Last year it was tough to be a member of the Colorado Avalanche and it wasn’t any easier to be a fan. As many of you know the Avs finished 15th in the West and to make things worse they were ten points behind the closest team (That is like being 5 games back if you are still in Baseball mode). The off season didn’t, in my opinion, offer much hope for this year. While they did acquire some talent in Matt Duchene, they lost a great leader who possessed a lot of talent with the retirement of Joe Sakic. Their goaltending last year was generally horrible and the acquisition of a largely untested goalie was too much of an unknown to offer much relief for next season’s doubts.
Currently the Avs are 4-1-1 and have provided some great entertainment. Perhaps my preseason doubts were unfounded?
How quickly things can change.
Over the weekend The Avs Hockey Podcast posted a link (via their Facebook page) to an article from The Hockey News titled “THN.com Top 10: Joe Sakic numbers”. THN.com did a good job on finding ten numbers that could summarize the characteristics that made Sakic such an important player in the NHL and for Colorado. My personal favorite was number 10. When I was still coaching youth hockey I used Sakic as the example for who my players should aspire to be. This is just another reminder that while we all in Colorado will miss him the league, as a whole, will be losing a player of great influence.
That was my first reaction to the story that LeBron James got dunked on by Jordan Crawford of Xavier a few weeks ago in a pickup basketball game at a Nike camp, hosted by James. ESPN treated the story like it was breaking news. You would have thought that the Hindenburg went down again!
Avalanche captain Joe Sakic is expected to annouce his retirement from the NHL on Thursday. Sakic has announced he will be holding a press conference Thursday at 1pm Mountain time to make an important announcement regarding his “hockey career.”
The Denver Post is already reporting that Sakic is retiring (of course, it comes from Adrian Dater so who knows), as is ESPN and even NHL.com. If this is true, the last NHL game Sakic will have appeared in is November 28th in Phoenix, where he skated only one shift in the loss. October 25th was Sakic’s last goal, in Edmonton for an Avs’ win. Sakic lead the Avalanche to two Stanley Cup victories, in 1996 and 2001. He is currently 8th on the all-time points list.
As most of us have figured out by now, there is some major rebuilding going on in the Avalanche organization. This is a list of the players being added and subtracted, updated on a daily basis as necessary:
Free Agents (groups 2,3,6 and UFAs) still unsigned from Colorado:
Jesse Boulerice (RW), Per Ledin (LW), Aaron MacKenzie (D), Nathan Smith (C), Daniel Tjarnqvist (D), Darcy Campbell (D), Jason Bacashihua (G), Cody McCormick (C), Michael Vernace (D)
Ben Guite (RW): gone to Tennessee… Guite signed a one year, two way contract with the Predators today. Bummer. He was one of the young ones I was hoping we’d keep.
Kyle Cumiskey (D): the Avs signed Cumiskey to yet another undisclosed deal. Cumiskey played in six games last season before being injured at the end of January. Cumiskey hasn’t put up any stats with the Avs yet and was a -2 when his season ended. Here’s to hoping that will change – we could use another John Michael Liles on the roster.
-by Alaina Scarano-Isbouts
Well, it’s July 1st. And along with sweating through every shirt you own becasue of the ridiculous heat, it’s now time to start sweating over who your team did (or didn’t) sign during free agency. The market opens up today, and there has been a ton on action already, coming up on 2:30pm.
The most important signing, of course, is that of Craig Anderson, who signed with the Avs today for a 2-year deal worth $3.6 million. Not a bad move, I don’t think. Andrew Raycroft is a free agent as of this morning, not to mention a disappointment. Anderson started in the NHL back in 2002 with Chicago, and stayed for four seasons before heading down to Florida for three seasons. By no means has he been a starting goaltender, but last season he made his highest showing yet, playing 31 games and posting a 15-7-5 record. Of course the genius and future-telling Adrian Dater put his “money” on Ty Conklin (already signed with St. Louis Blues for two years and $6.2 mil) or Martin Biron…
Short of Anderson being Patrick Roy in disguise, I’m not quite sure he’s the answer. But the Avs don’t have anyplace else to go right now. Without the money to spend on a big-ticket goalie (need to save some space in case Joe Sakic is returning) and being unable to rely on Peter Budaj, Anderson is the way to go — for now. This leap-of-faith is in the same vein as making Greg Sherman GM and Joe Sacco head coach — it’s going to be an interesting season. Of course, for college girls all over the state of Colorado, this is good news.
Greg Sherman. Joe Sacco. Sylvain Lefebvre. There have been a lot of new names thrown around the front office of the Colorado Avalanche. But one thing is for certain: the message is loud and clear. There is no turning back now.
Pierre Lacroix is getting this franchise ready for the post-Joe-Sakic era. While Sakic still hasn’t made a decision on whether or not he will be returning to the Avs for a 21st season with the franchise, the team seems to be moving on ahead of him. Sakic missed most of the 08-09 season with multiple injuries, participating in only 15 games and notching just 12 points. Sakic has worn the “C” on his sweater proudly for 19 years, but in the last few off seasons has taken longer and longer to commit to another year on the ice, each year signing only a one-year contract.