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It’s the Olympic break, and the Avs players in Sochi are representing the team well. But eventually the players will all return to Colorado, and when they do, they’ll be in prime position to make the playoffs.
McGinn goal
Colorado sits 5 points back of both Chicago and St. Louis in the central division. They have two games in hand against the Blackhawks, and give up a game to the Blues, but they’re all but assured a spot in the playoffs, if they can keep up any sort of pace that they had pre-Olympic break. They sit 15 points ahead of the 8 seed.

The team should come back well rested, and confident. The four players who are in Sochi are playing well, and are not being overworked. Not to mention all of their teams are into the quarterfinals. The most intriguing aspect for the Avs is going to be whether they make any moves before the March 5 trade deadline. There have been a lot of rumors about bringing in another defenseman into the mix. Although unlikely at this point, fans still have to wonder if Ryan O’Reilly will be traded after the one year grace period from signing an offer sheet. If not him, will Stastny go?

The Olympic break came at a perfect time for the Avs. They went on a four game road trip, and looked mediocre at best. The team walked away with 4 of a possible 8 points, but had ugly losses to Philadelphia and the Rangers. The wins were unspectacular. They got lucky against New Jersey, winning 2-1 in OT, but couldn’t generate much of anything for 57+ minutes, and almost blew a big lead against the Islanders in the last game before the break. The Islanders shrunk a 3-0 lead to 3-2 halfway through the third period, and Colorado was scrambling to kill off a couple of bad penalties, but couldn’t stop a couple of 5-3 goals from New York.

A couple of late empty netters, including a Paul Stastny goal that didn’t actually go in (but Thomas Vanek threw his stick towards Stastny and the puck with an empty net, resulting in an automatic goal call), which secured a victory.

The worst news coming from the game was that Erik Johnson has been suspended 2 games for a slash on Frans Nielsen. The slash was bad. It broke Nielsen’s hand, but it was not suspension worthy. It should have been a fine. It’s the first time a regular season slash has resulted in a suspension from Brendan Shanahan. I have seen worse slashes that have gone unpunished *cough, Mike Smith and Taylor Hall, cough*. But odd decisions have been the norm with Shanahan deciding punishments.

Colorado will return to action on Wednesday Feb. 26 at home against the Kings.


Semyon Varlamov continues to impress the NHL, with a record of 8-0-5 in his last 13 games, propelling the Avs securely into a playoff spot for the time being.
The Avs added four huge points being Philadelphia and San Jose early in January. Jamie McGinn continued to roll added a goal, while Ryan $’Reilly netted the other for Colorado. Semyon Varlamov was on top of his game, stopping 29 shots, and all 9 he saw on the three Colorado penalties. The only shot to weasel its way past the Russian was a deflection off of Wayne Simmonds stick in front. While no goals were scored in the third, the period was quite exciting to watch.

Avs games against San Jose continue to be interesting to say the least. Colorado jumped out to a 4-0 lead early in the second period, thanks to three goals in a 66 second stretch coming from McGinn, Erik Johnson, and Nathan MacKinnon. The rookie is really coming into his own, and thanks in part to Tomas Hertl’s injury, is now the rookie scoring leader. The Sharks bounced back, and had the game within reach at 4-3, but Varlamov made saves when he needed to, securing the victory. Varlamov stoned Joe Pavelski on a breakaway late in the third to ensure 2 points.

Maybe the most disappointing loss of the season was against Calgary. The Avs, riding a 3 game win streak, couldn’t beat a Flames team that was in the midst of a 7 game streak where they were shutout 5 times. J.S. Giguere was in net, and was less than stellar. The 36-year-old netminder stopped just 15 shots on 19 attempts and gave up a late powerplay goal to Mike Cammalleri to give the Flames the win. Giguere, who has cooled off significantly since his hot start, is in the last year of his contract, and I am starting to wonder if the Avs should re-sign him at all.

The Avs next couple of games went to overtime, but with different results. First was Tyson Barrie wristing a shot past former Av (and quitter) Craig Anderson for the OT win, a play set up by Paul Stastny behind the net sent the Avs home happy.
A couple of days later, it was Michael Grabner who was the hero, with a great individual effort in overtime, led the Islanders to a 2-1 victory. Again, Varlamov was solid, stopping 22 of 24 in 61+ minutes of work. Unfortunately the Avs coughed up the lead with a third period goal by Brock Nelson, and couldn’t rebound in overtime.

Finally, Colorado picked up a huge win over the Minnesota Wild by a score of 4-2. The Avs have earned 7 of a possible 8 points against the Wild this year, which is huge considering the two teams are going head to head for the third playoff spot in the central division. Avs fans can exhale a little bit with 6 points up and 3 games in hand over Minnesota, while Dallas has lost 6 in a row, taking them out of playoff contention for now.

JS Giguere has gone down with an injury (back spasms), so the Avs have recalled Sami Aittokallio from Lake Erie. If Giguere doesn’t heal quickly, look for Aittokallio to start against either the Devils on Thursday, or Nashville on Saturday.

2013 Mock Draft

Posted: June 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

Not that I know a lot about each team’s draft needs and prospect system, but I thought it’d be fun to try and predict the draft, so here it goes:

1. COLORADO: Nathan MacKinnon (C)- He’s the best player in the draft. 5 of the top 10 leaders scorers in the NHL last year were former first overall picks. Colorado makes the safe pick.

2. FLORIDA: Seth Jones (D)- The best defenseman in the draft. Florida struggled defensively last year, and Jones could help right away.

3. TAMPA BAY: Jonathan Drouin (LW)- The eventual successor to Marty St. Louis. Highly skilled, and should be able to help the Bolts right away.

4. NASHVILLE: Aleksander Barkov (C)- The last of the clear top end talent. It would be a pretty easy pick for Nashville at this point.

5. CAROLINA: Valeri Nichushkin (RW)- Now it gets interesting. Carolina is strong down the middle, so they go with a winger. They’ll be tempted to go defense, but take the big Russian.

6. CALGARY: Darnell Nurse (D)- I wouldn’t be surprised if Edmonton traded up here to grab a defenseman, but after losing Bouwmeester, the Flames will look to re-tool the blue line.

7. EDMONTON: Rasmus Ristolainen (D)- The Oils take a big 6’3” defenseman after signing Justin Schultz last year, to bolster the blue line.

8. BUFFALO: Elias Lindholm (C)- After trading Pomminville at the deadline, the Sabres look to add skill up front. Lindholm could go as early as 5 in my opinion.

9. NEW JERSEY: Sean Monahan (C)- Skilled player that’s too good to pass on. Jersey doesn’t have a ton down the middle, and Monahan will help in the future.

10. DALLAS: Nikita Zadorov (D)- Dallas’ defense is less than impressive. Combine that with the depth they have up front means Dallas goes with Zadorov.

11. PHILADELPHIA: Max Domi (LW)- The Flyers love offense. Wouldn’t be too surprised to see this pick moved, but if not, my guess is the skilled son of the former NHL tough guy.

12. PHOENIX: Bo Horvat (C)- Phoenix liked to play defensively, and they’ll draft a guy so can play in any situation.

13. WINNIPEG: Alexander Wennberg (C)- He is versatile, and can score goals. Winnipeg needs goal scorers. My guess is Wennberg.

14. COLUMBUS: Andre Burakovsky (LW)- The Jackets new GM is big on European talent, and they’ll take the Swede with the 14th pick.

15. NEW YORK ISLANDERS: Hunter Shinkaruk (LW/C)- Very talented offensive player, and after going defense in the first round last year, they go after offensive skill.

16. BUFFALO: Micro Mueller (D)- After going offense earlier in the first round, they’ll use their second pick on the best available defensive player.

17. OTTAWA: Kerby Rychel (LW)- Ottawa needs goal scorers, and Rychel had 87 points (40 goals) in 68 games in the OHL this year.

18. DETROIT: Anthony Mantha (LW)- He had 89 points in the QMJHL this year, and the Wings will be looking to add a playmaker to a veteran team.

19. COLUMBUS: Samuel Morin (D)- After going offense with their first pick, Columbus (like Buffalo) will flip flop and go with a defenseman. Huge body (6’6”) who will really help the blue line for the Blue Jackets.

20. SAN JOSE: Adam Erne (LW)- With a fairly young blue line, and an aging forward core, San Jose goes offense, and picks a player who averaged over a point a game in the QMJHL.

21. TORONTO: Ryan Pulock (D)- With rumors of Dion Phaneuf on the move, Toronto will pick the offensive defenseman out of the WHL.

22. CALGARY: Zachary Fucale (G)- With reports of Kiprusoff retiring, the Flames will take the first goalie of the draft.

23. WASHINGTON: Curtis Lazar (RW/C)- After the Caps traded Filip Forsberg at the deadline, they’ll look to re-tool their offensive talent in the system with the skilled forward.

24. VANCOUVER: Frederik Gauthier (LW/RW)- With an aging team, the Canucks will look to add both skill and grit with the big winger (6’3”, 193. 60 points in 62 games).

25. MONTREAL: Valentin Zykov (LW)- The Habs look to add scoring ability here, and will keep Zykov is Quebec.

26. ANAHEIM: Ryan Hartman (RW)- Anaheim will lose key players to retirement soon, and will quickly grab the winger from Plymouth, to be the successor to Temmu Selanne.

27. COLUMBUS: Robert Hagg (D)- The Jackets will again go to Europe and draft a big defenseman from Modo to help solidify the blue line.

28. CALGARY: Jacob De La Rose (C)- After drafting a defenseman and goalie, Calgary will go with a forward, and will pick the grinder from Sweden.

29. DALLAS: Nicolas Petan (C)- Dallas will go after the high scoring forward from the WHL. 120 points in 71 games, and despite his size (5’8”), could be a steal in this draft.

30. CHICAGO: Michael McCarron (RW)- Chicago finishes the first round with a big winger from the US National Development team. Could be an asset on the powerplay in the future for Chicago.


Photo from

Photo from

That’s right, just 3 seconds into the game David Jones took a high sticking penalty, meaning goalie Sami Aittokallio, playing in his first NHL game was going to see the Stanley Cup Champions powerplay 3 seconds into the game.

I was excited to see how Aittokallio would play, and he met all of my expectations. The Kings scored first on a Jeff Carter wrister. I thought it was a weak goal let in by Aittokallio, Carter beat him far side from a bad angle, but Aittokallio really settled down after that. About 2 minutes later, at 7:14 of the first period the Kings made it 2-0 when Mike Richards wristed a laser into the upper right corner. No real chance for Aittokallio.

The Avs settled down after that, and generated a number of decent chances before Paul Stastny finally beat Jonathan Quick on a wraparound, late in the second period. David Jones semi made up for his early penalty by making a nice play behind the net to get the puck to Stastny.

And then again, early in the third, Patrick Bordeleau “scored” his first NHL goal. It was great to see his reaction, but I don’t even think it was intentional. He was just standing in front of the net, and I guess the puck nicked off his stick on the way to the goal. Either way though, it was a big goal.

There was a scary moment late in the third, when Aittokallio seemingly injured himself to the point where he couldn’t put any weight on his right leg, and stayed on the ice for a long time. Fortunately Aittokallio is okay, and was just suffering from severe cramping. JS Giguere came in, and made some big saves down the stretch to get the game to a shootout, but none was bigger than him diving across the crease to get his paddle down before a Jeff Carter wraparound. could find its way in. Giguere has gained a lot of respect from me in the past week with the combination of his play, and honestly off the ice.

Unfortunately, Giguere looked silly on all 3 shootout goals by the Kings, and the Avs ultimately fell 3-2.

Colorado will next host Vancouver on Saturday. The game starts at 1 p.m. Mountain time.

In a completely different game than the 6-5 thriller earlier in the year, it was Tyson Barrie scoring the first goal of the game, in overtime, to give Colorado the victory.

Photo from

Photo from

Didn’t get a chance to watch the game, but it’s tough to be upset about that. Yes the Avs picked up 2 points, but 0-0 games are never THAT fun to watch. The hero of the game has to be Semyon Varlamov, who stopped all 34 shots and picked up his third shutout of the season.

Both Varlamov and Pekka Rinne were fantastic. Rinne may have had the play of the game, when late in the first period PA Parenteau and Matt Duchene had a 2 on 1. Parenteau threw a great saucer pass (yawn) to Duchene who wristed a shot destined for the back of the net, but Rinne sprawled across and got his blocker on it to keep the game scoreless.

The goal was an innocent looking play. Parenteau brought the puck into the Preds zone, eventually dropped it back to Zanon who put a one timer on net, which is rare enough alone, but Rinne couldn’t hold the rebound and Barrie had a near empty net for the game winner. Why they ever sent him back in the minors in the first place is unreal. He’s here to stay now.

Just over 2 days until the trade deadline, and no moves for the Avs yet. I’ll be disappointed if that doesn’t change between now and Wednesday. Colorado needs to make some moves, so when healthy players return, they don’t have to resort to sending Barrie, or someone else down to Lake Erie again.

Colorado’s next game is Monday against the Red Wings. The game starts at 5:30 p.m. Mountain time.

I was barely watching as the clock ran down to what I assumed was zero, but Matt Duchene found a way to knock the puck in with 0.3 seconds left in overtime to pick up the critical second point.

I just realized this picture could easily be mistaken as from the game. It was not. Despite the Avs wearing their third jersey, and the Shark in the picture, it was taken last year.

I just realized this picture could easily be mistaken as from the game. It was not. Despite the Avs wearing their third jersey, and the Shark in the picture, it was taken last year.

The Avs bounced back after a big win, something they’ve not done often, and came out in the first period and took advantage of a Sharks team that played the night before. The Avs kept their powerplay going, scoring less than seven minutes into the game. Matt Duchene found a perfect saucer pass on his stick from PA Parenteau, and one-timed it perfectly into the upper left part of the net.

The Avs kept things going in the second period, but this time Ryan O’Reilly was the beneficiary of a perfect Aaron Palushaj pass. All O’Reilly had to do was deflect it past Niemi, and to his credit, he did. The one thing that Colorado has consistently struggled with this year has been putting games away. They haven’t had that killer instinct to win games when they’ve had the chance, and it continued against the Sharks.
Avs-Sharks 025
Patrick Marleau tipped a point shot past Varlamov with less than a minute left in the second, to make the third period a whole lot more interesting. The goal probably never should have happened because the refs (who were horrible for both teams) missed PA Parenteau getting to the puck first, in what resulted in an icing call on the Avs, bringing the puck back in the Avs zone. The Avs took another icing penalty, and the Sharks scored on the next faceoff. Regardless, Varlamov was excellent again tonight.

San Jose tied it late in the third. Chuck Kobasew couldn’t get the puck out along the boards near the blue line, Thornton found Couture, and the rest is history. But good news for the Avs was they didn’t take an overtime penalty! This allowed the Avs to have some time in the offensive zone, and they needed all of it. Parenteau took a one timer from the point with about 2.5 to 3 seconds left, and got blocked in front…shootout, right? Nope, Matt Duchene found the puck, took a whack at it and beat Niemi over the glove, under the bar.

I think the Avs have a real shot at going on a run. They’ve looked like a different team of late, and they really need it to get back in the playoff picture.

The Avs will host Edmonton on Tuesday. The game starts at 7 p.m. Mountain time.

Colorado threw every punch they had at Detroit in the third period, but the Wings fought them off, and escaped with a 2-1 victory.
Avs-Red Wings 1
I didn’t get a chance to watch the first half of the game, and in fact, turned it on right as Johan Franzen was scoring on a breakaway, but I saw two different teams between the second and third periods. Detroit owned the second. They took it to Colorado, and seemed to constantly be in the Avs zone. In fact, Detroit seemed to put the game away when Niklas Kronwall banked one in, off the boards, off Giguere’s skate late in the second.

But Colorado came out fighting in the third. I’m tempted to call it the best period the Avs have played so far this season. They had sooooo many chances, but Jimmy Howawrd was amazing. John Mitchell was alone in front, and seemingly had Howard beat, but somehow he got the glove on it. Then PA Parenteau had a breakaway, but again Howard managed to get his glove/arm on it.

Finally Paul Stastny broke up the shutout with just 90 seconds left in the game, but it was too little too late. OR AT LEAST IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN! But once again the Avs had a golden opportunity, this time in the last 15 seconds of the game. The puck was shot wide, bounced off the boards behind the net, right to Duchene on the side of the net, who had an open cage to shoot at, but missed off the side of the net. And just like that, the Avs are below .500 again.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier, with Colorado traveling to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Mountain time.