the time. I was sitting in my younger brothers room, playing NHL 96 on SNES, when my father came in and said “turn it off and check the news, there’s been an accident and you need to see this”.
I also remember where I was when I heard that Michael Jackson had died. In bed, sleeping. My girlfriend who had just left for work called me and woke me up with the news.
From Terry Frei at ESPN,
Just when you think it’s safe (or advisable) to write off Theodore… He rallies.
Just when you think it’s time to say he’s got his groove back… He falters.
That’s not all that dissimilar to the pattern of his tenure with the Canadiens, but now he’s a 31-year-old goalie trying to save his career.
The guy has more goaltending lives than Felix “The Cat” Potvin.
From the CP via TSN,
The Colorado Avalanche activated forward Ian Laperriere from the injured reserve list Wednesday. He missed nine games after suffering a knee injury during a game on Nov. 11 against Minnesota.
*numerous other Avalanche players are still having injury/illness issues however, including Joe Sakic
from Adrian Dater at the Denver Post,
A little birdie told me the Avs had scouts at the Penguins-Senators game the other night, so start your trade rumors from those locations.
Personally, I think the Avs might be considering getting Marc-Andre Fleury, the former first-round goalie pick who hasn’t been that great for the Pens. But that’s just a hunch, not based on big word of mouth. John-Michael Liles could be part of that mix, but again, just a hunch.
from the Denver Post,
Arnason is just one of several Avalanche forwards hoping to bust out of a slump. Joe Sakic hasn’t scored in 10 games, former Oiler Ryan Smyth hasn’t scored in four straight and has one goal in his past nine, and Paul Stastny is scoreless in his past four games.
“I don’t want to just look to Arnie for contributions in Edmonton, but he really does seem to have the special touch when we play them,” Avs coach Joel Quenneville said. “Whether it’s Arnie or someone else, we need more production than, obviously, the one goal a game.”
Just thought you’d like to know that Adrian Dater of the Denver Post is…
absolutely amazed at the size of Ray Bourque’s thighs.
from the Denver Post,
Nobody with the Avalanche is getting self-satisfied right now, however. Not making the playoffs for the first time since 1994 still stings for many longtime personnel, and there are 65 more games needed to prove the Avs are playoff worthy this season.
But the Avs feel they have a solid foundation in place for another possible long succession of playoff runs. Not only do they have one of the brightest young stars in the league in Stastny, but youngsters such as Wolski, Liles, Peter Budaj and Marek Svatos already have had NHL success. Add veterans such as Sakic, Milan Hejduk, Andrew Brunette, Ian Laperriere and free-agent newcomers Ryan Smyth and Scott Hannan, and the Avs again have one of the deepest teams in the league.
from All Things Avs by Adrian Dater,
- Calgary is going to implode soon. I’ve talked to a few former Flames and they say there is just plain bad chemistry in their locker room. I don’t see Mike Keenan changing that much.
- Edmonton is terrible. Dustin Penner is a nice player, but Kevin Lowe grossly overpaid for him, in his retaliation move against Brian Burke and the Ducks over Chris Pronger.
more NHL bits plus Adrian wonders where are all the Avs fans?
From Jim Morris at the CP (via Yahoo)
But won’t it be special to become only the 11th player in league history to reach 1,000 assists?
“We’ll see when we get there I guess,” Sakic said after a pause. “Not that many players have gotten to that. It would be a tremendous honour, obviously. I haven’t thought too much about it.”
From some players the false modestly would sound contrived. But from Sakic the words sound as honest as the work ethic he delivers each night.
more… about Sakic and the team
from the Denver Post,
Colorado takes a 10-5 record into tonight’s game at Vancouver, with Budaj having six of the wins to the four for Theodore, tonight’s starter. The two have alternated starts the past six games and, while Quenne- ville said the rotation might not stay equal for various reasons, he sees no reason to change things now.
“I just think both guys are playing pretty well, and keep ‘em both playing,” Quenneville said. “I think it’s competitive among the two of them. I think it’s healthy, but I think there’s a genuine sincerity that the other guy does well. Both guys had an opportunity to get the net at the start of the year, and they’re both doing what we were hoping they’d do.”
from Woody Paige at the Denver Post,
Then there was The Great One. Now it’s The Great, Too.
In their first visits to Denver, the Prodigy Boys scored two goals.
Each. Almost 28 years and 1.8 miles apart.
Sidney Crosby scored two goals in the first period last night at The Can.
But Wayne Gretzky scored two goals and added an assist last millennium at Big Mac.
Score two for the local teams, though.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
It’s hard to decide who is better in front of the goal crease—Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom or Colorado’s Ryan Smyth.
Both grinders make their livings in the high-traffic areas where collisions abound and tempers flare, with goalies and defencemen trying in vain to move them.
“They’re the best in the world at it,” said Detroit general manager Ken Holland.
From Mike Chambers at the Denver Post,
Joe Sakic, the only remaining player to have competed for the Avalanche franchise when it was in Quebec, was a Nordique the last time the franchise began 5-0 at home.
That would be 13 years ago, and that’s where the Avs stand after riding Sakic’s two assists and Peter Budaj’s 21 saves in a 3-1 victory Sunday over the Minnesota Wild at the Pepsi Center.
from the Denver Post,
Avs coach Joel Quenneville just wants Jillson to provide sound puck judgment in his own end and provide something of a physical presence.
“Organizationally, he provided us with some depth right off the bat, and we got exposed early, losing a couple guys,” Quenneville said. “He’s got some experience, and I think he’s still looking to carve that niche where he’s a regular defenseman. Right now, we’re thin and hopefully he can get a chance to get some games in there and move up.”
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
If you’re a hockey fan in the good ol’ USA, life can be pretty frustrating. (You already knew that, didn’t you?)
The latest example of that frustration came Tuesday night. I was eager to see Ryan Smyth’s return to Edmonton. In particular, I wanted to see the crowd reaction when he skated onto the ice as a member of the visiting Avalanche and I wanted to see the Oilers’ video tribute to their former star.
I didn’t get to see any of that.
*and if you missed a previous KK post, you can see part of the Smyth ceremony here...
From the CP,
Ryan Smyth, the former Edmonton Oiler, made good on his prediction Tuesday just before he faced off for the first time against his old team since his shocking trade eight months ago.
The mullet-haired left winger, now with the Colorado Avalanche, became teary-eyed as he lined up in pre-game ceremonies, watched a one-minute video tribute of his 11 seasons with the copper and blue, and received a 30-second standing ovation from the 16,839 fans at Rexall Place.
It wasn’t a weeper to rival the saddest of sports sob stories, “Brian’s Song,” but it had its moments.
Updated 3:30am ET:
Smyth’s comments in the Denver Post:
“It was a nice tribute to me and my family by (the Oilers). It’s quite an honor to come back to the city where you started your NHL career and be recognized like I was tonight,” said Smyth, who went scoreless in the game. “The fans were great to me, and I really appreciate that.”
added 5:53am by Paul, The first 55 seconds or so of the video (below) shows the ovation Smyth received from the Oilers fans.
Update 1:41pm ET: More commentary from John MacKinnon at The Edmonton Journal.
John Buccigross at ESPN ponders 10 stories from the past week:
4. It’s just a fantasy, it’s not the real thing
Good exchange between Joe Sakic and The Denver Post’s Adrian Dater:
Question from Dater: Do you ever hear from fantasy hockey team owners with stuff like, “You cost me a win last week” or “You won me 300 bucks”?
Answer from Sakic: Yeah, you hear from ‘em. I actually have one friend who traded me last year. He told me, too. He was like, “Sorry, had to trade you, bud.”
more… highlighted stories from Buccigross
From Adrian Dater at the Denver Post
Joe Sakic has helped give Coloradans two Stanley Cups since 1996. More important, however, Sakic and his wife, Debbie, have helped serve 8,581,248 meals to hungry people in the state since 1998. That is the exact number, according to Food Bank of the Rockies official Kristina Cordova, with the promise of many more to come.
For that and many other reasons, Sakic on Monday was given the ninth annual NHL Foundation Player Award, for recognition of his commitment and service to charities in his community. In recognition, the NHL will present a $25,000 check tonight, before the Avalanche’s game with the Calgary Flames at the Pepsi Center, to the pediatrics oncology unit at Children’s Hospital.
“Joe is probably the most sincere person I’ve ever met in my life,” Cordova said. “He’s very involved with us. He’s always asking about ways to do more. He’s always saying, ‘We’ve got to do it for the kids.’ He and Debbie have just done so much for this community. People don’t know.”
from the Rocky Mountain News,
Six weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, Avalanche goalie Jose Theodore will make his regular- season debut tonight.
He will start against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center in a game that could set the tone for the kind of season it will be for him and for the Avalanche.
“It’s good to be back in,” he said Thursday. “It was a long rehab, but it’s fun to get the start. I’m anxious to get out there and help the team.”
from Terry Frei at ESPN,
Even the Avalanche, Stastny and his family projected him to at least start last season in the minors. But Steve Konowalchuk’s career-ending heart irregularity, among other things, opened up a roster spot. And Stastny quickly took advantage of it.
“I try to consider myself a playmaker,” Stastny said. “Those are genes that come from your dad and your family, and I have some of those genes for things that can’t be taught. Playing with better players makes it that much easier for me. If this were only an individual game, I’d be in big trouble, I think. When you’re playing with smart players like this, they’re reading what you’re reading and you know what they’re thinking. It makes it that much more of a simple game.”
From Rick Sadowski at the Rocky Mountain News,
“The rest is up to the coach. I’m just waiting for my start, my chance. There’s no pain - everything is feeling really good. I feel as strong as ever. It was hot in the building, too, so I could test my conditioning. I wanted to make sure that, when I play here, I was ready.”
Theodore skated for about a week before training camp when he felt pain in his knee. A magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed a tear under the kneecap, and he underwent arthroscopic surgery Aug. 29.
It was an unexpected setback for Theodore, coming off a 13-15-1 season and begins 2007-08 as Peter Budaj’s backup with plenty to prove in the final year of a contract that pays him $6 million.
From the press conference call held earlier today with the Colorado Avalanche’s Paul Stastny —one of the NHL’s Stars of the Week.
Q. It’s always hard to predict how a young player coming out of U.S. college makes the adjustment to the NHL. Some take a long time and some take a very short period of time. Can you pinpoint why there doesn’t seem to have been the steep learning curve that some young players have had, why it seems to have gone so relatively smoothly for you? PAUL STASTNY: I don’t know if it was quick. But I was in college for two years. And so when I came up, I was already 20, 21. Pretty mature for my age, and it was easier for me, maybe because I was a little smarter. Some of the things you can’t teach I got from my dad. Playing with better players I think makes it a lot easier for me, just knowing that you can give and go. They think the way I do and it makes it that much easier.
Paul Stastny’s 3rd goal last night earned him the “NHL Play of the Night”.
From Dave Krieger at the Rocky Mountain News,
Pierre Lacroix never has been big on publicity. As an agent for 21 years and general manager of one of the NHL’s most successful franchises for another 13, he shunned the limelight and met with the wretches at news conferences only when he had something important to tell us.
So receding into the background 16 months ago when he kicked himself upstairs to be president of the Avalanche was not the difficult part. Letting go of the adrenaline highs from a lifetime of deal making and competition was something else again.
From Aaron J. Lopez at the Rocky Mountain News,
For nearly three decades, Joel Quenneville has been wielding a stick and some blades in the NHL, first as a player, then as a coach. If all goes as expected, when he stands behind the Avalanche bench Jan. 9 in Washington, he will join Jacques Lemaire and Bob Pulford as the only people in NHL history to coach and play in at least 800 games (Quenneville played 803 games in 13 seasons).
While Quenneville takes pride in the personal milestone, his mind is focused on guiding the Avalanche to the playoffs after missing the postseason for the first time since the franchise moved to Denver in 1995.
continued… (*a short Q&A session with the Avs coach)
from the Denver Post,
The affable Laperriere has been fighting throughout training camp and the preseason, making sure everyone on his team and around the league knows they’ll have to go through him to get to Colorado’s numerous (and healthy) stars, including additions Ryan Smyth, Scott Hannan and Jaroslav Hlinka.
Lappy’s face is a mess, and he’s proud of it. He has multiple cuts around his nose, which has been pointing toward his right ear for years, and a black eye. He exceeds the definition of toughness and team pride, and uses those things to defend his teammates and provide motivation during rough times.
From Mike Chambers at the Denver Post,
In the past year, Avalanche center Paul Stastny has gone from a longshot to make the team to an emerging NHL star. Credit his genes, or the opportunity he was given because of injuries, but good luck finding anyone who thinks Stastny made a mistake by forgoing his final two years at the University of Denver.
In hindsight, even Pioneers coach George Gwozdecky believes Stastny, the son of Hockey Hall of Famer Peter Stastny, made the right move turning pro in July 2006.
from the Denver Post,
Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said Hlinka “has had a great camp. ... His poise and patience with the puck, his play selection, are all high end. Being around top players who have a lot of skill, he plays right into that, feeds off of that.”
Was Quenneville skeptical about taking a look at a 30-year-old rookie?
“Well, it’s opportunity,” Quenneville said. “He’s playing at the top level over there, and he’s the top scorer over there, and it can be a matter of giving some guys a break, or having them get discovered. Or some guys just mature a little bit later. ... He’s given us every indication that he can handle this, no problem, and I think he can help our hockey club.”
from the Denver Post,
Choosing to fight Smyth, who is playing on the top line with Joe Sakic and Andrew Brunette, appeared inexcusable, like a Broncos defensive lineman trying to beat up quarterback Jay Cutler. It also appeared that Laperriere’s fight with Love was meant to send a message that you don’t mess with high-salary, skilled forwards like Smyth.
Afterward, the players presented a different picture. Turns out that Smyth, who signed a five-year, $31.25 million contract in July, picked the fight with Love, and Laperriere only fought Love to remind Smyth that he will be handling his dirty work.
more on the Avs…
added 8:14am, The Denver Post also has a nice feauture on Steve Konowalchuk.
Unveiled today, the image below (originally found here) shows a television screen shot of the new jerseys. From the Avalanche:
The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club revealed its new-look Rbk EDGE uniforms at a press conference this morning. Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles modeled the new Avalanche uniform for members of the media. The Avalanche will wear the new uniforms this season beginning this Sunday, September 16 at the Burgundy/White game at the Air Force Academy.
Read more about them at Colorado Avalanche Blog.
Update 3:10pm ET: the Avalanche team site has added a photo gallery of the new jerseys..