Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: The Year That Was [Video!]

Ironically, the 2010 calendar year was all about the future for the Avalanche. Highlighted by an unexpected playoff berth, Avalanche fans were treated to stellar performances by Craig Anderson, the journey to super stardom by Matt Duchene, and the realization that the new-era Avs are here to stay. Here's a collection of my favorite moments from the 2010 calendar year:

January 1st: Paul Stastny is named to Team USA's Men's Ice Hockey roster
Stastny centered Team USA's top line, helping them to a silver medal with a goal and two assists over six tournament games.

January 9th: Matt Hendricks lifts Avs over Sabres in an 11-round shootout
The Avs blew a two-goal third period lead before winning in dramatic fashion.

January 22nd: Wojtek Wolski fights (and defeats) Steve Sullivan
HockeyFights.com declared Wolski (one career fight) the victory by a wide margin.


February 2nd: Ryan O'Reilly scores two shorthanded goals on same penalty kill
TJ Galiardi assisted on both of the goals and put the game against Columbus out of reach.


February 10th: Chris Durno dives, ties the game at 3
Down two goals in the third, the Avs were able to tie the game and win it in OT to become the Northwest Division leaders.


March 6th: Chris Stewart records a hat trick, four-point night; Avs net 7 against St. Louis
Stewart's penalty shot hat-trick goal was the first penalty shot of his career. (Check out his second goal - a wicked hard slap shot).


March 14th: Anderson saves 48 in a 5-3 Avalanche victory
Anderson was spectacular for the Avs in 2008, and this game serves as a microcosm for what he did for the team last season.

March 22nd: Galiardi ties game with eight seconds to go, notches crucial point in playoff race
In 7th at the time, the Avs needed a point to avoid the possibility of falling out of playoff. position.


April 6th: Matt Duchene sends the Avs to the playoffs
In a fairy tale ending, rookie and long-time Avalanche fan, Matt Duchene, helps Colorado prove all the "experts" wrong by beating the Canucks to lock-up a Western Conference playoff berth.

April 20th: Anderson saves all 51 San Jose shots; Dan Boyle tallies an own-goal, Avs take the series lead 2-1
In Anderson's best performance as an Av (maybe in his career), the goalie stole the show. The game was capped by a memorable and embarrassing Dan Boyle blunder.


June 26th: Avs go off-board, draft Joey Hishon with 17th pick
Criticized heavily at the time, Hishon is tearing up Juniors as we speak.


October 7th: Stastny's OT goal helps Avs start 2010-11 season undefeated
The beginning of the 2010-11 season was about proving that last year wasn't a fluke. Great start.


October 26th: Liles sets new NHL record for assists by a defenseman to start a season
Liles began the season with a nine-game point streak. Oddly, he failed to record a point in Game 10 which featured six Avalanche goals.

October 31st: Budaj stones Rick Nash
Taking over for the injured Anderson, Budaj announced that he was capable of carrying the load.


November 12th: Greg Maudlin scores first NHL goal - shorthanded!
Maudlin is tenacious on the forecheck and has been a big bright spot this season on the fourth line.


November 15th: Matt Duchene drops the gloves
Dutchy fought for the first time in his NHL career, putting up a nice effort against St. Louis' Vladimir Sobotka.


November 17th: Shattenkirk scores his 1st, Porter nets a beauty in OT
A lot to like in this 5-4 victory against the Sharks. Some great calls by Mike Haynes.


December 13th: Avs defeat Blackhawks in dramatic fashion
After giving up the lead, the Avs scored three times in the final 2 1/2 minutes (highlighted by Tomas Fleischmann's three points) to win the game 7-5.


December 15th: Tomas Fleischmann records a natural hat trick against Chicago
If the Avs ever play the Blackhawks in the playoffs, Fleischmann can be counted on to deliver.


December 18th: Matt Duchene wins it in Ottawa
"Bang bang, it's in the net" - check out that goal celebration! Duchene's second game-winner in three nights.


December 21st: The Bang Bang Dance
Adrian Dater revealed the origins of Paul Stastny's and Matt Duchene's victory celebration. Hopefully we see this in June 2011!

_______

It has been a tremendous year. The Avs have an incredibly bright future, and it is certainly a fun time to be a fan of this team.

If I missed YOUR favorite moment, let me know! I'm always looking for more!

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter.

Happy New Year to all, and thank you for reading!

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Avs/Wings Bullet Points

4-3 OT loss to the Western Conference leading Detroit Red Wings tonight.
Bullet points in no particular order:

-If special teams didn't exist, I could make the case for the Avalanche to be the Stanley Cup favorites. But tonight they go 1 for 6 on the power play and give up three goals to Detroit's power play, including the game-winner.

-Matt Duchene continues to be the most clutch Avs since Sakic. When the Avs needed a goal tonight, Duchene was the one to do it with under three minutes to go in the game.

-Brutal night for Shattenkirk. He took a wicked hard slap shot straight to the face. He did end up returning.

-Speaking of his return, props to the crowd tonight. Booing Bertuzzi has become the norm at these games, and cheering when Shattenkirk touched the puck upon his return was good stuff. The crowds at the Pepsi Center have been great these last couple of weeks, and the players DO notice this stuff. Evidence: Matt Duchene's Twitter.

-Bizarre night of goals. Four goals were scored in the first, zero in the second, two apiece in the final ten minutes of the third, and then the OT winner.

-Avs had 23 shots in the second and nothing to show for it. They deserved better.

-Budaj continues to be average in net.

-Giving Chris Osgood his 400th win sucks. He's overrated and shouldn't (but probably will) be in the Hall of Fame when he finally retires.

-Anyone else sick of Haynes' and McNab's constant praising of the Red Wings? Their love affair with Osgood and Johan Franzen tonight was mind-numbing.

-Avs are in a four-way tie for fourth in the West with 43 points.

-Avalanche showed that they can keep up with Detroit. In the past few years, it has been Detroit that has dominated time of possession and shots, but things are starting to shift.

-Back in action on Thursday against the Oilers (9:30 ET) and New Year's Eve Friday versus the Flames (9:00 ET). Both teams are at the bottom of the Western Conference in points.

-Hope everyone is enjoying a great holiday season!

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Vote!

Not quite sure how/why, but I'm currently leading BallHyped's Blog of the Year Voting.

Look, I know it's somewhat of a joke, considering a real "Blog of the Year" contest would have a Puck Daddy or Mile High Hockey or any of the other thousand blogs that get more hits/comments than The Avs Factor does.

But then blogs like this (or any of the other ones on there) would never have a chance to win anything.

If you enjoy coming by to read every now and then, I'd appreciate the vote for avsfactor.com at this link: "This Link"

If not, that's cool, too. But Vote Hockey.

BallHyped rose to the scene after the popular Digg-like fell off the Earth. It's still growing and hopefully will become a go-to source for sports news in 2011.

Avs-Wings tonight.
The rivalry. Still. (Kind of) Lives.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snowed In: Follow Me on Twitter!

Close to two feet of snow here in Philadelphia. This would have been a perfect night for an Avalanche game. Instead, I'm watching US-Finland in my second favorite hockey tournament of the year.

Follow me on Twitter because I want to inflate my ego with more followers!

I kid, I kid.

Anyway, I'll settle for a big time Avs-Wings game tomorrow night at 9 PM ET.

The Wings are at the top of the Western Conference, but an Avalanche win would put Colorado within just two points of Detroit's lead for the top spot.

Big game indeed.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Win Streak Ends at 6

All good things come to an end eventually.

In this case, Colorado six-game winning streak ended at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings, a 5-0 loss last night at the Pepsi Center.

It was one of those games where nothing went right.

Last week's top two stars, Matt Duchene and Tomas Fleischmann, combined for just two shots on goal, and Duchene was a -3.

The Avs were sloppy, often losing the puck in the neutral zone. For the past couple days, there has been so much press about how fast the Avs are, and how their neutral zone play gives other teams fits. The Kings disrupted that and really tilted the ice all night.

You can't fault Craig Anderson entirely, but he hasn't been good this year. That's all there is to say. It's almost been the reverse of last season, as it has been the Avalanche offense that has saved the team this year, not the goaltending.

One loss is nothing to get upset about. Nor would a second straight loss be of much concern. A third straight? Then it's a losing streak.

Let's just hope that the Avs can right the ship and prove that last night was just an aberration.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Look How Tight The West Is

The Avs are in the midst of a six-game winning streak. They're 19-10-4 and are fifth place in the ENTIRE LEAGUE.

Yet, check out the Western Conference.

The eighth seeded Ducks have 38 points (4 points behind Colorado, but the Avs have three games-in-hand) while 12th seeded Blue Jackets are just 7 points behind the Avalanche.

This could end up being the tightest playoff race in history (it seems like we say that every year now) and if the Avs get too high on this streak, they could come crashing down extremely quickly.

Even keel. Keep it.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Back in the Saddle

In the midst of a five-game Avalanche win streak, I was in the midst of my first semester finals.

A lot of good stuff that I missed:

Bang-bang dance, epic comebacks, clutch Dutch, etc.

I've got nothing to do until January 17th so I'm back in the saddle for now.

Avs-Habs.
Make it 6.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

DUTCHY

Enough said.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Update

Finals have taken over my life; unfortunately, this continue until the 17th.

Stuff to look at around the Avalanche blogosphere:

Avs were bag skated after what was apparently a pretty lackluster effort in Florida. Too bad none of us got to see it.

Matt Duchene has a Twitter account. Will he use this newfound power for good or evil?

Solid Koci sweater purchase by Jay Vean.

And not to sell Cornell short:

Our goaltender, Andy Iles, was named to the US WJC Camp Roster. He will be the backup for returning gold medalist, Jack Campbell.

See you later.

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