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Ryan Boulding
Ryan Boulding
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Avalanche Fan
Avalanche Fan
2 posts

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Lightning Fan

Callahan leads Lightning past Avalanche in shootout posted by Lightning Fan

The Tampa Bay Lightning didn't have much time to dwell on giving up the tying goal late in the third period.

Ryan Callahan scored in regulation and got the decisive goal in the shootout to lift Tampa Bay to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, moving the Lightning back into first place in the Eastern Conference.

Ben Bishop made two big stops in the shootout and finished with 40 saves as Tampa Bay moved one point ahead of the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders atop the East.

"You've got to turn the page real quick," Bishop said. "I thought we did a good job in overtime."

Nikita Kucherov put the Lightning ahead in the first round of the shootout and Matt Duchene tied it for Colorado in the second round. Callahan then got the winner in the third round.

"It's tough, you know, because we killed some late penalties," Callahan said. "You know, they end up getting one in with 6 seconds left, and we had to regroup and ready for overtime right away. Then we had another huge kill at the end of overtime and end up winning the shootout, so we did a good job to regroup after that late goal."

The Lightning took the early lead on Callahan's 15th goal of the season on a power play just 1:58 into the game.

"That's the way it goes (losing in a shootout)," Varlamov said. "They scored goals and we didn't score enough until very late. . It was a pretty good move (by Callahan), and they scored in the shootout."

The Avalanche, outshot 15-5 in the opening period, turned the tables on the Lightning in the second with 20-9 edge.

Continue reading "Callahan leads Lightning past Avalanche ..."

Avalanche Fan

Old habits have Colorado Avalanche back in playoff race posted by Avalanche Fan

The Colorado Avalanche enter Washington to face the Capitals on Monday night just four points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, which is pretty remarkable given it’s the Western Conference and the Avalanche were written off as early as November. 

Truth be told, they never were that far off the pace: Five points away from the wild card on Dec. 1, for example. But they just seemed that far off the pace, because the punditry was right and the Avs’ style of hockey that proved successful last year proved unsustainable this season.

And yet here we are, with the Avalanche nearing a postseason slot, because they’re playing that same style and getting bailed out by the same guy. 

Semyon Varlamov is 4-1 in January with a 1.97 GAA and a .947 save percentage, good enough for second in the recent NHL player of the week pronouncement. Since returning from injury on Dec. 23, he’s faced 240 shots in eight games, and he’s yielded 16 goals, pitching two shutouts.

Conversely, the offense is getting going: The Avalanche have scored about their season average in goals per game (2.55) in four of nine games.

One deviation from last season's formula: The penalty kill. Colorado was No. 24 in the league last season at 80.7 percent. They're sixth this season at 85.4 percent. 

The Avalanche have been pretty great all season on the PK, but especially so with Varlamov healthy recently. He’s faced 43 shots; he’s given up just three goals. They were perfect on the kill in their last three wins, with Varlamov starting each one. The one game he didn’t start since his return? The Chicago Blackhawks scored two power-play goals against Calvin Pickard in a 5-2 win over Colorado. 

Continue reading "Old habits have Colorado Avalanche ..."

Avalanche Fan

Can the Avs Rise to the Bar they Set for Themselves last Season? posted by Avalanche Fan

The Colorado Avalanche surprised both critics and fans alike with its exceptional save percentage. They also had the second highest save percentage in the league with a 10.12.

Unexpected Results

The performance was however not good enough for some fans, who are waiting to see how they will perform in the new season. The Avalanche have a good performance after the return of Patrick Roy who carried the team to triumph.

The Avs have a weak defence which they need to work on. Even though their defence is more strategic and does not rely on attacking the puck carrier they still have room for improvement. Their defence recovered from a .093 percentage performance to their exceptional performance last season. If they slip back to this performance, then their chances of being in the playoffs will not be so good.

Young Stars

The team has young stars who can carry them through the season, despite having let some of the players that carried the last season go. Jarome Iginla, Daniel Briere joined the team and are expected to inject fresh talent to the team.

There are several prospects that are also expected in the team this season. 18 year old Nathan MacKinnon seems to be one of the most likely prospects to be signed up this season. Jonathan Drouin is another prospect who is still out and may have been the top choice if it were not for the thumb injury he is currently nursing. 6ft in Leon Draisaitl is a center who can carry the team as he is likely to get a lot of time on the ice this season.

The main challenge is for the team to keep up with its unexpected performance last season. This could prove to be a challenge, since they can’t play the same game. However, with the new prospects, they may impress again and meet or even exceed the previous seasons performance. 

Continue reading "Can the Avs Rise to the Bar they ..."

Jeff Ponder

Colorado Avalanche Sign Jean-Sebastien Giguere posted by Jeff Ponder

The Avalanche have completed a total overhaul in the goaltending department.

Earlier today, the Avalanche traded their first-round draft pick in 2012 and their second-round pick in either 2012 or 2013 to Washington for goaltender Semyon Varlamov.  Now, J.S. Giguere has decided to head to the Mile High City.

The Avalanche’s decisions have also forced former back-up goalie Peter Budaj to sign with the Montreal Canadiens and former starting goalie Brian Elliott to sign with the St. Louis Blues.

Giguere is likely to be the top-guy in Colorado next season.  He posted an 11-11-4 record as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs last season, recording a 2.87 GAA and a .900 save percentage.  He was held to just 33 games played due to a groin injury.

The Avalanche will have a fight in goal come training camp, as both Varlamov and Giguere have been quality starting goalies in their careers.  Reports are that Varlamov has committed to a team in Russia, but that was before the trade took place this afternoon. 

**UPDATE**  Giguere’s contract is two years and is reportedly with $2.5 million ($1.25M cap-hit).  According to, the Avalanche are still $6.89 million under the NHL salary-floor.

Follow Jeff Ponder on Twitter (@jponder94) for all the latest updates on free-agent signings today.

Continue reading "Colorado Avalanche Sign Jean-Sebastien Giguere"

Jeff Ponder

Weak Northwest Division Could Benefit Blackhawks posted by Jeff Ponder

Vancouver is the heavy favorite heading into the 2011 NHL playoffs to win the Stanley Cup.  Their Northwest Division foes can vouch for that.

 The Vancouver Canucks, who won the President’s Trophy by a landslide-ten points over the East’s Washington Capitals, posted an impressive 54-19-9 record for a league-leading 117 points in the regular season.  Obviously, the Canucks head into the Quarterfinal Series as the top seed in the Western Conference where they will meet the eighth-seeded Chicago Blackhawks.  But how much did Vancouver playing in the Northwest Division help bloat their point total?

The Northwest Division, which features the Canucks, Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers, saw only one of its teams make the playoffs.  This is the only division in the NHL to do so.

The Canucks had a whopping 18-4-2 record against their Northwest Division foes.  With a record like that, it is easy to see how the Canucks can steamroll through parts of the regular season.  Still impressive?  Yes, very much so.  Anytime a team can dominate in their own division usually means that team will be a top-seed in the playoffs.  But what if Vancouver played in a better division?

Let’s say Vancouver goes .500 against the Northwest Division (12-12-0).  Their record drops down to 48-27-7 and they post 103 points.  While these are still very respectable numbers, that drops them to the third seed (keep in mind that they would still hold onto the division title), and puts them just six points ahead of their current playoff matchup, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Continue reading "Weak Northwest Division Could Benefit Blackhawks"

Jeff Ponder

Colorado May Struggle Without Anderson posted by Jeff Ponder

What else can go wrong for Craig Anderson?

After suffering a freak knee-injury in warm-ups on October 26, Anderson was the victim of a groin injury Wednesday against Vancouver.  The knee injury came when Anderson was doing a routine wrap-up in warm-ups that consists of all of the Avalanche skaters converging on Anderson in the crease, trying to shove a puck past him.  But Anderson came out of the shuffle with a knee injury that sidelined him ten games, in which the Avalanche went 6-3-1 and outscored their opponents 38-27 during his absence.  Anderson came back with a swift punch to the New York Rangers, stopping 25 out of 26 shots, including a fantastic sprawling save on Marc Staal in the slot.  The Avalanche went on to demolish the Rangers 5-1.  Things were looking very bright in Denver, as the Avalanche played brilliantly without Anderson, and then the star goalie makes a return in a convincing win.  Things sure can change in just a few short days.

After backup Peter Budaj played great in a 4-3 overtime win in Dallas, Anderson got another chance to shine the very next night.  Things did not go the way that head coach Joe Sacco and company had expected.  Anderson left with a groin injury, and it was serious enough to sideline Anderson again, as well as force the Avalanche to call up goaltender Jason Bacashihua from Lake Erie of the AHL the next day.  Budaj and the Avalanche lost the game as well, 4-2.

Anderson was not the only loss; captain Adam Foote was sidelined with a leg injury.

"Footer is our captain, our leader, and Andy was our most valuable player last year," forward Matt Duchene said. "It's tough without them."

Continue reading "Colorado May Struggle Without Anderson"

Goon Squad

USA! USA! USA! posted by Goon Squad

Has it been 30 years now since the US beat the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid?(It seems like only yesterday...)

The Americans went on to win the gold medal in hockey that year - something that hasn't happened since, but don't expect any miracles next month at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. No, the United States still isn't favored to win a gold medal in hockey. In that respect the Americans remain underdogs. But with a roster stacked with young talent, they certainly are a medal candidate - one that the powerhouses from Canada, Russia and Sweden can't afford to overlook. "A little bit different situation [than 1980] in my opinion," said United States team captain Jamie Langenbrunner, a forward with the NHL's New Jersey Devils. "As much as Canada deserves all the credit that they're getting for the players they have, the 23 players named to the [United States] team play in the same league as those guys and we feel quite comfortable playing against them on a nightly basis. We feel we belong on the same ice."

That's a far cry from goalie Jim Craig and the 1980 team! US coach Herb Brooks had to convince that group of college All-Stars that it could compete with the grown men the Soviet Union sent over. But since 1998 the NHL has allowed its professional players to compete at the Winter Olympics. So this group of Americans is baffled by the notion that they would be intimidated by any of the major hockey powers.

Told of stories in the Canadian press that listed him as the only American capable of making the loaded Team Canada roster, forward Zach Parise chuckled. "I think that's kind of a bold statement," said Parise, also a New Jersey Devils forward. "I don't think there's going to be too many people that would agree with that."

Continue reading "USA! USA! USA!"

Andy Charles

And the winner is… posted by Andy Charles

 Well, we’ve made it to the halfway point of the season, so it is time to hand out a few awards to the deserving, the hopeless and the sensational.

Team of the season: I’m going to take the New Jersey Devils here since they are the one team to impress me more than I had expected. I thought Chicago and San Jose might be the quality of the West and so it has proved. The Devils; well I saw them as a decent playoff team but not the halfway top seed.

Martin Brodeur has been predictably brilliant, but the Devils continue to get offense from a team that lacks star quality after Zach Parise. And the biggest surprise among them? Has to be Andy Greene with 23 points in 37 games, already doubling any output he has managed in four NHL seasons.

Bust of the season: Plenty to choose from here but (sad for me since I am a fan) the Anaheim Ducks should try for the Anaheim Sucks. Twelve points out of the playoffs in the West and not even the best team around Los Angeles.

The goals haven’t been too hard to find and they have the scoring, but the defense has been shoddy despite Scott Niedermayer and Ryan Whitney being in town. They do have the talent to get out of their predicament and some NHL Predictions suggest they will, but it is not going to be easy given the strength of the West.

Surprise of the season: No doubt for me – has to be the Colorado Avalanche. Just on top of the Northwest Division after a season predicted to be dogged by youthful struggles. A brilliant free agency signing of goalie Craig Anderson has helped but Wojtek Wolski is finally becoming the player many thought he could be and watch out for Chris Stewart as well – the next top class power forward.

Continue reading "And the winner is…"

Goon Squad

Legend Of The Goon Squad pt.2 posted by Goon Squad

Violence has been a part of hockey since at least the early 1900's. According to the book Hockey: A People's History, in 1904 alone, four players were killed during hockey games from the frequent brawls and violent stickwork. 

Early hockey in particular was noted for its extreme violence, to the point where two players were killed in three years during brawls.
In both cases, the accused assailants were acquitted, but these and other bloody incidents led to calls for the sport to clean up its act or be banned with the likes of cock fighting.

The worst of the violence waned, particularly with regulations for quasi-legal fisticuffs, though incidents continue to occur from time to time.

Billy Coutu was the first player banned from the NHL for life when, in 1927, he attacked referee Jerry Laflamme in a Stanley Cup game between the Bruins and Senators - in which several players complained about the officiating, supposedly at the request of Bruins coach Art Ross before starting an all-in brawl.
NHL president Frank Calder, the League's first president, expelled Coutu from the NHL for life on March 29th, 1929; the ban was lifted after five years, but Coutu never played again in the NHL.
Billy Coutu - an OG Supreme! (Original Goon)

Other incidents include the December 12th, 1933 event when Eddie Shore hit Leafs player Ace Bailey from behind.
Bailey never played hockey again.
Another OG.

Somewhat recently, controversy and criminal charges have resulted from violent attacks by Marty McSorley, Todd Bertuzzi, and Chris Simon.

Continue reading "Legend Of The Goon Squad pt.2"

Andy Charles

Anderson makes Avalanche whole posted by Andy Charles

There have been plenty of breakout stories early in the NHL season but none more surprising than the form of Colorado Avalanche goaltender Craig Anderson.

Anderson was always considered a journeyman backup in net until a decent effort in Florida last season when he took over the reins from an injured Tomas Vokoun and secured a 15-7 record in 31 games, 27 of which were starts.

He became a free agent at the end of 2008-9 but was not picked up all that quickly, leading some to suggest all he would get would be a one-year deal to backup a star somewhere else.

But the Avalanche saw something different, and given their problems in goal last year (as well as all over the ice to be honest) picked up the 28-year-old, originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks and a star in the AHL for Rochester.

A $3.6m deal over two years was enough to secure him, and what a piece of shrewd business that looks after the first six weeks of the new campaign with the Avalanche sitting joint top of the Western Conference with big-spending San Jose.

Anderson set franchise goaltending records in October for wins (10), and was among the league leaders in all of the significant statistical categories as he bore the weight of the club on his back in the absence of the injured and then ill Peter Budaj, who has at time of writing started only one game.

Although Anderson’s performance has dropped off a little in the last three games (two of them defeats) he remains on top form overall, and has faced more shots than any other goaltender in the league, allowing him a little wiggle room when it comes to possibly being a little tired!!

Continue reading "Anderson makes Avalanche whole"

Colorado Avalanche News

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Avalanche, forward Mikhail Grigorenko agree to 1-year deal (Yahoo Sports)

DENVER (AP) -- The Colorado Avalanche agreed to a one-year deal with forward Mikhail Grigorenko on Wednesday. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

MacKinnon signs 7-year deal with Avalanche (Yahoo Sports)

[read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

AP Source: Avalanche place Brad Stuart on waivers (Yahoo Sports)

A person with direct knowledge of the decision has confirmed to The Associated Press that the Colorado Avalanche have placed veteran defenseman Brad Stuart on waivers with the intention of buying out the final year of his contract. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity on Tuesday because the Avalanche have not announced the move. A nagging back injury limited Stuart to appearing in just six games last season. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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