Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Can't Wait

In less than 20 hours, my plane will take off, and I'll be on my way to Denver.

I'm not going to have time to do a normal huge predictions post (it somehow got by me this year) but I do want to go on record as saying:

Stanley Cup Finals 2010

Anaheim vs Boston

Stanley Cup Champion 2010

Boston Bruins

Avalanche finish in...

12 place


_____

It's going to be an exciting season. Expectations are lower than ever. Though that can be seen as a negative, all Avalanche should look at this season as a forecast into Colorado's future. Lets enjoy the ride.

Go Avs.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

That makes two - Jones Out Indefinitely

Add David Jones to the injury list. Dater is reporting that he's going to be missing games to start the season.

Depth is not on the Avalanche's side this season, so injuries like this will really take their toll. As Dater mentions, this is a huge opportunity for O'Reilly and Hendricks to see quality minutes in the first few games and to really make their presence felt.

At this point in the post, I would normally give my predictions for new lines, but to be honest, I'm so confused over who is playing what wing, I'll leave that to somebody else.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tucker's New Attitude

Already un-official decreed the new Avalanche whipping boy, Darcy Tucker, according to Adrian Dater, is looking for redemption.
"People can say what they want about me. I've played hard almost 900 games in this league, and I'm going to play this game as hard as I can and do everything I can to help this team win hockey games," Tucker said before the game. "I don't think, playing only one year, the fans of Denver have gotten to see what I'm all about."
Tucker goes on to say,

"I feel like I've got a clean slate now, like that Etch-A-Sketch, where I can shake it and start something new," Tucker said. "There were some circumstances out of my control last year, and I didn't handle them very well. It snowballed into a bad year. It was humbling."
Maybe Tucker is right. We, Avalanche fans, didn't see what Paul Kariya or Teemu Selanne were about in one year. We didn't see Steven Reinprecht or Jordan Leopold. Maybe those guys just weren't a good fit for the team, but Avalanche fans certainly weren't treated to their best games.

Tucker scored twice last night in Frozen Fury 11, and he'll need to produce similar numbers throughout the regular season if the Avs want to be competitive.

Darcy's attitude has always gotten on my nerves. To put it bluntly, he comes off like an arrogant you-know-what. But I like what I'm reading. I like the attitude. I like the Etch-A-Sketch allusion.

If he can up the scoring a bit, drastically increase his hitting, and take fewer bonehead penalties, Darcy Tucker might be the asset we never imagined.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hejduk Signs; Avalanche Season Approaches

Via MHH, Milan Hejduk signed a 1-year extension earlier today.

Interesting observation by DDC:
It's worth noting that Hejduk is currently 87 games behind Joe Sakic on the Avalanche all-time regular season games played list (Colorado only). Barring injury, he should be the leader by the time his contract ends.

Hopefully Hejduk can help lead this team to an above-terrible level this season. Wouldn't it be nice to see him score 50 again? In our dreams.

Avalanche season is officially one week away. AF's season predictions will be up by the end of this weekend.

There are several intriguing questions left this off-season, especially concerning the final cuts.

The team is down to 27 players but can only hold 23 for opening night.

Who is going down?

From the back end, Tyler Weinman should and will be cut.

On D, Tom Preissing is out 4-6 weeks. That opens up a spot for Kyle Cumiskey. The odd man out appears to be Derek Peltier. The 24-year-old should be playing in Lake Erie this season.

The offense is a little dicier. Assuming Matt Duchene is in, it appears to be a battle between Chris Durno, Matt Hendricks, TJ Hensick, David Koci, and rookie Ryan O'Reilly.

O'Reilly has been the big suprise of camp. Having just been signed, it's likely he'll be on the roster October 9th. However, I'd be shocked if Francois Giguere kept him around for more than nine games. No need to cut into that three-year contract yet.

Hensick is also probably safe, though he shouldn't be. The experience he had last season probably makes him the 4th line center, but he won't excel in that role. Sacco did experiment with Hensick at the right wing position earlier in the preseason, but that idea has since been squashed.

It comes down to Durno, Hendricks, and Koci. Like all of you, I haven't been able to watch the games, thus, I can't make an intelligent guess on who will be sent down. From everything I've read, my money is on Hendricks and possibly Koci staying up. Once again, that's a complete guess.

7 days and counting...

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

2009-10 Avalanche Round Table Day Two


Welcome to another year of the Avalanche Blogger Roundtable! After reading this blog's segment of the event, I encourage you to head over to Mile High Hockey for day one of the festivities, and then over to Angelique's "Colorado Avalanche Prospects" blog for another day two Roundtable discussion

Now for the question!

Unfortunately, due to the recent cuts, this issue is now a moot point. The topic was posted for discussion September 10th. As I write this 11-12 days later, it's completely irrelevant. Lets see how many bloggers called this one correctly!

The fantasy hockey king, Darryl Dobbs, boldly says that Ryan Stoa will reach the 40-point mark. Is it possible?
GEO: Apparently, Darryl Dobbs is losing his mojo.

Matt Jordan from Mile High Mayhem: 40 points? Not this season. He's going to either be the 3rd or 4th line C. The question is, do the Avs have anyone on the 3rd or 4th lines who can put the puck in the net? If he centers the 3rd line...it will be Koci and Tucker on his wings. If it's the 4th, I'm sure it will be Galiardi and Stewart. It's going to be nothing short of a miracle if he hits 30, let alone 40.

Mike from Mile High Hockey: What Matt said, but more like a miracle to hit 20 with those linemates. I'll add one caveat though, if for some reason the powers-that-be decide that Matt "The Boy Wonder" Duchene goes back to Brampton after 9 games because of some combination of his and Stoa's play, Stoa could be our 2nd line center with Wolski on his wing. I wouldn't think 30 points would be out of his reach.

Aaron Musick from HockeyBuzz: I have to disagree with you on this one. While I don't think he'll get 40 points, I do think that 30 is a reasonable number.
1) I don't believe that Galiardi will be a fourth line player. Given the lack of Left Wings and his speed and hands, I see him landing on the second line.
2) When you're looking at the third line, don't forget about McLeod. He's not skilled enough to be on the top two lines but could end up on the third line with Bates and Stewart.
Back to Stoa, he could wind up on the fourth line left wing with Hensick and either Svatos or Jones. That's a line that could produce, provided Hensick turns the corner this year. However, the bigger question is this: should Stoa start the season in Lake Erie along with Mercier and Yip or should he play the fourth line at the NHL level?
(GEO: I think we now know the answer to that one)

David Driscoll-Carignan from Mile High Hockey: t's certainly possible, but I'm not sure that I would bet the fantasy farm on it. As a frame of reference, his former U of Minn teammate, Phil Kessel, scored 29 in his first year with the Bruins and took 3 NHL seasons to get to the 40-point mark. You never really know. The Avs drafted a bunch of college players the year they took Stoa. Paul Stastny scored 78 in his first year. T.J. Hensick has 92 NHL games under his belt and has just 32 career points. If it was my fantasy draft, I'd probably figure to count on 25; everything over 30 would be nice bonus.

Tapeleg from Jerseys and Hockey Love: I hope not. I know, that sound weird, but really, why should the Avs shove Ryan Stoa into the club so fast? It's already going to happen with Matt Duchene, as there will be rioting at Le Can if he doesn't crack the lineup, but Stoa? Get in line buddy. Even after a high and mighty season last year with the University of Minnesota Gophers, he is still fresh out of college. This isn't his time.
Stoa needs a little time to develop. There is no need to bring him to the big club for anything but call ups. Let him have some AHL time to make the transition. He isn't going to save the franchise this year (hell, no one is going to save the franchise this year), so why bother rushing him? Dobbs can say what he likes, but if those 40 points are coming from the NHL, I'll be amazed.
(GEO: And then Matt Jordan made the best point of the day:)

Well, Stoa gets sent down...I guess the question about him is currently moot.
As for my answer to the question, I obviously knew Stoa was going to get sent down, thus, I adamantly fought not to have a question that is as irrelevant as Darcy Tucker on the power play.

In any case, we have eight days left. The 2009-10 season is finally upon us. Are you ready for some hockey?

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rebuilding The Avs From All Thirty Teams

It's an ordinary Monday, so lets participate in a unique, completely time-wasting project. It's no secret that the Avs are in rebuild mode. Wouldn't it be nice if we could expediate that process? What if the Avs were given the freedom to draft one player/executive from each team? What if the other teams were allowed to protect no one, the only hope being that the Avs eventually ran out of cap space? Here's how I'd want it to play out:

Team salary may not exceed 56.8 million. Individual player salaries are based on the numbers (cap hits) from http://www.capgeek.com/. All Avalanche players not drafted become free agents. This does not include Matt Duchene. Mostly because I like Matt Duchene too much to let him go. I do not, however, like Darcy Tucker. He becomes a free agent.

Anaheim: Ryan Getzlaf - Center, 5.325 million
Analysis: The team needs a #1 center that plays with a competitive edge. Getzlaf is as mean and talented as they come.

Atlanta: Jason Krog - Minor Leaguer
Analysis: He can't crack the big leagues, but the man is a beast in the AHL. He's won scoring titles, championships, but never a long stay with an NHL team. With 112 points in 2007-08, Krog is consistently one of the leading scorers in the next-best league in North America. He'll do well as the guy the Avs never call up.

Boston: Milan Lucic - Left Wing, 850,000
Analysis: Impressive in his rookie year, Lucic comes at a great value. Chara was tempting here, but his 7.5 million cap hit was too tough to take.

Buffalo: Lindy Ruff - Coach
Analysis: Ruff keeps the Sabres competitive despite questionable talent. It wasn't that long ago that Buffalo was on the doorstep of another Stanley Cup Finals appearance. He doesn't mess with his goalies, he doesn't take crap from the media, and he HATES Darcy Tucker.

Calgary: Robyn Regher - Defenseman, 4.020 million
Analysis: The man's a beast. Put him on a pairing with Tyutin and prepare to be eaten alive.

Carolina: Fans
Analysis: Based mostly on the Jibblescribbits' rankings.

Chicago: Duncan Keith - Defenseman, 1.475 million
Analysis: With 44 points in 77 games, Keith took his game to the next level in 2008-2009. It might hurt not being paired with Brent Seabrook, but the Avalanche will look forward to the continued development of the league's next great shutdown defenseman.

Colorado: Paul Stastny - Center, 6.6 million
Analysis: The price tag is insanely hard to swallow, but Stastny will fill the role of third or fourth line center brilliantly.

Columbus: Fedor Tyutin - Defenseman, 2.83 million
Analysis: Tyutin isn't flashy, but he's rock solid on the back end. It was tempting to pick Steve Mason for the backup's role, but Tyutin will complement a high-powered offense.

Dallas: Ice Girls - Slightly Demeaning
Analysis: I had Steve Ott penciled in here, but then I realized that I forgot the new trend in hockey: ice girls. Dallas ain't bad.

Detroit: Ken Holland - General Manager
Analysis: The man knows how to build a team. That's all I'm sayin'.

Edmonton: Sam Gagner - Right Wing, 1.625 million
Analysis: We're going to stretch the rules a little bit and move Gagner away from his natural center position. After a 118 point season in Juniors three years ago, the former-Oiler has yet to find his scoring touch at the pro level. Last season saw a huge change in his +/- (-26 to -1) and we all know how revealing that stat can be! He won't have to be the star for this team, which could help his development in the long run.

Florida: Scott Clemmensen - Backup Goaltender, 1.2 million
Analysis: The best kind of backup goaltender? The kind that steps in when the franchise starter goes down and keeps his team not just competitive, but as part of the elite. Clemmensen was is an unbelievable door opener (he's had a lot of practice) and he's perfect for the job in Colorado.

Los Angeles: Jack Johnson - Defenseman, 1.425 million
Analysis: Johnson's potential is huge, but he appears to be made of glass. Still, he's physical, plays a decent offensive game, and works well on a blueline that defines the word "steady" in the dictionary.

Minnesota: Cal Clutterbuck - Right Wing, 725,000
Analysis: On my fourth line, I want a young kid who can provide energy, some physical play, and the occasional or point or two. In his rookie year, the points weren't there for Clutterbuck (18 in 76 games) but the kid lead the league in hits and became a fan favorite in Minnesota. I'll take a shot with him.

Montreal: Andrei Kostitsyn - Left Wing, 2.25 million
Analysis: Back-t0-back 20 goal seasons give the Avs hope that Kostitsyn will improve with a playmaking center such as Backstrom or Parise.

Nashville: Shea Weber - Defenseman, 4.5 million
Analysis: Weber can get it done on both ends of the ice. At just 24, he'll be a franchise defenseman for years to come.

New Jersey: Zach Parise - Center, 3.125 million
Analysis: In four NHL years, Parise has hit the 30-goal mark three times and has missed no more than one game in any season. Last year, Parise exploded for 45 goals and 94 points. While that production may take a dip with new coach Jacques Lemaire, Parise shouldn't have any problems with Ruff and McCllelan at the helm.

New York Islanders: Kyle Okposo - Right Wing, 1.671 million
Analysis: Okposo entered his rookie year in 2008-09 with big expectations on an Islanders team whose fans already have Tavares fever. After scoring 18 goals and recording 39 points, Okposo will be expected to do much better on a team that is in the business of winning.

New York Rangers: Marc Staal - Defenseman, 826,660
Analysis: What a pedigree. With a name like Staal, you can't lose. He won't put up a lot of offense, but his defensive game has improved dramatically in just two seasons.

Ottawa: Marian Hossa? Martin Havlat? Dany Heatley?
Analysis: The Avalanche politely decline this pick.

Philadelphia: Ed Snider - Owner
Analysis: As the chairman for Comcast, the company that does just about everything, Mr. Snider has done pretty well for himself in Philadelphia. Snider has always done what is in the best interest of his team and has gone to amazing lengths to promote his business interests.

Phoenix: Shane Doan - Right Wing, 4.55 million
Analysis: Extremely versatile on either wings, Doan will finally have enough talent around him to put up huge numbers. Thirty goals on Phoenix is no joke.

Pittsburgh: Marc-Andre Fleury - Starting Goaltender, 5 million
Analysis: Fleury had a rocky start his first few years in the league, but he has really come into his own, winning a Stanley Cup last June. At 24, Fleury will provide stable goaltending for years to come.

San Jose: Todd McClellan - Assistant Coach
Analysis: I'm not sure exactly what he did in Detroit, but to much to my chagrin, they won Stanley Cups while he was there. Much to my delight, they lost the Stanley Cup the year he left. McCllelan couldn't get the Sharks past the playoff hump, but I want him next to my head coach anyway.

St. Louis: Jeremy Boyer - Organist
Analysis: The techno/rock/whatever music is alright, but the organ is classy.

Tampa Bay: Alex Tanguay - Left Wing, 2.5 million
Analysis: He's back! (And at a much more affordable price!) Tanguay will probably never be the kind of player who takes over a game, but placed with other great talent (see: 2001 Colorado Avalanche), he is capable of putting up solid, consistent numbers.

Toronto: "Brian Burke" - Twitter Personality
Analysis: Down Goes Brown is one of the few things that is right with this franchise.

Vancouver: Alex Burrows - Left Wing, 2 million
Analysis: Another winger who gets on the nerves of the opposition, Burrows had 28 goals last season in what started as a supporting role.


Washington: Nicklas Backstrom - Center, 2.4 million
Analysis: Yes, he makes his living passing the puck to Alex Ovechkin. A newborn baby could probably put up a few points by being on the ice at the same as #8. Backstrom will have right wingers to protect him and left wingers to make him look good. It's an ideal situation as the Swede rounds out the group of centers.

Total Salary: 54.89766 million
Cap Room: 1.90234 million

Projected Opening Night Lineup

Lucic-Getzlaf-Doan
Tanguay-Stastny-Okposo
Burrows-Backstrom-Gagner
Kostitsyn-Parise-Clutterbuck

Regher-Keith
Weber-Staal
Tyutin-Johnson

Fleury
Clemmensen

Coach: Lindy Ruff
Assistant: Todd McClellan
GM: Ken Holland
Owner: Ed Snider
Fans: Carolina
Ice Girls: Dallas
Twitter Personality: "Brian Burke"
Organist: Jeremy Boyer
Minor Leaguer Never To See NHL Action: Jason Krog
Team Disgraced: Ottawa

Potential Weaknesses:

I like the depth on the middle and left side, but besides Doan, the wingers are very suspect. Jason Krog could become a problem later in the season.

Strengths:

The defense is young, promising, and already proven. Once again, the depth at center works.

Worrisome:

I was so bored that I was tempted to do Round 2!

____

There it is! Rebuilding the Avs from all thirty (well, twenty-nine) teams. Even if it's not what you like, it's better than what we have.


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Friday, September 11, 2009

Adam Foote Named Captain; Hejduk/Stastny Alternates



That "A" now becomes a "C"

“I’m honored to be named Avalanche captain,” said Foote. “I’ve been with this franchise for the majority of my career and I know what the standards are here. I look forward to the challenge of leading this team, starting with training camp and heading into the regular season.”
Avalanche

On my unofficial list of favorite Avs, Foote actually ranks 2nd, just behind Super Joe. When you think Colorado Avalanche, you think Sakic, Roy, Forsberg, and Adam Foote.

It's going to be extremely weird to see someone else wearing the C, but if it had to be someone, at least it's a player who has given his heart and soul to the franchise. Even if there were some dark days in Columbus, few players have played harder in An Avalanche uniform.

As for the Alternate Captains, they're perfect choices.

The Avalanche also announced today that forwards Milan Hejduk and Paul Stastny will serve as assistant captains for the upcoming season.

Stastny will almost certainly be named Captain within the next 3-5 years. Foote is 38, and I doubt that he'll play into his 40s.

As for Hejduk, the move gives me some hope that he won't be traded this season. True, the Avs did dispense of Ian Laperriere in the offseason, but Duke is one of the few connections to the "Glory Years" left on the team. He should retire an Av.

This season will mark a new era in Avalanche hockey, an era lead by the new Captain Foote.

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