Saturday, June 27, 2009

Matt Duchene Tribute Video

I found a link to a Matt Duchene tribute video in a post I'd done back in April. I'm not sure how I found it but damned if it didn't get me fired up again. You can see some Joe Sakic in him in terms of the wrist shot but after watching it, I see a ton of Peter Forsberg in this guy as well.

Matt Duchene Tribute Video

*sighs dreamily*

Sakic Has Made Up His Mind - (I Think) He's Coming Back

Our intrepid reporter, Adrian Dater, was on the beat in Montreal and got a hold of this gem from GM Greg Sherman: Joe Sakic has made up his mind. But before anyone is told that decision, Sakic is going on vacation.

All I'm going to say is don't go on vacation before you retire. You go on vacation after you retire.

Glad to have you back, Super Joe.

Post-Draft Thoughts - Avalanche Look to Major Junior

Once the smoke had cleared, the Avalanche got their guy - Matt Duchene - and added an additional forward, three defencemen and two goalies.

Round 1 (3) - Matt Duchene (C, Brampton Battalion)
Round 2 (33) - Ryan O'Reilly (F, Erie Otters)
Round 2 (49) - Stefan Elliot (D, Saskatoon Blades)
Round 3 (64) - Tyson Barrie (D, Kelowna Rockets)
Round 5 (124) - Kieran Millan (G, Boston U)
Round 6 (154) - Brandon Maxwell (G, US National Team)
Round 7 (184) - Gus Young (D, Noble)

In the first three rounds, the Avs strayed from US college hockey and went to Canada's major junior leagues in the CHL, grabbing two forwards from the OHL and two defencemen from the WHL. High-fives all around for those choices. Nobody likes to stereotype but gun to my head, I'd say it's the O that pumps out snipers, the W that pumps out D and the Q that gives us our lovable Francophone goaltenders.

Round-by-round Compustrike numbers
Round 1 was a no-brainer. A chimp could have got up and eeked out something sounding like "uchie" and everyone would assume he meant Duchene. But still, high-fives for not f'n it up!

In Round 2, the Avalanche made two excellent choices. I've watched Stefan Elliot and think he will grow into a solid top-four defenceman who can play on the #1 PP unit. In fact, some have labelled him as a Brian Rafalski-type player. He's got a shot at being on Team Canada for the 2010 World Junior tournament here in Saskatoon, which may be the first time an Avs prospect has played for Team Canada at the U20's. I've never seen Ryan O'Reilly play but I like the sounds of the scouting reports. Sure, he's not going to step on the ice this year and tear it up, but it sounds like he could mature into a top-six forward.

In Round 3, the Avalanche decided to go with Len Barrie's - yes, he of Lightning ownership fame - son, Tyson Barrie. He was partnered with Luke Schenn in Kelowna which gets my seal of approval. He put up some solid numbers in the Rockets run to the Memorial Cup and I'll be sure to be at the Blades-Rockets games to watch two Avs prospects duke it out on defence.

The Avs need more goaltending prospects and they looked to the late rounds to fill those up by grabbing Kieran Millan in Round 5 and Brandon Maxwell in Round 6. I could have sworn earlier today that Millan's stats were on hockeydb and showed a GAA of 1.67 in 28 games played this year, but I must have been off my rocker as . Maxwell would appear to be a longshot but there's something about Millan that has me slightly hopeful. EDIT: The Avs draft page say he posted a GAA of 1.94 while leading Boston to the NCAA championship.

And in Round 7, they grabbed another defenceman, Gus Young. I won't even attempt to say if this was a good choice or not. But he's got a good name, so I like him.

He won't know how successful this draft was overall for a few years, but on paper it looks pretty good. An argument could be made that we've got a lot of offensive defencemen waiting in the pipes and limited blue-chip goaltending prospects. But blue-chip goaltenders are tough to find and defensive defencemen often come out of nowhere to surprise you. I think the cubbard (intentional) is looking good.

Now we enter the free agency waiting zone where the Avs should be relatively quiet, unless they're able to offload some salary. And I wouldn't get my hopes up on that front if I were you.

Related Links Draft Wrap-up
Matt Duchene Post-Draft Interview (via MHH)
Duchene fist-pump knowing he was going to Colorado (via Jib)
5 Questions with Matt Duchene

Avalanche Draft O'Reilly, Elliot

Day two of the draft is already underway and the Avs have made two picks as I write this.

With the 33rd overall pick they chose Ryan O'Reilly, a forward with the Erie Otters. He's put up some decent points in his two seasons with them and he was a beast during the combine. (midway down)

With pick #49 the Avalanche went with Stefan Elliot, a defenseman with our very own Saskatoon Blades. Elliot can put up points but he's certainly not deficient in his own end. He's one of those players that's so smooth, you don't even notice how he's contributing. Elliot will be a big part of the Blades this season and I'll be watching him closely now that he's part of the mother organization.

And a nice job by Hockey's Future to already have those players linked up with the Avs!

Related Links
Hockey's Future Prospect Profile - Ryan O'Reilly
Hockey's Future Prospect Profile - Stefan Elliot

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Avalanche Draft Matt Duchene #3

Welcome to the Colorado Avalanche, Matt Duchene!

I'm so excited. More thoughts later but for now, back to enjoying the new office!

Oh and Sherman? No french.

EDIT: TSN says "Comparable: Steve Yzerman"

Come on, guys. "Comparable: Joe Sakic"

Draft Day Begins in 10 Minutes

Our wonderful IT crew has our Internet up and running, I found a TV with a cable connection and I'm good to go!

Rumor is Duchene is going #1. I don't believe it. I still think the Islanders are crazy to not take Tavares. He's ready to play. Duchene might not be.

Nonetheless, the intrigue has spiced things up!

Buckle down, folks. Garth Snow should be up at the podium in about 10 minutes.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Draft Day is Upon Us

Draft day is upon us and it would appear I've been in hibernation for the past two weeks. Well, I have reasons and they're work related - not in a bad way, in a very, very good way - but I won't bore you with that. What I will bore you with is some thoughts on the upcoming draft.

There has been a lot of controversy, so to speak, around what order the top three - John Tavares, Victor Hedman and Matt Duchene - will be selected in. But the smart money should still be on Tavares going first, followed by Hedman and then Duchene. The Islanders would be crazy not to take Tavares, the lightning need defence so bad it's tearing the owners apart and the Avalanche need to replace Joe Sakic, who has been silent as a monk since the season ended.

If the Avalanche are forced to take Tavares or Hedman, there will certainly be no tears shed, but I've got my hopes riding high on Duchene. Possibly unreasonably high, but can you blame me based on the last couple seasons? I'd grasp at anything right now to feel good about this franchise.

Heck, I started falling in love with the guy during the OHL playoffs and when Greg Wyshynski noted that Duchene was wearing a short-sleeve dress shirt + tie combo, the man crush was in full effect. Then Chris Pope fired me an email with a link to an interview he had with Duchene and damned if I wasn't ready to propose right then and there.

When the draft goes down tomorrow, I may not be able to be part of the breaking news. At noon tomorrow, we will be shutting down our office and shifting about ten blocks southwest to some swanky new digs. I will also be working on rolling out some internal system changes to coincide with the shrink wrap completely coming off on Monday morning.

I'm disappointed I won't be able to sit on my duff with my new netbook on my lap, but this move was a long time coming. It will just add to me elation tomorrow when the Avs snag Duchene. So if you don't hear from me, don't worry. I'm around and I'm happy. And I promise, I've got some thoughts I need to get out so you'll be hearing them soon.

Ah, the rallying cry of bloggers everywhere.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pittsburgh Penguins Win Stanley Cup

I'm a so happy.

Goodbye Lappy, Hello Darcy

Everybody, get prepared to hate on Darcy Tucker even more next season. Because of his ridiculous $2.5M salary, the Avs are lowballing Ian Laperriere in contract negotations and Lappy will likely no longer be a part of the Avalanche organization.

There are three sides of the fence to sit on. 1 - Keep Lappy at any cost. 2 - Let him go, he's old and slow. 3 - They should have traded him at the deadline.

Of course, there's all shades of grey in between 1 and 2, but I think most people can focus on #3 here. If the Avalanche were going to stay firm at their sub-seven figure offer, why keep him around in a disastrous season? Now they will lose Lappy for nothing, when they could have got back more than he was worth at the trade deadline.

Laperriere is certainly getting up there in age and the Avs are a bit hamstrung by cap dollars, but it would be nice if they cut out these ridiculous lowball offers from their "negotiating" tactics.

And am I the only one who sometimes feels a twinge of guilt at dealing with people as simply assets with value?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Blue Jackets Hat Trick Case

Greg over at Puck Daddy answered a question that many fans, including myself, have often pondered: Where do the hats go?

When I got the end and read what the Columbus Blue Jackets do with those hats, I found myself saying "That is a brilliant idea!"

The Blue Jackets have a transparent hat bin where all those hats go. Each hat trick has its own section in the bin and is labeled with the franchise hat trick number, who scored the trick, the date, time and opponent and at what point during the game it was scored.

It's unique, it's informative and it's engaging. That's pretty much the marketing trifecta right there. Well done, Jackets.

Avalanche Management Shakeup

The shakeup has begun.

Head coach Tony Granato, assistant coaches Jacques Cloutier and Dave Barr along with goaltending coach Jeff Hackett are gone from the coaching staff while assistant GM Michel Goulet and video coordinator PJ Deluca are gone as well.

So that's the entire coaching staff, a Nordiques legend plus what appears to be someone caught in the crossfire (ie. "acceptable losses")

I'm surprised that Goulet is gone but damn am I glad to see the entire coaching staff removed. I was getting worried that the organization was just paying lip service to the need to clean house and get the organization back on track.

Lacroix is either close to naming a new GM or wanted to attract a few eyeballs in the GM world to prove things will be different.

UPDATE: Damn, AD has the scoop on the new structure and Greg Sherman is the new GM with Craig Billington as his assistant. I really have to get ready to go to work so more thoughts when I wake up (yes, I type in my sleep).