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Category: Colorado-Avalanche

Before The Puck Drops Tonight

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche have much in common. Belief. Patience. Perseverance.

Each suffered heartbreak for years. Each could have made major changes. Yet each stuck with the coach, the core and the process, reshaping the supporting cast and learning how to win.

Now here they are in the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, the Lightning trying to win a third straight championship, the Avalanche trying to follow in their footsteps. Game 1 is at Ball Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ABC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

"It's growth, is what it is," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "This didn't happen overnight."

In their first six full seasons under Cooper, the Lightning lost in the Eastern Conference First Round, lost in the Stanley Cup Final, lost in the Eastern Conference Final, missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs, lost in the conference final again and lost in the first round again.

continued

added 10:52am, from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

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A Look At Jared Bednar

from Ken Wiebe of Sportsnet,

When the night began, Jared Bednar was adamant. He was not yet ready to hang up the blades.

But over the course of this hot summer evening in South Carolina in 2002, his friend and former ECHL teammate Jason Fitzsimmons made a pitch that would expedite the process of Bednar becoming one of the brightest minds in the coaching fraternity.

“I had just been named the head coach and director of hockey operations of the South Carolina Stingrays and ownership told me I had to find my own replacement because I had been the assistant,” Fitzsimmons, now a pro scout with the Washington Capitals, says. “I had one guy in mind and it was Jared. That was the only call I made.”

Bednar lived around the corner from Fitzsimmons and was invited over for a chat.

Fitzsimmons shared the good news of his promotion and followed that up with his sales pitch, hoping Bednar would agree to join him behind the bench.

“I asked him about his future and he said he still wanted to play hockey, he wanted to come back and play,” says Fitzsimmons. “I had a different plan. I said it would be great if you joined my coaching staff.”

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Video- One More Sleep Before The Puck Drops On The Stanley Cup Final

Ready?

 

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NHL Coaches And Executives Make Their SCF Picks

from Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic,

I reached out to rival NHL team executives and coaches to get their take and predictions for this Cup final. Enjoy!

Head coach No. 5 via text message:

What a matchup. Goaltending matchup goes to Tampa. I think Vas will face a lot more quality chances vs Col. He has proven before on the last two cup runs that it may not matter what he faces. Rangers did not generate at five-on-five. Can Colorado goaltending hold up?

I like both teams D. Hedman is a beast. Makar, the same. Forward group goes to Avs. Deeper lines and more speed. Tampa has top guys that could carry them.

Point going to play? Tampa has a little more grind in their bottom 6 forwards.

It may come down to special teams. Can COL PP remain that dangerous? And can COL PK (78%) hold off Tampa’s PP? I’m going to go with Colorado but goalie matchup scares me.

Head coach No. 6 via text message:

Will be the best final in years. It’s hard to bet against Tampa as their will to win is amazing but Colorado is so good. Will be a great contrast in offence vs defence but Tampa shut down Florida’s offence. They can do it again. Tampa in 6.

Team executive No. 2 via text message:

I like Avs in a long series if they keep somewhat healthy. Tampa has the experience, edge in net and most likely getting Point back. But I think they have played a ton of hockey lately and in the past couple of seasons. Will be a long series and I believe the Avs will ultimately wear them down once the rust is off. Avs are deep, fast and they will get it going. It will be important for Avs to get Kadri back at some point. If any games get into a shootout, Avs can outscore TB, I believe.

much more (paid)

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Start Date Scenarios For The Stanley Cup Final

NEW YORK (June 10, 2022) – The National Hockey League today announced the schedule scenarios for the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, which will match the Colorado Avalanche against the winner of the Eastern Conference Final series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers.

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Playing Against The Colorado Avalanche

from Travis Yost of TSN,

How do you beat the Colorado Avalanche?  

It’s a front-of-mind question for everyone in hockey right now. That’s how much fear the Avalanche can strike into a team.

Their skater group is the deepest and most talented in hockey. If you had any reservations about that claim a week ago, the Avalanche put an exclamation point on it by sweeping the lively Edmonton Oilers to reach the Stanley Cup Final. 

When the Avalanche are playing at their best, they look superhuman. They have high-end, superstar-level talents in Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar. The bulk of the lineup plays at a pace best described as frenetic. When the Avs are humming, they put most teams through the meat grinder.

This has been a sustained trend over time. No team has been more dominant than the Avalanche than the past three seasons, and that includes the (still alive) two-time Stanley Cup champions in Tampa Bay:

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The Colorado Avalanche Are Good

from Kristen Shilton of ESPN,

After dominating three rounds of their postseason competition, the Colorado Avalanche are headed to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Avs' superstars have delivered, as Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar are both making strong cases for the Conn Smythe. But they've gotten superb production from depth players as well, including a series-winning goal from Artturi Lehkonen in Game 4 against the Edmonton Oilers. With their second series sweep of the postseason, it's taken the Avalanche only 14 games to roll through three opponents.

What makes the Avs so exciting to watch -- and so difficult for the opposition to defeat? Let's explore the key factors as Colorado has moved one step closer to the Cup.

Yes, Colorado is that good

Let's start with the facts: In eliminating Edmonton, the Avalanche became just the sixth team in the last 20 seasons to sweep a conference final series. That places Colorado in elite company -- but not necessarily on the fast track to a Stanley Cup win.

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The Colorado Avalanche Finally Get Over The Hump

from Mike Zeisberger of NHL.com,

The Colorado Avalanche had fought for 21 years to return to the Stanley Cup Final. The journey hadn't been easy.

Why would this be any different?

Here they were, hugging and yelling and celebrating after forward Artturi Lehkonen had seemingly scored the series winner at 1:19 of overtime to give the Avalanche a 6-5 victory against the Edmonton Oilers in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final at Rogers Place on Monday. All they needed was the officials to confirm it was a good goal.

"I was hoping it wasn't a high stick," Lehkonen said.

It wasn't. The officials pointed to center ice. Good goal. And for a team that has experienced so much heartbreak and some bad breaks over the past two decades, the wait was worth it, even if they had to for a few more minutes.

When the goal was confirmed, no one whooped louder than defenseman Erik Johnson, the longest-serving member of the Avalanche who has played for Colorado since 2011. If anyone symbolized what this moment was all about, it was him.

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The Dominating Colorado Avalanche

from Travis Yost of TSN,

With a win Saturday night at Rogers Place, the Colorado Avalanche took a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Edmonton Oilers. For Jay Woodcroft’s team, it’s kitchen sink time.

Can the Oilers claw their way back into this series? You never say never in the NHL – after all, it’s one of the few North American sports leagues that has seen playoff comebacks from three-game deficits. But this is a unique challenge for Woodcroft’s team. If not because of how magnificent the Avalanche look top to bottom, then because of what’s happening within the Oilers’ lineup.

If we do a premortem on where it’s went wrong for the Oilers over the first three games, three statistical indicators stand out. In no particular order:

1. The Avalanche are dominating the Oilers at even strength.
2. The relative dominance of Connor McDavid has declined.
3. Mike Smith’s play has sharply regressed.

There are surely other factors (the Oilers are dealing with some injuries, and the penalty differential has been favourable to the Avalanche) at play. But for the sake of this piece, let’s focus on the three broader components.

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Video- Suspend Evander Kane

from Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post,

Will somebody give the Avs a broom, so they can sweep away Edmonton from the NHL playoffs and take Oilers rogue Evander Kane out with the trash?

Kane is a stain on the game of hockey. The kind that requires bleach and a wire brush to scrub the stink from the ice.

What Kane did to Nazem Kadri, slamming the Avalanche center into the boards with obvious intent to injure, fits the modus operandi of a scoundrel that has been known to flash a fake COVID-19 vax card and has been accused of welching on a stinking pile of gambling debts.

“The hit, it’s the most dangerous in hockey,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said late Saturday after the Avs beat Edmonton, 4-2, to take a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals. Kane “hit him headfirst from behind, eight feet away from the boards.”

That the NHL should suspend Kane for no less than two games is a no-brainer. The real brain-twister is why Kane would be employed by a team in a city that loves hockey as much as Edmonton does.

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Watch the hit below.

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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.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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