Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Future of Avalanche Defense

Kevin Shattenkirk and Colby Cohen

Coming into the season, the names were familiar.

Quincey, Hannan, Liles, Foote, Cumiskey, Wilson. Some of them have/had promise (Quincey,Liles, Cumiskey, Wilson) while others are seemingly on their last legs (Hannan, Foote) but Avalanche fans knew that a new wave was coming.

Thanks to an excellent job by the scouting department, the Avs have a bevy of defensive prospects in their system.

Shattenkirk, Cohen, Gaunce, Elliott, Barrie, Chouinard, Holos

Now, due to a ridiculous amount of concussions, Avalanche fans are going to get a taste of what the Colorado blue line is going to look like for years to come. With Foote, Quincey, Cumiskey, and Wilson all out, the defensive group against Calgary tonight will look something like:

Hannan-Shattenkirk
Cohen-Liles
Liffiton-Holos

Of course, I'm completely guessing on the actual pairings, but the point is, the Avs now have a young blue line to match their youth up front.

I think Adrian Dater made a terrific point in one of his latest blog entries:
But anybody who watched Saturday’s 5-0 Avs win over Dallas had to be struck by how much fresher the team’s defense looked with Cohen and fellow rookie Kevin Shattenkirk in the lineup. With the addition of just two guys, the Avs’ defense went from the stale, predictable unit to one that had youthful enthusiasm and, most of all, flashes of some great talent that, with more experience, should continue to grow.

One of the biggest complaints about our so-called "veteran" D is that they turn the puck over in the zone too often.

In other words, these vets were making rookie mistakes.

Another one of their downfalls - getting the puck (effectively) on net - is fixed by playing the youths. Cohen is notorious for his booming slap shot and Liffiton, in his brief stint thus far, has shown that he can let it fly as well.

They'll be tested tonight against Calgary. Without Craig Anderson, the Avs are pretty much putting out a B+ team.

Lets see if they can handle it.

Go Avs

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