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.
by Alaina Scarano-Isbouts
Last night, with seven playoff spots left still up for grabs, 26 different teams fought pretty damn hard to move in, move up or move closer to a chance for Tavares. Here is a recap of what went down in the most important games last night.
NY Rangers 3, Montreal 1: Montreal could have locked up a playoff spot with a win at The Garden. The Rangers didn’t yet clinch a playoff berth, but instead earned two extremely important points over the Canadiens. The win was crucial for the Rangers, who are now two points ahead of Florida and has the lead in wins if there were to be a tie. Was it just me or did Carey Price play like he was extremely nervous? The Montreal goalie (who was the topic of my first ever TAS article), after letting in a horrible 2nd goal that shouldn’t have been a goal at all, wasn’t up to his normal par. Price wasn’t covering the puck when he should have been and seemed to not be paying attention to where the puck was going to be — only looking at where it was that moment. Not to discredit the Rangers’ effort… after some speculation on exactly how great Chris Drury is Monday on TAS, it looks like Drury is showing up to the Rangers games after all. Drury had two goals and six shots on goal, truly living up to the C on his sweater.
Toronto 4, NJ 1: This game didn’t matter much for Toronto or NJ. The Devils had already cliched a playoff spot and the Leafs — although not giving up on a playoff run — were an extremely long shot. Martin Brodeur played another horrible game, letting in 4 goals, while the offense for NJ didn’t make much of an effort. Jamie Langenbrunner had the only goal — a power play goal in the 2nd period. Toronto picked up two ill-timed points to bring them to 79 and keep them out of the playoff run. The only news here is that NJ did not yet clinch the Atlantic Division title. NJ could be overtaken for the title if Philly wins their last three and the Devils lose their last two. It’s all going to depend on Brodeur and if he can play at the level he was playing less than a month ago.
Who will be hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup this year?
-by Alaina Scarano-Isbouts
With 7 days to go and 7 playoff spots still technically still up for grabs, it’s going to be a great week for hockey fans across the nation (except in Colorado, Long Island and Tampa Bay). Here’s a guide for who should be in and who could be out a week from now. First off, check today’s standings here to see who has clinched spots already. Let’s start with the more exciting conference during playoff time, the East.
Who’s already in: Boston, Washington, NJ and Carolina have all clinched spots.
Philadelphia — Why they’ll make it: Philly has gone through a few rough seasons, but for the most part they are a pretty tough competitor. They are usually a contender for the cup every year – and always give someone a run for their money. With only four games left, Philly is a great team to watch; tomorrow night they’ll face the Florida Panthers who are also in the race, after that there will be two games against the Rangers, a possible contender for the first round vs. Philly, and they also have a game against the Islanders. Not only will Philly make the playoffs, but they could possibly uproot NJ for the Atlantic division title if NJ doesn’t shape up (they are 3-6-1 in their last 10).
Here are a few facts that will make you hate life as an Avs fan right now:
- Last night’s 2-7 loss to Anaheim secured our fate outside of the playoffs for the 2nd time in 3 years
- The Avs have now given up 15 goals in their last 2 home games
- Neither one of our goalies could stop any pucks last night, making the situation for a goalie even more dire
- Stastny is out “2-4 weeks” with a broken foot. When was the last time you ever saw anyone come back after 2 weeks with a broken foot?
- Ruslan Salei left the game with an injured knee last night; no word yet on his status
- Each passing day is one more day closer to the 09-10 season that Joe Sakic hasn’t committed to returning
- Cody McCormick will not be signing autographs at Conoco today (in case anyone was actually going to that)
- The Avs have never been this far back in the Western Conference this late in the season
- Last night was the fifth game the Avs lost in a row — and this is the 3rd time the Avs have reached that number this season
- As of last night, the Avs were ranked 25th in the league in fan attendance, bringing in an average of 15,595 fans per home game
- The Avs only have $13 million to sign 10 players (plus a goalie, plus Sakic) in the off-season
But do not despair, Avs fans. Although those facts might be enough to make you whine more than Jeremy Roenick, there are some good tidbits as well. Facts to dry your tears: