Thursday, September 27, 2007

Avalanche Roundtable - October 1st

Something historic is about to happen. On October 1st, the first inaugural Avalanche Blogger Round Table will be launched. There is a set of 8 questions which will be answered by a group of 11 bloggers/armchair GMs/windbags/awesome people. It will be more information, analysis and opinion than you can shake a hockey stick at.

Mile High Hockey will host the table of contents and each of the 8 participating sites will host all the answers to one of the questions. For example, here at Avs Talk, I will be hosting a question related to "make-or-break" players this season, DD over at In the Cheap Seats will host a question on who our new whipping boy might be, and so on.

Here is the full list of participating blogs:
Avalanche Talk
In the Cheap Seats
Dear Lord Stanley
Mile High Hockey
Jerseys and Hockey Love
Avs Prospects
Bleu, Blanc et Rouge
Hockey Rants

So book off October 1st now otherwise you'll just waste a day of work! And don't forget to add these sites to your bookmarks/feed list for all the latest information throughout the season.

Update: The roundtable is in the wild! Click here to view the answers to question #3, and click here to view the Table of Contents.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vaananen Signs in Sweden

Ossi Vaananen has signed in Sweden with Djurgarden. I couldn't see any contract details on that site but I might not know it if I did!

I'm a bit surprised that Ossi couldn't find a home somewhere in the NHL. He wasn't a terrible defenseman by any means. I figured a club looking to round out their top-6 might snag him but maybe Ossi prefers being in Sweden and getting more ice-time per game.

Update: It sounds like Ossi did get a few offers from NHL clubs but decided to turn them down. I would guess it's a combination of money and proximity to his hometown of Vantaa, Finland. The Swedish Elite League is still an excellent hockey league and I hope Vaananen does well with them.

Avalanche Reduce Roster to 27

The Avalanche reduced their roster to 27 today. Kyle Cumiskey, Johnny Boychuk, Jeff Jillson and Cody Mcleod have all been sent down to Lake Erie. No real surprises although some people may have been holding out hope that Cumiskey would stick. I wasn't one of those people although I do like his game. has the details as well as a piece on injuries and Liles offensive prowess. Hejduk and Svatos are practicing again but it sounds like Theodore is still recovering. Getting time in the last preseason game on Saturday is "a long shot". Click here to read it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Game Review: Avalanche 4 - Stars 5 (OT)

(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
The Dallas Stars took out the Colorado Avalanche in a 5-4 overtime win tonight. It dropped the Avalanche's *cough*meaningless*cough* preseason record to 3-0-2. The Avalanche squandered a 2-goal lead midway through the third and the Sergei Zubov ended it on the powerplay.

John-Michael Liles had a 2-goal night to bring his preseason point count to 6 (2g/4a). Wojtek Wolski and Jordan Leopold also found the back of the net. Joe Sakic rifled off 3 assists and Jaroslav Hlinka kept the points coming with one assist.

Peter Budaj played the whole game with Tyler Weiman backing him up. Coach Q had indicated that Budaj would get the whole game tonight and that he hopes to give Theodore some action on Saturday.

Media Reviews

Game Preview: Avalanche vs Stars

The Avalanche host the Dallas Stars tonight as they near the end of their preseason schedule. They close out the preseason against the Phoenix Coyotes Saturday in Denver and will then wait anxiously for October 3rd. What is October 3rd you say? Ok, nobody said that because everybody knows it's the start of the regular season for the Avalanche. Joy of joys!

Heading in to tonight, the Avalanche sit atop the Northwest division for the preseason (3-0-1) and Paul Stastny sits atop all goal scorers with 5 and he and T.J. Hensick lead the preseason scoring race. Unfortunately none of this matters for the regular season but it sure does pump you up.

Tonight and Saturday will be the defining points for the Avalanche roster. After paring themselves down to 31, they now need to look at bringing themselves down to 23 (excluding injured players) before the opening night puck drop. With Richardson, Svatos, Hejduk and Theodore on the shelf for the moment, it will give extra time for players such as Hensick and Weiman to impress the club. However, once Theodore is ready Weiman will be headed to the Monsters.

To take your mind off the long wait for the game to begin, why not check out some of these interesting articles from the Denver Post and websites.

Weiman Showing Promise in Goal
Top Line Searches for Chemical Bond
Stastny, Arnason Provide Scoring Punch

Media Previews Preview

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Game Review: Avalanche 2 - Kings 3 (SO)

(AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
It took a shootout to finally take the Avalanche down in the preseason as the Kings came out victorious in their annual Frozen Fury showdown. The Avalanche took a 2-1 lead into the third period but couldn't hold on as Dustin Brown tied the game at 13:19 and then proceeded to win it for the Kings in the shootout.

T.J. Hensick contributed one assist and Paul Stastny and Tyler Arnason had the two Avalanche goals. Tyler Weiman was in net the whole night with Michael Wall backing him up. Jonathan Bernier was in at the other end for the Kings.

So the Avalanche fall to 3-0-1 in the preseason with games left to play against Dallas and Phoenix. It should be interesting to see if anyone is cut before the next game or if the coaching staff is going to take it right down to the wire. It's not an enviable position at this point.

The Kings are now set to open their season in London next Saturday as they take on the Kings. I will be in Regina watching the Riders put the beat down on the Alouettes but the game will be recorded in all its high definition glory for me to watch on Sunday.

Oh, and what was with the scores page showing no games being scheduled today? That was pretty weak.

Quick Notes

Last year the Avalanche were defeated 3-2 in the Frozen Fury showdown

The Avalanche missed out on a 2-man advantage late in the third's photo page has lots of errors (mis-spelled names, incorrect names) and an obsession with using "puck" - particularly airborn ones - in every caption.

Media Reviews Recap Recap

Game Preview: Avalanche vs Kings

It's time for some Frozen Fury action as the Avalanche and Kings invade Las Vegas for their annual preseason ritual at the MGM Grand hotel. Hopefully the players haven't partaken too much in the Las Vegas festivities or their unbeaten streak may end tonight.

The way the team has played lately though, I think they can afford a hangover or two. They've steamrolled past Dallas, Phoenix and L.A. while giving little lineup time to their top guns. It almost makes you wish the preseason mattered.

If you made the trip out to Sin City, always remember - What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas! But make sure to send pictures.

Media Previews Preview

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Game Review: Avalanche 6 - Stars 3

(AP Photo/Tim Sharp)
The score was a repeat of last night with the Avalanche doubling up on the Stars 6-3. It took an unanswered 4-goal outburst in the 3rd to put the Avalanche over the top, mostly thanks to a 3rd period outburst of penalties by the Stars.

T.J. Hensick put up a goal and 2 assists, J.M. Liles had 3 assists, Eric Healey had 2 goals and 1 assist, Leopold had a goal and an assist and Hlinka tallied 2 assists. Budaj and Wall split time with Budaj saving 7 of 8 and Wall saving 12 of 14 for the win.

Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth, Andrew Brunette, Scott Hannan, Brett Clark and Paul Stastny sat this one out. Hejduk, Svatos and Jones continued to rest their injuries. Hejduk's groin injury has been changed to a hip flexor injury.

Quick Notes
The Hlinka-Healey-Hensick line was dynamite with a combined 8 points and a +8 rating.

Jordan Leopold and J.M. Liles got the bulk of the playing time on D with nearly 24 minutes each.

Rycroft and Barch dropped the gloves with Rycroft getting the worse end.

Media Reviews Recap
Denver Post Recap Recap Recap

Game Preview: Avalanche vs Stars

The Avalanche look to continue their huge preseason winning streak tonight as they head into Dallas to take on the Stars. Paul Stastny looks to keep up his torrid pace (6 points in 2 games) and T.J. Hensick and Jaroslav Hlinka will continue their argument for staying on the roster once the puck drops on Oct. 3.

I'd look to see Weiman in action again tonight after sitting out last game. Milan Hejduk, Marek Svatos and Tyler Arnason will likely sit out again tonight as they rest groin pulls. The usual groin epidemic is happening with all teams as per usual under the new CBA-shortened training camp schedule.

Media Previews Preview

Roster Moves
Dale Purinton and David Jones were reassigned to the Lake Erie Monsters as the Avalanche trimmed their roster to 33.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Game Review: Avalanche 6 - Kings 3

(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
The Avalanche defeated the Kings 6-3 in their first home preseason game which saw Ryan Smyth and Scott Hannan make their hometown debut. Joe Sakic, Andrew Brunette, Brett Clark and John-Michael Liles were also in the lineup while Milan Hejduk, Marek Svatos, Tyler Arnason and Jordan Leopold were the big names sitting out.

Michael Wall backed up Peter Budaj but did not see any action as Budaj saved 17 of 20 shots for the win. J.S. Aubin and Jason Labarbera split time for the Kings.

Paul Stastny notched 2 goals and 2 assists and T.J. Hensick also lit the lamp twice. Andrew Brunette put up 1 goal and 3 assists, Ryan Smyth scored once and Joe Sakic had 2 assists. Hlinka put up another assist as he continues to impress.

Sakic, Smyth and Brunette played together most of the night on the number 1 line and put up 7 points in total. It's almost a lock now that this will be the #1 line combo come the season opener.

Ian Lapperriere and Dale Purinton both got into scraps tonight. Purinton got the quadruple smash with 2 minutes for instigating, 5 for fighting, a 10 minute misconduct and a game misconduct.

Media Reviews Recap
Denver Post Recap Recap Recap

Smyth and Sakic Go Green

Going green may not have been the intention when Ryan Smyth moved down the street from Joe Sakic but that has allowed the two to car pool together to the rink. The only problem is that they seem to get lost and can't decide which one is responsible.

Read on for a fun look into the friendship between Ryan Smyth and Joe Sakic.

Chris Stewart Assigned to Lake Erie

Chris Stewart has been sent down to the Lake Erie Monsters after a terrific rookie camp. It was unexpected as Stewart had been racking up points since rookie camp began. However the coaching staff felt he was too inconsistent and sent him down quicker than some, and likely Stewart himself, would have suspected.

Matt Hussey and Ken Roche were also assigned to Lake Erie as the Avalanche pared their roster down to 35 in advance of their upcoming preseason game against the Kings.

It was also announced that Curtis Leschyshyn, who has the hardest last name to spell in the history of last names, has declined to take up the color commentary/analyst spot on the radio with Norm Jones. If you listened to the radio calls of the games, you would realize he doesn't seem cut out for that position. He will likely end up somewhere else within the organization in the future.

Chris Stewart Assigned to Lake Erie

Chris Stewart has been sent down to the Lake Erie Monsters after a terrific rookie camp. It was unexpected as Stewart had been racking up points since rookie camp began. However the coaching staff felt he was too inconsistent and sent him down quicker than some, and likely Stewart himself, would have suspected.

Matt Hussey and Ken Roche were also assigned to Lake Erie as the Avalanche pared their roster down to 35 in advance of their upcoming preseason game against the Kings.

It was also announced that Curtis Leschyshyn, who has the hardest last name to spell in the history of last names, has declined to take up the color commentary/analyst spot on the radio with Norm Jones. If you listened to the radio calls of the games, you would realize he doesn't seem cut out for that position. He will likely end up somewhere else within the organization in the future.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Training Camp Complete - Preseason Begins

I woke up this morning in a good mood and I wasn't sure why. Once I had my coffee and my brain kicked in, I was like a kid in a candy store as I remembered today was the start of preseason for the Avalanche.

The Avalanche face the Coyotes tonight at 10:00PM ET at the arean in Glendale, Arizona. Ah, I love corporate naming rights, don't you? The game will be accessible via radio and *may* be available as a free stream from the freshly launched site.

Launch the portal and then selected the Avalanche stream and cross your fingers! I've railed against the NHL's online offerings in the past but this is a giant step in the right direction.

EDIT: Bad news - the Avalanche game won't be available. Good news -select preseason games definitely are. Bad news - the system is still full of issues. I won't break them down into huge detail but it's still quite shaky. Go ahead and give it a shot and you may be able to catch the Canucks game. You have to register for Centre Ice first and then choose the free preseason package. Then hope your cookie sticks (not a euphemism) otherwise you may have to re-register with new details. Luckily my many years on the run from law have given me multiple aliases. *insert evil laugh*

It's a new service so there may be hiccups. If you can't get the game going, ask around on the forums and I bet someone will be able to give you a hand. Ensure you have the latest Flash player installed and that you are coming from a US or Canadian IP address. If you aren't in the States or Canada, there are ways to work around that problem. I won't publish them here because I do not condone it.

Team Burgundy Defeats Team White

Team Burgundy pulled out an exciting 7-5 win in the annual Burgundy/White game to close out training camp. 4 goals were scored in the final 2:30 of the game, concluded by an empty-net marker from Ken Roche, his second of the game, to seal the deal for Team Burgundy.

T.J. Hensick was the star of the game as he recorded two goals and two assists for Team Burgundy. Ian Laperriere showed his offensive flair with 1 goal and 2 assists and the Duke tallied two goals as well.

Weiman, Penner, Budaj and Wall all saw action in the crease. Budaj/Penner was the Burgundy combo and Weiman/Wall were in the net for Team White.

Brad Richardson, Jose Theodore and Cody McCormick were all spotted watching from behind the glass while they tend to their injuries.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Avalanche Unveil New Jerseys

The long wait is over and the new jerseys are out just in time for training camp. Call me crazy...but I like them. As announced, they're simple and don't really stray from the original design. The striping isn't overdone, the front of the jersey doesn't feel cramped (see Canucks, Vancouver) and the foot patches have been retained. I love the yeti foot.

Thumbnail shots from the Media Gallery section are below so you can see them in all their glory. Or all their gory. Whichever side of the liking it/hating it coin you fall on. I think the away jerseys are easier to like than the home jerseys.

Here is the Denver Post coverage. Thanks to Selanne for the link. (No, not that Selanne)

So how does this compare to the best concept jersey? Of all I've seen, a good chunk which are represented in the Picasa Web Concept Album, the one I preferred and hoped was closest to the real thing was this one:

So the yeti foot stays, but there is more piping than I would have hoped for. I can't say I won't be purchasing one though.

For a full list of officially released jerseys, visit the NHL Logo Picasa Web Gallery created by Chris from

And while you're there, don't forget to vote for the Avalanche logo. Unless you prefer the oil slick. And nobody prefers oil slicks. Especially baby seals. So a vote for the Oilers logo is a vote against baby seals. Won't somebody think of the seal children!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Rookie Camp Roundup

The Avalanche rookie camp came to a close today with minimal fanfare. But that doesn't mean the anticipation isn't lingering in the air! Camp got underway Saturday as the rookie lineup hit the ice from 9:30 until 11:30 in the morning. As with most hockey practices, the day started out with drills and ended with a scrimmage. The main difference from your typical practice scrimmage is we're talking a full-on game - refs, fights and all!

Day 1 - Cumiskey, Hensick, Stewart and Jones were the most impressive in Day 1 by most accounts. Stewart was strong on the puck and notched 2 goals in the scrimmage. Hensick appears to be living up to his billing as the Avalanche top-ranked prospect, notching one goal and looking impressive. Stewart will give him a run for the money with his power game plus goal-scoring abilities.

Recaps Day 1 Report
Avsprospects Day 1 Report
Woodchub's Day 1 Report

Day 2 - Hensick and Stewart continued to impress in Day 2 with Stewart finding the back of the net twice and Hensick putting one home as well. Mitch Love continued to show his feisty side as he and Brandon Straub dropped the mitts. Wall and Weiman both made some good stops and are, as expected, standing out as the #1 and #2 goaltenders at the rookie camp. Cumiskey, benefitting from his 9 games with the Avalanche last season, has improved his positioning and overall game.

Recaps Day 2 Report
Avsprospects Day 2 Report
Woodchub's Day 2 Report

Day 3 - Chris Stewart continued to find the twine today. Stewart tallied a hat trick as did Cody McLeod during the scrimmage. Tyler Weiman did not take part in the scrimmage and was reportedly working with Peter Budaj. So there may be a clear cut #3 coming out of rookie camp and Wieman should be chosen to play with the big boys once they take the ice this week for training camp.

And speaking of the big boys, they made a surprise appearance today and played a game of pickup hockey on the other side of the arena. This made rookie camp reports a bit sparse as most fans understandably flocked over to watch names such as Sakic, Smyth, Hannan, Stastny and - yes - Parker, step onto the ice publicly for the first time since April.

Recaps Day 3 Report
Avsprospects Day 3 Report

Day 4 - Rookie camp came to a close today with no scrimmage. It was nothing but drills for the youngsters in their final chance to impress the coaching staff. Cuts will be decided later today to select the group of rookies who will attend the Avalanche training camp,

Recaps Day 4 Report
Woodchub's Day 4 Report (on Avalanche forums)

With the conclusion of rookie camp, it's time for the veterans to take the ice. The veteran roster reports to the arena for physicals and medicals on September 13th and will take to the ice on September 14th and 15th. The Burgundy/White game concludes training camp on September 16th followed by the first preseason game against Phoenix on September 17th.

Yes, NHL hockey action has begun and the season is less than a month away! To pass the time, check out some of these interviews and articles relating to the Avalanche's promising youngsters.

Rookie Interviews Q&A; - Ray Macias Q&A - Trevor Cann Q&A; - Kevin Montgomery Q&A - Kyle Cumiskey

Related Articles - Weiman Keeps Working
Sports Illustrated Camp Coverage Camp Coverage
Denver Post - Chris Stewart Article
Denver Post - JD Corbin Article - Brendon Straub Article
Stewart and Hensick Beat The Odds

If anyone comes across other articles, let me know and I'll add them to the list.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Avalanche Sign Laperriere to Extension

TSN is reporting that Ian Laperriere has signed an extension that will keep him with the club through the 08/09 season. All I can say to that is "Yes!"

Adrian Dater reports the deal is worth $1.15M for 08/09 which is hardly an increase on his current $1M cap hit for this season. And again I say "Yes!"

Lappy is a fan favorite, a great leader, a hard worker and gives the best interviews of any Avalanche player. He's also extremely active in the community which affects his leadership qualities as well.

I'm glad he'll be around for two more seasons.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Pierre Turgeon Calling it a Career

TSN is reporting that Pierre Turgeon has called a news conference for Wednesday where he is expected to announce his retirement. The retirement will put an end to a long career spanning 19 seasons, 1294 games, 515 goals and 1327 points. The only thing missing in his Hall of Fame career was the ability to hoist the Stanley Cup over his head.

When Pierre signed a two-year, $3M deal with the Avalanche coming out of the lockout, there was a lot of uproar. It was believed that Turgeon was signed to make up for the absence of Peter Forsberg. While true, he wasn't meant to be the next Peter Forsberg. He put up 46 points in 62 games that year and had great chemistry with rookie goal-scoring sensation, Marek Svatos. Not Forsberg numbers by any means but pretty reasonable nonetheless.

Following that season he played a mere 17 games in an injury-shortened season which marked the death knell in his career. His absence last season was also bandied about as a reason for Marek Svatos' dreaded sophomore slump. We'll never know for sure but Turgeon was always renowned as an excellent set up man through his 6-team NHL career.

A crafty veteran with excellent hand-eye coordination, he won't be missed for his contributions last season but should always be remembered for the contributions he made his entire career.

EDIT: He has made it official. No Jeremy Roenick-style final season needed as he's already surpassed the 500-goal mark.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Jose Theodore's Fall From Grace

T.C Denault from Habs World recently wrote an article on Jose Theodore's fall from grace. While it had an overabundance of commas in some, at times, bizarre positions, I did enjoy reading the article. It covers his rise and fall in a neutral tone with no hint of the standard confrontational tone typical of most Theodore discussions. Haters and lovers alike should read it - it's pretty hard to argue against what is said.

If you don't want to be spoiled by the authors summation and probable cause then go read the article first and then come back.

Welcome back! That a lot of Theodore's troubles are mainly within his head is something that many people suspected but it's just so easy to write that off. Why blame his mental state when you can simply say he never had it. The pads were big during his best years. There was more of him to hit back then. It was the "dead puck era". Those ideas overlook the bad years he had before the dreaded lockout ended. Why weren't the pucks hitting him in those years?

I think the main reason I never fell into the Theodore hating camp is that I always felt bad for him. He is obviously a superb athlete - not just anyone can make it all the way to the NHL as a goaltender - and it's tough to simply lose your athletic abilities. However goaltending, more than any other position, requires an incredible amount of composure and intelligence with just the right amount of arrogance and self-confidence.

Patrick Roy had them all in spades. Jose Theodore has them all too. He just can't control them when he needs to.