Tag Archives: Colorado Avalanche

2013 NHL Draft: The Newark Shake

At the end of the Top 10 in the First Round of the 2013 NHL Draft, it all got shuffled.

The Avalanche sent Joe Sakic and Partick Roy out on the floor to pick the not-surprising offensive power rookie, Nathan McKinnon. Sakic is a classy guy, and I was disappointed by the NJ fans booing Sakic thanking Lou L for hosting. Boo you!

Surprise in the NO.2 pick, as Aleksander Barkov is selected by the Florida Panthers. That was a surprise, but Florida feels they need to beef up a line with a big Center.

Tampa Bay shook it up picking Joanathan Drouin, as Steve Yzerman likes the kid. Interesting pick as TB bought out Vincent LeCavelier, and indicating Drouin may see ice time next season.

While Seth Jones waited patiently, the Nashville Predators were making their plan and pressing the jersey for this defensive pick of the draft. At NO. 4, a defender is good, but are the D-men losing respect? Don’t forget how important the defenders can be when your offense sucks. Shea Weber and Seth Jones means Nashville has seen the light.

The Carolina Hurricanes at NO. 5 pick slot, did not trade up or down, but selected Elas Lindholm. A Swede who will go to train before joiing the team. He will play in Sweden next season.

In NO. 6, the Calgary Flames need to ignite their team and their quest for the Cup. So, as it goes, the Flames pick Sean Monahan. Expected pick who can overcome adversity, which really means that he played on bad teams before. Go Sean!

Edmonton has had the first picks for the past few seasons, and the fact that they are picking the NO.7 shows that top draft picks do make a difference. Darnell Nurse gets to go play with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins! A defenseman is exactly what the Oilers need. Darnell, you won the Lottery too.

Buffalo has had its better days.  With the NO. 8 pick there have not been many trades or dealings.  Many speculated the Sabres would make some type of deal or just pick a big player and defender…and they did in  Rasmus Ristolainen.  He’s a hard hitter with a hard shot and a great name.

And just as NJ Devils were about to make their NO. 9 pick, they trade it to Vancouver for Cory Schneider! Vancouver get the pick. Bo Horvat from the London Knights has been compared to Avs player Ryan O’Reilly.

And the final pick in the Top 10, goes to the Dallas StarsValeri Nichuskin is a strong addition to the Stars who already have Jamie Benn as a weapon.  The question is whether he will be on the ice next season.

That’s it for me. Follow more hockey info and in-depth article on the draft picks at The Hockey Writers.

Negotiations in Newark: Manufacturing the Perfect Team

NHL Draft 2013 has hit the Prudential Center in Newark. Whatever happens in a mock draft, may be true to the actual draft, however, surprises happen.

In a mock draft, the expected results for the top 5 draft picks are:

1. Nathan McKinnon (C) Going to the Colorado Avalanche, which was not what most suspect,  considering the Avs need to build up their defense. Originally, Seth Jones was selected to be the primary overall NO. 1 pick. The Avs like to pick offensive talent…Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny, for example.
2. Seth Jones (D) Going to the Florida Panthers, which is a great move. The Panthers really bolstered their D and that move helped create a strength down their in the sunshine.
3. Jonathan Drouin (LW) Going to Tampa Bay Lightning, and many think he should have been the NO. 1 pick overall.
4. Aleksander Barkov (C) Nashville Predators pick a big center, after the Preds offense drizzled this season.
5. Valeri Nichuskin (LW) Carolina Hurricanes know this is a good fit with Alex Semin.
6. Sean Monahan (C) Calgary Flames need all the help they can get.
7. Darnell Nurse (D) Edmonton Oilers are adding some gritty defense to complement their offensive young guns.
8. Nikita Zadorov (D) Buffalo Sabres has had a good run with Tyler Myers, so the experiment continues.
9. Elas Lindholm (C) New Jersey Devils have a Swede!
10. Alexander Wenberg (C) Dallas Stars also know the Swedes are training and taking their hockey programs to the next level.

10. Alexander Wenberg (C) Dallas Stars also know the Swedes are training and taking their hockey programs to the next level.

Let’s see what really happens the 2013 NHL Draft! I will be updating this blog with twitter feeds from Dan Rice, a NJ Devils writer for The Hockey Writers.

Hey Hockey, What’s Up?

I’m really glad the NHL has returned. I missed the righteous slapshots of Pavel Datsyuk,the energy around Madison Square Garden on game day, the Enforcers, and my fellow fans- the best fans in sports.

Though I am wearing my Wings jersey, I really wanted to boycott the NHL and not watch a game. I don’t really care about all the past chaos, I’m just happy I can sit down and watch a game every night. All is forgiven. The lockout forced  me into a path that pays.

Blood, sweat and tears is the art of journalism. The drive is insatiable. No more up all night to hit the news wire, no more fantastic editors to work with….I’ve been so blessed, and no more play-by-play. I got a great marketing job, write for a local paper and get to interview people in sports, music and design….so, I think we’re okay.

I’ve covered the Colorado Avalanche, the Detroit Red Wings, the New York Rangers and will continue to follow. I’ve had the privilege to attend University of Denver Pioneers games, watching Matt Carle and Paul Stastny. Michigan hockey and the Detroit Red Wings have my allegiance. I can’t quit hockey.

Living on the east coast does provide the hockey fan with the best hockey coverage outside of Canada. Almost every night, I have a choice of watching a Devils, Rangers, or Islanders game. The only deprivation I face now is not getting enough Red Wings.

Fantasy hockey owners are scrambling to repair broken teams as players face injuries getting back on the ice. This is the time to watch out for the newbies on the roster. The fantasy hockey portion of my blog will be up next week.

Welcome back hockey fans!

Thanks Joe!

Last night, one of the greatest hockey players to grace the ice, was honored as an inductee to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Joe Sakic is a class act. His leadership in the sport of ice hockey has been monumental. He’s a great guy too.

Sakic was the gentleman leader who instilled playing an honest game with integrity. He was shy, yet always the ambassador to the hockey world. He brought the NHL and hockey to Colorado, where most poeple were transplants from elsewhere. I knew Minnesota Wild, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, and Pittsburgh Penguins fans converted into Avalanche fans due in large part to what heart Sakic and his team brought to Denver. They became one of us, on our team.

I remember seeing him ride along downtown Denver atop a fire engine hoisting the Stanley Cup. The thrill of hockey had been reborn in me. Coming from Detroit, I missed the games, the passionate fans, and the hockey players I followed. Joe Sakic became and will always be my favorite Avalanche player. I devoted much of my blog to how the Avalanche and Joe Sakic’s living legacy created competitive hockey and a strong community.

He had skeletons that he locked away and when asked about them in interviews, he would change the subject or conclude the interview. He was there to talk about his team, not a horrific day tha haunted him. Most journalists knew that event shaped his dedication and emotion for playing the game, and respected his privacy.

Sakic was a pioneer for the youth hockey advancement and development in Denver. Kids new to hockey looked to Joe for inspiration. Denver, primarily a football town, was unaware of young hockey stars in waiting.

The University of Denver Pioneers men’s hockey team had a brighter spotlight as hockey rose in popularity. DU groomed two NHL stars in Paul Stastny and Matt Carle, and became NCAA champions. The Frozen Four would never had been hosted by Denver in 2008 if Sakic hadn’t created such an affection for local hockey.

Players respected and emulated him. Fans wore his jersey proudly. We all knew Joe. And we knew Joe saw us too. We were not just a crowd, we were a community. We were The Avalanche.

As a staunch Red Wings fan, Joe was the only guy who could tear me away from Detroit. When the Detroit Red Wings came to town, it was really a battle between Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic. I was heartbroken that I had to choose between the two. Both men remain iconic representatives of a generation of NHL fans who can agree on their talented leadership and sportsmanship. Old school fans still ask, “Sakic or Yzerman?”

All the stats in his career can’t replace the years of happiness he has brought to the many fans around the world. He’s a class-act and his induction as a Hall of Famer is testament to the good guys out there making a difference. Thanks Joe!

Let the bashing begin…

I usually don’t bash my fellow hockey fans, but I can’t resist this one. In an open letter to the Colorado Avalanche on a popular fan site, a “fan” ripped apart each player for the Avs declining season. It’s one thing to comment on their play, but to rip them apart on a personal level shows the lack of sportsmanship and love of the sport. Only Chris Stewart received a somewhat positive cheer as he has returned to the line-up. I’d really like to see this “fan” strap on some skates and do any better. Yeah, bet you’d fall on your face. The season isn’t over yet! The crap written about Matt Duchene and Kevin Shattenkirk are rude and have nothing to do with the game. This putz of a fan bashes personally because he must not know how the game is played. If an Avs player did what Sean Avery did with “sloppy seconds” then have at ’em, but they didn’t. And so it goes in Denver. Bandwagons came across the prairie and into Colorado apparently way back when. I know a die-hard Avs fan that cannot stand fellow Avs fans because of shit like this.

The lack of attendance at any Avalanche game is appalling. Kroenke Sports needs to sell and move back to Quebec to make some money and for the fans who actually appreciate the game. Truly, what the hell does Shattenkirk’s hair have to do with winning games? One of the Avs best players, Matt Duchene, was chided for drinking vodka so therefore he’s a commie according to this fan’s rant. Oh, yeah, that’s right; Duchene needs to beer bong it with some Coors. Even the return of Peter Forsberg has created a lackluster effect on the fans, who doubt his ability. He’s been signed to help with the playoffs, and boost morale. God knows-good energy isn’t coming from the fans.

Hear me out. I subscribe to plenty of fan sites, but I’ve taken this one off of my list. The ignorance is beyond reproach. If you talk like this about the Rangers, they’ll just yell in your face. Trust me, I know first-hand. I once posted a story on Sean Avery criticizing his play, not his personal issues, and I got bashed. If this kind of nonsense found its way to Detroit, expect a seriuos eye roll and snub. And that’s the nice version. If a fan wrote an open letter to the Wings bashing Datsyuk or Zetterberg, your fanship would be revoked. Comments like this about the Flyers- we wouldn’t see you for days. It’s one thing to remark on how to improve the game constructively, but take your slander elsewhere. Seriously, referring to Brandon Yip’s name sounding like “his dog’s diarrhea” is beyond childish. It’s asinine. The comments on the post were all in support of this playground taunting. The site claims it is a “despicable” hockey blog but really it’s all based on cheap shots of people who can’t defend themselves. NHL players are actually people.

Many of the posts on the blog rip apart the Red Wings too, as if they want to be a Red Wings blog. The editor of this blog is a decent guy but his contributors are out of control. If the open letter was supposed to be funny, maybe there would be hope, but it wasn’t. A 3rd grader could have written a better post. Trash talk is supposed to be in jest poking at an opponent’s team, but maybe this guy believes if he bullies the team their play will improve. He does sign off with a spirited Go Avs! I say, go jump in Grand Lake! Rants stem from frustration. Don’t you think the players are frustrated? Probably, and they are adjusting the best they can. Perhaps that wacky Shattenkirk hairdo inspires his play. And don’t forget, Kevin Porter was the Hobey Baker winner in 2008 as Captain of the Michigan Wolverines, so his career isn’t on the same level working as a “porter” that the douchebag claims in his post. The highly PC comment for defensman David Koci was, “f**king concentration camp guard. How the f**k are you so sweet and gentle?” Huh? A self-proclaimed Avaholic was responsible for this post. He wants the players to be motivated by these positive concepts and do better. Ha!

I wore my Red Wings jersey to all the Avs games I attended, but I was never taunted like that. Actually, true fans of hockey love the rivalry talk and can respect the other team involved. It’s easy to take digs when you’re not face-to-face with a player. Being in the public eye does lend itself to criticism but most AHL and NHL players let it roll. They also avoid the commentary because it hinders their game. I’d love to see this guy say his f***ing rants to at least one of those players. Maybe, next time I see Kevin Porter or Shattenkirk I could arrange that.

The players of the Colorado Avalanche are normal nice guys who want to win. There is always talk about how the Avalanche don’t really want it, or they don’t play with heart. What team goes out on the ice each night to lose? Which player forgets to turn on his heart as game time approaches? The fans ripped on them last year and the year before, especially trying to lose to get a better draft pick. Their support is limited to winning. I ask Avs fans to consider that maybe their support can help the team win games. I think I’ll stick with fans who actually give a crap about the game and know how to play the game on and off the ice. I’m disappointed in the Avs hockey community for supporting this type of nonsense. I’ve met so many wonderful Avs fan via my blog, at morning skates, and at training camp who should be better represented. Kudos to those fans still in the game. Hockey isn’t about being an asshole, it’s about shutting up and letting the players play the game.

All-Stars Shining Bright

The NHL All-Star weekend kicks off in Raleigh, and both Crosby and Malkin will be missing. This makes room for the Carolina Hurricanes to showcase the talents of Jeff Skinner and Jamie McBain. Skinner has been added to the Staal team, and McBain will participate in the skills competition. Nice to see Paul Stastny added as the second representative for the Colorado Avalanche, a fantastic model for the young gunners found in many new teams, including Carolina.

The NHL Network will have a two-hour special starting at 6 p.m. EST on Friday, then the skills competition on Saturday, followed by the 2011 NHL All-Star Game on Sunday at 4 p.m. EST.

While the festivities in Raleigh rage, the AHL is putting on the Ritz in Hershey Jan. 30-31. The 2011 AHL All-Star Skills Competition is at 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 30, and the 2011 AHL All-Star Game at 7 p.m. on Monday, January 31. As a hockey enthusiast, the AHL weekend is a surge to highlight the players who may be sitting on an NHL roster near you. Included in the selections of 31 first-time AHL All-Stars and 11 rookies, with roots at the University of Denver and the Big Ten worth taking a look at.

AHL rookie scoring leader Rhett Rakhshani of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and formerly of DU is an exciting player to follow. His name sent a rush through the crowd at the Ritchie Center in Denver. I witnessed Rakhshani’s talent that was evident of a great future career in hockey.

Other notables to watch and take notes:
*Bobby Butler, leading rookie-goal-scorer of the Binghamton Senators
*Goaltender Jake Allen of the Peoria Rivermen
*Martin Jones, goaltender of the Manchester Monarchs.

Grand Rapids Griffins and former University of Wisconsin defenseman and Hobey Baker finalist, Brendan Smith, is absolutely a player to watch. He signed an entry-level contract in 2007 with the Detroit Red Wings, so keep your eye on his skills and his career.

Other notable players who played in the AHL All-Star game last season, and worth taking note:
*Syracuse Crunch goaltender, Kyle Palmieri
*John Moore, defenseman for the Springfield Falcons
*Corey Locke of Binghamton, who is the all-time leading scorer in the AHL All-Stars and the AHL leading scorer.
*Dustin Jeffrey, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Center who has some time on the ice with the Pittsburgh Penguin.

From the Southeast Division, note these players with time in the NHL:

*Andrew Gordon, winger for Hershey and the Washington Capitals
*Bryan Rodney, of the Charlotte Checkers and Carolina Hurricanes

These AHL players are crucial to the success of the NHL and many have seen ice time with their respective franchises. Enjoy a weekend full of hockey!

All I want for Xmas is a….

Nothing could be better than the smell of pine wafting from the Christmas tree, presents, treats and festivities galore, except a Detroit Red Wings win over the Colorado Avalanche on Dec. 27. After all the gifts are opened, Franzen needs to pull out a power-play goal, Rafalski must deliver the hits, and Justin Abdelkader needs to put on his boxing gloves for a present every Red Wings fan wants.  This game will be a celebration.

With the series tied 1-1; the Detroit Red Wings will hit the Mile High City two days after Christmas. The altitude and attitude of the feisty Avalanche should put the Wings to the test. Though the Avs have slipped in the Western Conference standings a few notches, they are still only two points behind Detroit, who sits in the top spot. The last meeting proved educational for both teams. Both proving they could keep up despite the age and experience level, junior or senior.

The Avalanche lost to the Wings on Nov. 13 at Joe Louis Arena, 3-1. No fights in the game, and only J-M Liles scored for the Avs. In a prior game played on Oct. 12, also in Detroit, the race was tight. Going into a shootout, Colorado was able to win off of a goal by Brandon Yip. Exciting game and a fight ensued between Cody McLeod and Doug Janik, now in Grand Rapids with Detroit’s AHL affiliate Griffins.

So it goes, with a new configuration it could go either way. But it must go the way of the tiebreaker. Grab your beer, jalapeno poppers and some grit because this one expects to be a battle. A renewed rivalry? Not so much. For those who remember the swagger of the old rivalry understands the modern NHL debate, Yzerman or Sakic? Some were blessed with both in the forefront of their hockey memories, not the history books.  If we look at the new faces, the pivotal figures haven’t clearly been established. Stastny vs. Zetterberg? The legends are on their way, but not to the extent of Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic. Stastny is by lineage a hockey power, and Z brings the dominance of the European play of Sweden.

No matter the outcome, these two teams will remain as the elite of hockey with their past wins and illustrious rosters. I leave you with the gift of five for fighting in this tremendous rivalry that has ignited such memorable moments.

From 1997, this is the classic hockey brawl:

Yes, even goaltenders want payback:

And to the recent brawl:

 

Happy Holidays and Go Wings!

 

Best of Both Worlds

It’s absolutely frigid in the Rocky Mountains on a day of hockey feuding. Bound for Joe Louis Arena, the Colorado Avalanche are flying to Hockeytown.  The Detroit Red Wings sit as state heroes this year and every year before that. Diana Ross and the Supremes blast from the speakers in the aged arena, and every Detroit band has their moment when the puck stops at the Joe. Even if “we” lose, Wings fans never die. Yes, we. But the best of both worlds is writing about two hockey teams that have been influential for many years. Detroit is a historical legend, the Avs manifest destiny.

Newly anointed Avs  LIffiton, Van Der Gulik,  Dupuis and Mauldin have all scored their first NHL goal as an Avalanche player. Signs of growth and curiosity in a young team without pretense came to play the Red Wings on home ice. Wings fans span the US, so it’s no surprise to see a sea of red in Denver.  A power-play goal by Todd Bertuzzi got the game rolling. Todd would have been served a round of boos at the Pepsi Center for his crippling hit on, then avalanche center, Steve Moore.  Back from the KHL, Jiri Hudler scored his first goal back as a Wing. Despite the Avs looking dazed, they were able to score on a 5 on 3 power- play with J-M Liles scoring on the advantage. The Colorado Avalanche rank number one on the road in the West for points scored.

The series sits even. The Avs beat Wings in OT on October 12 in Detroit. 5-4. Detroit, winner of game 2, 3-1, ties it up for the next game after Xmas. The Avalanche hustled, but they were also puffing as Detroit was sprinting down the ice. The geezers were leading the chase. Here’s a blast from the past:

The Red Wings are hot right now, and in Denver the tone is that this game was a test to see how good the Avs really are. What they really are choking down is that the Wings are rocking the ice and humbled in the rivalry for now. Not saying the Avs aren’t doing well, but the Colorado boys are humbled by their youth and growth spurts. The youngest team in the NHL certainly is not the dumbest team in the NHL. What the Avs have are realistic expectations, but a positive cohesion.

Surprises and Scares

Wow, the first week and a half of the NHL season provided some surprises and shocking situations. So much speculation has surrounded the Cinderella team Toronto Maple Leafs’ undefeated season. They’ve only played four games, so come on…they will lose and the Leafs may not be able to keep it up. The Tormented Toronto Maple Leafs can sing praise as their team has turned a corner with a 4-0-0 start to the season.

The Nashville Predators have just as good as a start as Toronto, as well as down in Dallas bouncing back without Mike Modano or Marty Turco. Impressive games have been played in Tampa Bay and Denver as well.

In the Eastern Conference, Toronto, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh lead the standings. Florida, Boston and New Jersey sit at the bottom. New Jersey was expected to be a contender but with all the drama, the team has been worn down. New Jersey has paid a high price to ensure a winning team but can they recover? Of course.

Pittsburgh’s goaltending has swayed to the No. 2 seat with some positive outcome behind Brent Johnson. Despite what seems like a slow start, the Penguins will fix any kinks as they do every year. Just wait.

The New York Rangers are down Marian Gaborik and captain Chris Drury after a loss to the Maple Leafs Friday. Hockey critics have kicked both the Islander and Rangers downstairs. Rangers D-guy Del Zotto has had a good start.

In the Western Conference, Nashville, Dallas, and Colorado sit supreme. Calgary, Columbus and Phoenix will climb as more games are played. Calgary is under great pressure especially after Toronto has seemingly turned their bad karma upside down. Calgary’s talent is undeniable with Mikka Kiprusoff in goal, Jay Bouwmeester on the blueline and Jarome Iginla leading the charge. The Flames are usually hanging in near the playoff run with the same expectations as last year to finish in the No. 8 seed just above the Colorado Avalanche.

The San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks look shaky as Cup contenders early on. Ryan Kesler posted 10 PIMs for a misconduct call after the LA Kings beat the Canucks again on Friday, but Kesler has been null in points. With Alex Burrows sidelined for the first few weeks, the Canucks lost some steam.

I’m still betting on some gained ground this season from Atlanta and St. Louis. With the youthful talent on both teams, the surge may come later in the season, but both are sitting in the middle of their division waiting and watching. Monday night the St. Louis Blues met up with the Anaheim Ducks and totaled a whopping 50 PIMs for misconduct, 35 for fighting 24 for roughing an 4 for slashing. Atlanta’s Anthony Stewart scored a hat trick to lift the Thrashers over the Ducks at home Friday.

In Los Angeles, the Kings are holding steady with Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson and active play from Dustin Brown over the Canucks, the beachfront view sits just behind Colorado in the West. Colorado’s T.J. Galiardi, Paul Stastny and Chris Stewart are strongholds for the team.

A new lease deal with Chicago investor Matthew Hulsizer will lead to a good deal for the Phoenix Coyotes to remain in Glendale. Last season, the Coyotes rivaled the Avs for young gun status but have a slow start. Watch the Czech line emerge in the desert plus great talent such as Stempniak, Wolski and Lombardi.

Detroit’s Johan Franzen went to Dallas and all he got was a hit by Mark Fistric. Franzen called it a concussion, but coach Babcock said it wasn’t that bad. Franzen was sidelined much of the latter part of last season, so is he being cautious or being a crybaby? Is Babcock cracking the whip and going forth for the Cup? Yes, the Wings are known for being tough and they cannot falter now.

Beware of counting the pucks yet. Shakeups are bound to happen when least expected. It’s too early to call the season yet.

Let the Season begin….

The Colorado Avalanche stunned the Stanley Cup champs in the Avs NHL season opener.  Predicted to finish low in the Western Conference standings, the Avalanche took it to the Hawks with a win on the first day of the 2010-11 NHL season.

Winger Chris Stewart scored first for the Avs with an unassisted goal, after an opening power-play goal by Bryan Bickell. Goals by Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny put Colorado up approaching the third intermission. Patrick Sharp rallied for the Hawks making the game even. Forced to go into overtime, Paul Stastny scored the game-winning goal in the Avs season opener at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Continuing the celebration in the West, the Edmonton Oilers debuted their new look and new rookies. Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi took the ice in the season opener in Edmonton. The Oilers are counting on rebuilding their team and fan base by highlighting an exciting list of young players expected to make an impact in the NHL.    Eberle scored a short-handed goal in the third period to claim his first NHL goal and Edmonton’s first rookie goal. Hall and Paajarvi did not score, but logged significant ice time for fans to view their future stars.  The battle of Alberta wasn’t even close with a shutout by the Oilers over the Calgary Flames.

In the East, some gains and pains. Pittsburgh opened their new season in a new arena, but lost to the Philadelphia Flyers by a goal. Crosby failed to score. Minnesota’s Guillaume Latendresse scored the first NHL goal of the season, but the Minnesota Wild could not win over the Carolina Hurricanes. The success of the Hurricanes continued winning their second game over the Wild. Toronto passes a huge roadblock by winning over the Montreal Canadiens at home. New captain Dion Phaneuf assisted on the opening goal.

It was an exciting opening night and many teams have taken the first step on their road to success, others fell short.