Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Colorado Avalanche Projected Opening Night Lines

EDIT: AD has the scoop on the actual lines!

Wolski-Stastny-Hejduk
McLeod-Duchene-Svatos
Tucker-Galiardi-Stewart
Koci-Hendricks/O’Reilly-Hensick

Quincey-Clark
Liles-Salei
Hannan-Foote

Anderson

So keep reading if you want to see how close this was or make me fun of me for where it missed ;)

Original Post

I'm not even going to research this one based on line pairings during pre-season. I'm just going to toss it out there.

Wolski-Stastny-Hejduk
Galiardi-Duchene-Svatos
Hensick-O'Reilly-Stewart
Mcleod-Hendricks-Tucker

Foote-Liles
Hannan-Quincey
Clark-Salei

Anderson

Forwards
I've heard that T.J. Galiardi was taking a lot of draws but I don't recall ever hearing him actually playing center. I know that sounds weird but it happens. I don't think it's crazy to expect him to play on the left side when there's a lot of centers on the team and few left wings.

Putting Hensick on left-wing probably won't happen and frankly I'd be inclined to leave him out of the lineup, move Cody Mcleod to the third line and put David Koci at left-wing on the fourth line. That would leave a fairly mediocre fourth line but I wouldn't expect them to see the ice much. I suppose you could even swap Mcleod and Hensick, leaving Hensick with Tucker. I seem to recall they played half-decent with each other last year.

Once Jones is back, things get a bit harder on right-wing, unless Sacco has the sack to sit Tucker.

Defense
It's pretty common to pair a puck mover with a stay-at-home defender. I think it's a safe bet that Sacco/Lefebvre will go that route.

Alternate
If Galiardi does indeed line up at center, I'd shift to this lineup:

Wolski-Stastny-Hejduk
Mcleod-Duchene-Svatos
Hensick-Galiardi-Stewart
Hendricks-O'Reilly-Tucker

It would seem to be a waste to put O'Reilly in that slot though in my opinion. I know Mcleod has been riding shotgun with Duchene so it would make sense to move him all the way up to the second line if Galiardi isn't there.

Final Thoughts
I think the first line is essentially set in stone, the center for the second line is set in stone and after that, it's a bit of a crapshoot to guess what Sacco and his assistants will do.

Thankfully we don't have much longer to wait!

Colorado Avalanche 2009/10 Roster

I'm a bit late on this but after the recent cuts and injuries, the Avalanche's roster will consist of the following on opening night:

Center
Matt Duchene
Paul Stastny
T.J. Hensick
Ryan O'Reilly
Matt Hendricks

Right Wing
Milan Hejduk
Chris Stewart
Marek Svatos
Darcy Tucker

Left Wing
Wojtek Wolski
T.J. Galiardi
Cody Mcleod
David Koci

Defense
Adam Foote
Scott Hannan
John-Michael Liles
Ruslan Salei
Kyle Quincey
Brett Clark

Goaltender
Craig Anderson
Peter Budaj

IR
David Jones
Tom Preissing

I'll be back shortly with projected lines. Just have to find a hat to draw names out of...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Avalanche Roundtable - How is this season going to be different for you?

The Avalanche roundtable is on its penultimate day and I'd first like to thank Mike for all the work he's done organizing us. With 20+ respondents & blogs, it never would have gotten done as smooth as it was without his work. Second, thanks to all the Avalanche bloggers for taking time to share their thoughts. You know how hard it is to pry an opinion out of us...

And now, let's drop the wussy shout outs and get down to business! The answers are listed in the following order(s): submission time (first to last), who is best looking (last to first), geography (south to north) and who has least of a life (most to least). And it's book-ended by the most succinct answers in blogging history. I'll leave it up to you to decide if that last statement means the book-ends are not part of the orderings mentioned above (Hint: they are) or if the orderings even make sense (Hint: they don't).

How is this season going to be different than previous seasons for you?

Mike (MHH): I get to go to a game?

Magnum (Disgruntled Avalanche Blogger): This season will be different because Joe Sakic is gone. In years past, it was realistic to go into every season with playoff expectations as long as Super Joe was on the team. This year, neither are the case.

Another very important thing to consider is the Avalanche's goaltending. for the first time in the last three years, neither Jose Theodore nor Peter Budaj will be the starting goaltender for Colorado. To this, I breathe a sigh of relief. I'm not sure how Anderson will do, but at least he won't let in a bunch of floaters every game.

Jay Vean (Avs Hockey Podcast): No Sakic is going to be plain weird. I'm still wondering is Avs hockey is going to be Avs hockey without Captain Clutch. He's one of the main reasons why so many of us are Avs fans in the first place.

It will also be different because Pepsi Center will not be the place to be for a while. It seems so long ago that the Avs sold out 487 straight games. I have really forgotten what a full house looked and felt like. I hope that feeling returns sooner than later. Until then, more leg room for me I guess.

Angélique (Avs Prospects): Expectations will certainly be different for 2009-10. I don’t expect the Avs to contend for the playoffs. Unlike years past when the Avs are competing for Stanley Cups, this year will be a season of evaluating young players. Even with expectations low, there will still be some excitement when going to the rink to watch these young players develop.

Lowered expectations also means the Pepsi Center will not be as lively or full. To me, that will be a disappointment for the young players, but one can understand considering the price of Avalanche tickets and the current economic situation.

David (MHH): I'm going to steal Angélique's answer (again). Last year, I thought the Avalanche might be able to go deep in the playoffs. This year, I have no such expectations. I don't believe the team is going to be in the playoff hunt and, frankly, feel that another poor finish in the standings will be better for the franchise in the long run. I'm basically looking forward to watching the young players throughout the year. I have to admit, the thought of covering a rebuilding team like the Avs is kind of interesting and even a little revitalizing. We'll see if I'm saying the same thing in January...

Matt Jordan (Mile High Mayhem): The D is aging, while the rebuild starts up front. This year, my major expectation is to improve, and start to work with the younger kids. Right now, I think the best case scenario is everything clicks, the injuries are down, and we fight for a low seed in the playoffs.

Then, there is the elephant in the room...no Joe Sakic. Our security blanket is gone. #19 was always the constant, and it's going to leave a HUGE hole, not just on the ice, but in the PR department. From the business standpoint, someone has to become the face of the franchise, but the question is...who will step up?

Grant Beery (Hockeyism): A lot of folks are answering this question on how their outlook of the team is going to be different, but I want to tell you how it will be different for ME personally (cue cheesy Deep Thoughts music):

The biggest difference for me will be all the work I'll be doing with The Avalanche Guild. Not only will I be at the arena a lot more this year, but I am also tasked with really getting the word out about the Avs and all the events the Guild is doing. This is going to connect me with a lot more fans and dedicate all my free time to hockey.

Me: No Joe.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Avalanche Roundtable HIts Tomorrow; David Jones Already Kills Prediction

Quick note that the Avalanche roundtable will be stopping by here tomorrow for a question on the season as a whole for the Avalanche and their fans.

But in news related to what I'll be saying in the windup of the roundtable on Wednesday...well, it's not good. I am predicting, once again, a 30-goal season for David Jones. Unfortunately he'll be sitting out an infinite, I mean indefinite, amount of games thanks to a bruised chest.

I might be jinxing the kid...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Milan Hejduk Signs Extension with Avalanche

Adrian Dater reported via Twitter that Milan Hejduk has signed a one-year contract extension with the Avalanche.

Smells like a sign & trade. Right? Right?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Denver Sports Radio Interview

My 10-minutes of radio fame is up! In case you missed it you can listen to the replay below. I'm big on data storage and don't like anything to vanish into the tubes, never to be seen again.

I'll have a follow-up post later tonight or tomorrow to finish off a few thoughts I had. The 10 minutes went by quick and I had more to say but wanted to make sure we covered all the topics they wanted to discuss.

Did anyone catch my two slip-ups? First was calling Budaj "boody" but there was another one in there that I kind of adjusted mid-sentence so it wasn't a total screw up. Just a partial one.

Blogger doesn't do audio uploads but it does do video (?!?!?) so I had to convert it before uploading. Enjoy staring at the Avs logos while listening to my babble on!

video

Radio? Sure, I've got the face for it but...

Denver Sports Radio contacted me early this week to see if I'd be a guest on their show. I wasnt available most of the week but we found a time this Friday at 5:20pm5:45pm. And I just checked my calendar today and it's Friday! I'll be chatting with them for about 2010 minutes today about Avalanche hockey and I've gotta tell ya, I'm a bit nervous.

See, when writing for this blog I can change my mind mid-sentence, re-write the whole post and nobody would be the wiser. I can take my time to gather my thoughts because there's no dead air to fill. Heck, I can delete something I said and pretend I never said it. I've never done it, but I could. But on the radio, it's real-time, unfiltered, uncut, unedited and boy I hope my brain is focused enough for that!

I'll be making a concerted effort not to ramble on which may mean cutting some of my thoughts short. Any parts I leave out though, I'll fill in with a post here following the show.

If there are any pearls of wisdom anyone wants me to mention, feel free to leave a comment and I'll be sure to say who it came from if the topic comes up.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Avalanche Brass Make Right Choice Naming Foote Captain

A couple days ago, I posted this. Geo then tried to asplode my head in the comments and I responded by saying I thought that Paul Stastny would be named the captain.

That wasn't because I wanted Stastny to be the captain. It was simply because so many other NHL teams have recently put the C on players who have barely hit puberty, let alone figured out how to captain an NHL team.

The Avalanche decided to go a new/old route and named aging vet, Adam Foote, captain of the 2009/10 Colorado Avalanche. And it's 100% the correct choice.

We all know Foote can lead. We've seen it in the glory days many times and to stand out as a leader on stacked squads is quite a feat. If you were to go into battle, can you honestly tell me you wouldn't want Foote beside you?

We've seen little of what Stastny can do as far as leadership in his short time in the league and have no idea if a better leader will emerge in the near future.

There's no point putting the weight of a rebuilding team on a young players shoulders. Let a vet handle the load, ultimately passing off a lighter one to an older and wiser young star.

And naming a captain before training camp started? Aces all around.

It's a good start to the season from Avalanche brass. Let's hope they keep it up.

Colorado Avalanche Training Camp is Underway

It began even before I woke up this morning. More fresh ice. More new equipment. More new faces.

That’s right, the Colorado Avalanche have taken the ice for training camp which can only mean one thing - Joe Sakic retirement night is under a month away.

The weirdest thing happened this morning. I woke up, checked to make sure all my limbs were still moveable after an intense opening night of indoor vball, and then had to answer 50 questions from the girlfriend. But the one I really paid attention to was this one: “What was that night for the thing in Denver?”

Even in my sleep-addled state, I knew what she meant. See, the day Sakic announced his retirement I said “I’m going to opening night to see them retire his number.” Her response? “You’re an idiot.” Or something to that effect. And given the costs of what would be almost an overnight trip, I figured she just might be right.

But this morning when I told her the date, she asked “Are you still going?” I’ll fast forward through the rest and end on her final words “It’s only going to happen once. You should probably go.”

So I’ve got a green light! Unfortunately my scrimp-o-meter is off the charts. The flights would be $600, transportation at least another $50, meals about $75, ticket $100, hotel $150 and misc expenses would bring that to around $1000.

I’ve got some thinking to do over the next couple days. But in the meantime, I’m following Jori and Dario’s tweets from dev camp. Maybe that will get me in enough of a hockey mood to forget the money.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

CBC Still Not Quite Getting It

I follow Elliotte Friedman on Twitter, along with many other fine CBC folks, and I enjoy the content they provide. Friedman recently posted a blog entry on the Dany Heatley trade, twitted about it and so I journeyed over to check it out.

But as soon as I got there, I shook my head. Not at the content, but at what I consider a failure of the design of the CBC Sports Blog.

A blog - and all websites for that matter - are about content. In fact the most common mantra you'll hear in the web game is "Content is king." But CBC either didn't get the memo, didn't spend enough time on the user experience, or just didn't care.

Check out the story for yourself and tell me what your eye is drawn to first.

Done?

Now be honest, was it the content that drew your eye or was it Friedman's bio, which is the only part of the content area that contains a photo. And an unnecessarily large photo at that.

Friedman's mug was continually in my line of sight while reading the first couple paragraphs and I had to actively keep my eye from tracking over there. That is the exact opposite of how you should be guiding your visitors.

There are many ways to fix that including shrinking the mug shot, removing it entirely, shrinking the width of the right column, adding a photo to the article, shrinking the amount of bio text or any sort of combo of those.

It's just not good enough from the CBC web folks. They should know better.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I wish I was in Denver

Did you hear it? Yep, that's what you thought you heard. A fresh set of rookies taking their freshly sharpened skates onto a fresh sheet of ice. I wasn't there, but I heard it.

Colorado Avalanche rookie camp got underway today and following along on Dario's twitter feed had me wishing I was in Denver catching the action first-hand rather than through the Inter-tubes.

There's nothing quite like seeing hockey players heading onto the ice. And when that group includes some promising rookies in Matt Duchene, Ryan Stoa, T.J. Galiardi, along with the returns of Steve Konowalchuk and Sylvain Lefebvre? Invigorating. And that's from 1700+km away. I can only imagine what it felt like to be there.

Is it Oct 5th yet?

Related Links
Training Camp Day Discussion (thoughts from mfrured20)
First day of rookie camp, with video (AD brings back the blog)
Rookie Camp Roundup - Day 1 (Angelique gathers it all up for us)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Is that really your first question?

Sean Leahy over at P Diddy, I mean Puck Daddy, posted his excellent Colorado Avalanche season preview as part of an ongoing series previewing all 29 NHL teams.*

He asked me and a few other bloggers for one or two sentences to use as quotes in the article. Now, I don't know what Jib thought one or two meant but Tapeleg still bested me in the quest to use the least amount of digi-bits (see, I hear the interweb is filling up these days so I try and say as little as...).

But what got me was the first response to the article. It wasn't "Thanks for the hard work in producing all this content for us, Sean." It wasn't "Avs suck!*@#&" It wasn't "I miss Joe Sakic." It wasn't "I miss Tyler Arnason." No, it was "Who will be Captain?"

Am I alone in providing the following answer:
Who gives a s*#&?

Maybe I'm just cranky because it's been a long time since the Avalanche, let alone hockey, have been on TV. Maybe I'm as tired as Paul is of all the crap surrounding the league right now. But why is this the first question on everyone's mind?

I'm far more curious about who will line up at left wing on opening night. Or whether Duchene will make the team (he will). Or who the surprise out of camp will be. Or if the defense will regain some cajones with Lefevbre in charge. Or if I'm going to cry during the epic Joe Sakic video tribute on opening night. Or whether the Avs have hired ice girls at Craig Anderson's request.

Who the captain will be is far down my list of concerns and I'd be just fine if they left it absent for a year in homage to Super Joe.

* Phoenix isn't a team anymore, right?