Game Preview: Colorado Avalanche vs Dallas Stars - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Game Preview: Colorado Avalanche vs Dallas Stars

(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Oh man. I'm so excited it's hard to type. It's less than 10 hours away from the drop of the puck to officially open the season for the Colorado Avalanche. It has been a long off-season, made even longer by the Avalanche's two marquee signings. If fans weren't anxious before, once Smyth and Hannan were in the fold we were like kids in a candy store on Christmas Eve.

And if Hannan and Smyth weren't enough to get the fans into it, we were treated to some excellent preseason action which saw the Avalanche go 4-0-2 while showcasing superb youngster T.J. Hensick and the excellent pickup of Jaroslav Hlinka. Hensick was sent down to the AHL due to depth at center, but Jaroslav Hlinka stuck around after impressing everyone with his skills, including Mr. Sakic himself. At $600,000, he could be the steal of the year in the NHL.

They line up against the Dallas Stars on the Avalanches home turf, the Pepsi Center. Last year saw Dallas come out on top in the season opener with a 3-2 overtime win. And with coach Q's season-opener curse, that might scare some people. However if there's one thing in life that's certain - besides death and taxes - it's that the more things stay the same, the more likely they are to change. At least in the sporting world that is.

The lines tonight see Hejduk re-joining Sakic along with Smyth on the first line. Jaroslav Hlinka slots in with Stastny and Brunette on the 2nd line. Wolski slides down to the third pairing with Arnason and Lappy (who should teach Wolski something about work ethic) and Svatos starts out the year on the 4th line with Scott Parker and Wyatt Smith. The one name I wanted to see there was Ben Guite but I guess he lost out to Wyatt Smith. They could have always slotted Guite in on the wing instead of Parker but such is life.

The defensive pairings get even more interesting. I'll hold judgment until I see how they play together but it's completely changed from what I, and most people, expected to see. Hannan and Clark are the top pair, Liles joins Skrastins on the second pairing and Jordan Leopold and Kurt Sauer round out the lineup. And again, a name I wanted to see isn't on there as Jeff Finger is the healthy scratch on D tonight. It's not a shock but it is disappointing.

Tyler Weiman backs up Peter Budaj tonight as we all knew heading into the game. Theodore is back on the ice practicing but they want to take their time to make sure he's 100% ready to go before inserting him into the lineup.

Watch for Joe Sakic to move into an eighth-place tie with Phil Esposito on the all-time points list. He is a mere point away from tying and with 7 points in 4 games against the Stars last year, it just might happen tonight. Because what happened last year totally matters to this season. It does.

The Avalanche are heavy favorites in the betting world and I'm predicting they will break Q's goose egg opening-night record tonight. The game begins at 9:30 ET so to pass the time away, check out a slew of season previews, team previews and game previews from around the sports world. Avalanche Preview Avalanche Preview Northwest Division Preview
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