Sunday, October 5, 2008

2nd Annual Avalanche Roundtable Day 5: Too Many Pests?

It was just four seasons ago that the Avs were loaded with skilled players. Sakic, Forsberg, Tanguay, Hejduk, Kariya, and Selanne made for an explosive lineup. Obviously, that experiment didn't work out too well. Now, as we approact the 2008-2009 season, a new experiment has become. With Ian Laperriere, Cody McLeod/McCormick, Darcy Tucker, and Per Ledin, the Avs seem to have an overload of "pesty" players. Or do they?

Are the Avalanche overloaded in the pest department?

Justin - The Avalanche Guild: Not at all. Just because the Avs have a number of physical forwards doesn't mean that they will be playing the role of "pest" on the ice. Younger players that are just trying to stick in the lineup will gladly take whatever ROLE they are handed, so whatever style Granato asks them to play, be assured they will embrace their adjusted role and do it to the best of their ability.

A perfect example of this happening last year was through Ben Guite. He played that "pest" role the first few games in an Avs uniform but quickly embraced the role of a solid penalty killer and defensive-minded forward, making him a valuable asset to the team. His shorthanded goal on Dominik Hasek solidified that role and that's something younger players like Cody McCloud, Kyle Cumiskey and Cody McCormick will most likely undergo this season as well.

Jay Vean - The Avs Hockey Podcast: Too many pests or not, as long as the players the Avs choose to keep on the roster are able to contribute effectively night in and night out the team will be just fine. Goals and tough minutes by those third and fourth line guys are so valuable to any NHL team. And when those pests score goals and do their jobs so well, it can be a real back breaker to the opposition. Somewhere around 10 goals each for Lappy, Darcy Tucker, Ben Guite, and even Ledin should do the trick this season!

Tapeleg - Jerseys and Hockey Love: Yes.
Thank you, good night.

But seriously, there is only one more "pest" than last season, so there isn't that much of a difference. It's just that there is now a higher profile one on the team (Darcy Tucker), and it's yet to be determined where he will play.

If Scott Parker plays in over half the games this season, I will be surprised.

Joe - Mile High Hockey: No way. The more the merrier. One of the major fan complaints since the Lockout was the lack of personality in the Avs roster. Without Foote, Forsberg and Roy, the Avs had become pretty bland. Now the team boasts some big egos and colorful characters---Darcy Tucker, Per Ledin, Ian Laperriere, and I think Ben Guite is now coming out of his shell. Cody McLeod is trying desperately to become the next Bryan Marchment. And Cody McCormick is just a badass in general. Is this a bad thing? How can it be? The Anaheim Ducks won a Stanley Cup with a team full of pests a couple years ago, not that that was the only reason or that the Avs will win the Cup, but you get my point.

I'm starting to think watching Avs games, win or lose, could be a lot of fun again.

Jori - Colorado Avalanche Prospects: The Avs needed to add some more grit to their lineup, so I don’t see it as an overload, but I do believe it makes Scott Parker dispensable. However, I expect Parker will remain on the team as the 13th or 14th forward, with one of the “Codys” starting the season in Lake Erie. The added grit on this team resembles Granato and his style. It’s a characteristic the Avs needed to add, but I don’t see the off-season additions as overkill. This should lessen the Avs reputation as being a “soft” team.

Jibblescribbits - Jibblesscribbits: I don't think there's too many pests, but I think there's too many pests with no scoring ability. Of all the Avs pests (Tucker, Cody Mac's, Ledin, and Lappy, you could even make an argument for Foote and possibly even David Jones) only 1 has the ability to put any points up at this point (Tucker). Two of those pests are also prone to taking bad penalties (Tucker and McLeod) which can negate their contributions at times.Nevertheless Granato needs to learn how to use them effectively. 2 lines of pests, especially if one is centered with either Hensik or Arnason, isn't going to really do a whole lot of good, it'll be overkill.

Mike - Mile High Hockey: Only if by overloaded do you mean "have more of that type of player than can possibly be useful in a lineup that was supposed to feature an up-tempo attacking style while still providing good defense so that the young goaltender wouldn't be unduly exposed," then yeah, I can see that.Seriously, if the everyday lineup includes Ledin, the McTwins, Tucker, Lappy, and Guite based solely on their peskiness, then I would be unhappy about it. If the everyday lineup includes that collection of gristmills because they can be tough AND contribute in other facets, then I say "HELZ YEAH, we're overloaded, and we're gonna unload on YOUR wuss team!”

Dario - In the Cheap Seats: Well, only if your pests can only do one thing, be a pest. Ledin, Tucker, the McCody brothers, and Lappy can all play a good brand of defense and chip in some scoring pressure. A guy like Scott Parker is too one dimensional at this point if he can only fight. In todays NHL you've got to have skating and defense in your game, two things Parker struggles with. Pests that play good defense and can provide energy in a 4th line role are good things to have.

David Driscoll-Carignan - In the Cheap Seats: I don't think you can have too much sandpaper. Most of our gritty players have some serviceable hockey skills and they mix well with the skilled players. The problem occurs when all your skilled players get hurt, and you have to give top-line minutes to guys named "Cody". But, if you lose a Sakic, Stastny, Svatos and Smyth, you're pretty much screwed anyway.

GEO - The Avslova Factor: Take a look at the Game 7 roster from the 2001 Stanley Cup victory. (Wow, brings back some memories, huh?) The Avs beat the Devils with names like Dave Reid, Chris Dingman, Dan Hinote, Eric Messier, Shjon Podein, and Stephane Yelle. They were included in what is perhaps the greatest Colorado Avalanche team in the franchise's short history. Did the Avs have too many pests then?

As long as Cody McLeod/McCormick (preferably one or the other) can limit the stupid penalties he (or he) takes, and as long as Darcy Tucker is semi-productive, and as long as Per Ledin proves to be better than Jaroslav Hlinka (and really, how could he not), then there are going to be very few problems. Every team needs players willing to do the dirty work - to go into the corners, to fight the other team's goon, and to get under the goalie's skin.

Face it, the team's fortunes ride on Sakic, Stastny, Hejduk, Svatos, and Wolski putting up numbers. If they can have big seasons, then the pests make the Avs that much better.

The 2nd Annual Avalanche Rountable continues tomorrow at Mile High Hockey where Mike, Joe, and Draft Dodger will host Question #6.

Mile High Hockey also serves as the official epicenter of the Roundtable. Keep checking in for when the new topic is posted.

I also want to say thank you to all those who particpated in the Roundtable and it is an honor to be apart of it as we approach the new season.

Avalanche hockey is just around the corner. Are you ready?

Per Ledin Video Fix

This is one of our so-called "pests:" - Best Sports Blogs, Sports Blogger Rankings


Mike at MHH said...

Very nice! That vid is pretty sweet. What impressed me most was that Ledin appears multi-faceted. Scores on the rush, garbage goals in front, one-timers from everywhere, etc.
Finally a depth forward that looks to shoot first!

Bob in Boulder said...

I think as long as only a few of the pests dress on a nightly basis, they should be fine. McCormick, imo, should take the place of McLeod and Parker, because unlike Parker, he can play, and unlike McLeod, he can fight. I'm very curious to see what Per can do other than be a pest. And paint himself gold and pose for weird pictures.

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