Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Avalanche 2008-09 Preview

Joe @ MHH here, bringing you the lowdown on the Avalanche from [MileHighHockey.com.]

Thanks to the heroes behind the Pensblog (and especially Charlie, wink wink), I'm honored to bring you all a preview of the Colorado Avalanche as the 2008-09 season nears. Why should you care about the Avalanche? Because your bitter defeat at the hands of the nefarious Red Wings in the finals last season makes you brothers and sisters to all Avalanche fans everywhere.

We Avs fans feel your pain. The Avalanche went 0-4 against the Red Wings in the regular season, and then 0-4 in the playoffs, for a grand total of 8 losses in 8 games last season. You think losing in the Stanley Cup Finals hurts? Well, I don't know if it does because the Avalanche have never lost in the Stanley Cup Finals. Sorry, I digress. Losing eight games straight to your arch rivals is pretty lousy. What I'm trying to say is, we feel your pain, and you no doubt feel ours.

So the preview.

There was a distinct possibility that the Joe Sakic era in Colorado would be over this summer. Super Joe, our patron saint and savior, took his sweet time figuring out if he wanted to come back or not. Thankfully, he figured one more season wouldn't hurt too bad---and neither would another $6 million. If that piece of shit Chelios can keep playing, you know Joe can do it. Consider it a Christmas present in August.

So Sakic returns as captain and leader of the Avalanche offense. That offense is not quite as impressive as it was back in the day, but it's still got some punch. Still hanging around is Milan Hejduk, who can score a few goals when he's got a decent center feeding him the puck. The other grizzled veteran is Ryan Smyth, who had a rough year under a lousy coach (Joel Quenneville) and will hopefully be back to his old pain-in-the-slot hijinks that made him famous in Edmonton.

The rest of the offense is pretty young. Paul Stastny, one of the four or five best young players in the entire NHL, is back and will lead the second line. His fellow young scoring threats, Wojtek Wolski and Marek Svatos, are also back for more fun. Wolski is a superb skater and passer, and Svatos is a dynamite finisher, especially off of rebounds.

Those six, Sakic, Hejduk, Smyth, Stastny, Wolski and Svatos, are the main scoring threats. The rest of the forwards, with the exception of one guy, are all agitators and bangers. Ian Laperriere, the heart and soul of the team, will lead a rag tag bunch of third and fourth liners to spend literally hours in the penalty box, no doubt. New pickups include Darcy Tucker and Swedish bad boy Per Ledin, along with returning toughs Ben Guite, Codys McLeod and McCormick, and Scott Parker. The one exception to this impressive band of dickheads is Tyler Arnason, who can neither hit nor score with any regularity. He's weak on defense, weak on offense, and has about as much heart as that "Amumshiba" guy from Temple of Doom.

Oh yeah, and Peter Forsberg might come back some time. Nobody really knows. So I won't hold out too much hope that we'll get to see more of this:

All of those guys could be your dad.

Other players to look out for are whippersnappers TJ Hensick, Chris Stewart, David Jones and Jack Combs, who could all be making the transition from the minors soon, depending on how bad everybody else gets hurt this year.

The defense is the most solid part of the Avalanche, at least until the injuries start piling up again. Adam Foote re-signed over the summer and will lead the blueliners. The top six include Foote, Brett Clark, male model John-Michael Liles, Ruslan Salei, Scott Hannan and constantly-wounded Jordan Leopold. Or "Leoprone," as we call him at MHH. In that bunch you have hitters, passers and scorers, and they should provide pretty solid support for the Avalanche goalie.

And who is that goalie? That goalie's name is Peter Budaj. Not Andrew Raycroft, who sucked something awful for Toronto, and not some unnamed minor leaguer, either. Peter Budaj. After three seasons with the Avalanche spent almost entirely in the shadow of Jose Theodore, Budaj will finally get his chance to be the undisputed number one goalie. And he's earned it. Though his overall record is okay but not awesome, he's excelled any time he's been given consistent starts. Over at MHH, I noted that in the four times he's been given extended, uninterrupted starts, Budaj has gone 31-10-7. While some Avalanche "fans" have convinced themselves that Budaj is unreliable or unready, we at MHH are fully confident he will be a solid starter.

As far as the coaching staff goes, the Avalanche will have a new but old face behind the bench. Tony Granato, once the head coach for a brief period before Joel Quenneville's reign began at the end of the Lockout, will get a second chance. Granato actually has the best winning percentage of any of the four past Avalanche coaches, but he had a much better lineup back in the day. If he's really that good, the soft spots in the current lineup won't make any difference to him.

I'm crossing my fingers as hard as I can.

If you've read all of this, you're a hero. Congrats.

If you're just skipping along, all you really need to know about the Avalanche is that they could finish anywhere between 3rd and 10th in the West. At least that's how it looks to me. There are a lot of unknowns and unpredictables at work this year.

Personally, I'll be happy if the Avs just get to kick the crap out of the Wild again in the playoffs. That whole organization sucks. F them. Calgary sucks, too.

Wish us luck.

68 comments:

Michael said...

WHOOO First

maxwellmoseley said...

ehh

maxwellmoseley said...

Toronto Media sucks

fleuryous said...

Let's hear about the LEAFS. haha

fleuryous said...

And I'm sorry about the 8 straight losses.

Detroit is good, I can't deny it--but their crying game is almost as good as their hockey game.

Johann Franzen, in particular.

Sad.

Dr. Turkleton said...

Preseason Hockey on TV?

Tonight.

700p.

NHL Network.

Buffalo @ Montreal.

OK, it's not Pens hockey...but IT'S HOCKEY!

maybe BGL will dress & drop the gloves.

Avs suck.
Red Wings swallow.



[Caputi]

Kicksave said...

Michael = lame.

Stagerat said...

That makes how many times the Redrags have knocked the Avs out of the playoffs? Back in the day they were beasts, but now? They've got 3 players a couple of posers and the rest are question marks. Hope they do well, but I don't see it happening.

Rick M. said...

I've always liked the Avalanche and if I were cheering for a team in the West it would be them.

I still have dreams about what a Pens/Avs 1996 Stanley Cup final would have been like.

Damn Panthers.

The Goon Blogger said...

Avs of last season were a joke, but they also were more injured then Ben Roethlisburger pretending his arm is when he throws an INT.

If they stay healthy, they'll be a force.

Jesse Marshall said...

I'll be at the game Wednesday night. Anyone else going?

AceWilde said...

They'll finish anywhere between third and tenth... that's like those genious weather forecasters saying that Hurricane Hanna is going to hit somewhere between Florida and Maine. What a prediction.

Cornelius Hardenbergh said...

The Wild got Brunette back, so by rights we should win the next time we meet up in the playoffs. I'm just looking for the Bs or the Wild to make it past the first round.

Whatever, we all hate the flyers.

debrisslide said...

I like this recap. Not too long, honest, and addresses key points. I hope the Avalanche can kick some Red Wing ass this year. . .I really hope that every team that plays the Red Wings kicks their ass this year.

Max Power said...

I would have given a testicle to have Sakic in a PENS jersey in the early to mid 90's

BlacknGold66 said...

I'd love to see Chris Stewart (Av's first round pick (18th overall pick) in '06) make the big club this year, but if he doesn't I won't mind having him here in Cleveland to help the Monsters out.

Last season was technically his Rookie year with the Monsters since he only played in 5 games with the RiverRats in 06-07. He's the real deal and will eventually make the club regardless. It's just a matter of time.

Goalie Tyler Weiman is getting a look at training camp but I really don't know why. He split time with Mike Wall (BEST GOALIE NAME... and mask... EVER) all of last season with the Monsters, which doesn't say much about Weiman since Wall was a rookie in the AHL last year.

Weiman also seems to be playing about as well in training camp this year as he did for the Monsters last year. Not. Good. At. All.

Then again... it seems the Avs invited more goalies to camp than just about any other team so I'm sure the Weiman and Wall are way down the list. (Although Weiman did play one game last season for the Avs)

BlacknGold66 said...

That Mike Wall link doesn't seem to be working for me (probably because it's a picture from this site from last March).

Try this one out...

Mike Wall's "Optimus Prime" mask

Sick

RaCHeLeYoS said...

bng sucks.

ooooooot ooooooot

BlacknGold66 said...

@Stagerat:

Poseur

Jesse Marshall said...

Penguins just made 13 cuts. And guess what? Janne Pesonen and Danny Richmond weren't on the list.

Richmond's cinderella story continues. He deserves it, like I said, he was unreal at camp.

http://insidepittsburghsports.com/

The Goon Blogger said...

Too bad about The Rev getting cut, love the photo of him dominating Stamjokes.

dying alive said...

I'm firewalled from that site...would someone mind listing who all was cut?

TIA.

slush said...

The 13 players include forwards Kris Beech..

How sweet is that.

dying alive said...

I'm really rooting for Pesonen to make the team, and I have no idea why. I have no reason to like him any more or less than any of the other guys at camp.

Max Power said...

They sent down the Reverend.

Ah noooooooooo they sent down Beech too! We're doomed! Doomed I tell you! The season is lost

The Goon Blogger said...

@Dying Alive

"The 13 players include forwards Kris Beech, Ryan Stone, Adam Henrich, Aaron Boogaard, Tim Wallace, Jonathan Filewich, David Gove and Christopher Minard; defensemen Deryk Engelland, T.J. Kemp, Ben Lovejoy and Joey Mormina; and goaltender David Brown."

From Insider.

Max Power said...

Thirteen players have been assigned to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 13 players include forwards Kris Beech, Ryan Stone, Adam Henrich, Aaron Boogaard, Tim Wallace, Jonathan Filewich, David Gove and Christopher Minard; defensemen Deryk Engelland, T.J. Kemp, Ben Lovejoy and Joey Mormina; and goaltender David Brown.
The Penguins have 16 forwards, 10 defensemen and three goaltenders, for a total of 29 players remaining at training camp.

wilsmith said...

There's goes all the stone talk, thank god.

dying alive said...

Thanks Goon & Max. No big surprises there.

TheNWChica said...

@BNG: Mike Wall is a very good goalie and we were very sad when he left Everett. I hope he does well, but not too well in Denver. :)

http://silvertips.com/team/goalie.cfm?PlayerID=62

Max Power said...

For anyone who cares Willie and Casey aren't playing Monday

akus said...

Yeah, even dickheads need love.
Nice preview Joe.
--


@Dr Turk,
I enjoyed NHL Live! today.

-Holik has been around for ever & ever.

-the dude who thinks Nedved will be the 'difference' for
the Rags to drink from the Cup.

-Malone talking about Game 5 as one of His favorite memories.

-White suits, what more can You say.
-

Nick said...

Hey everyone. I just started a blog site where I will post my picks, analysis, and other stuff that has to do with multiple other sports. Heres the link:
http://nickssportingpicks.blogspot.com/

I just started it, so not much there right. I promise it will get better as time goes on and I get the hang of this "blogging" thing.

DrunkArmyFan said...

TSN's season preview of the Pens is up at TSN.CA

Victor Raison said...

Crap! NHLShop.com won't let me cancel the order on my Beech jersey.

Max Power said...

vr

Serves you right for even joking about that~!

Brett said...

GO AVALANCHE

among about 10 other West teams. God, I love the West.

Dr. Turkleton said...

akus...

glad you caught the NHL Live! show!

I just started watching todays replay & that White Suit Jacket w/ white t-shirt EJ is sporting is downright putrid! Makes another strong case that his wife left 'em, cause he can't even dress himself properly. [White after Labor Day = Epic Fail!]

I do dig EJ's hockey knowledge, though...if you watch long enough [maybe 1 show will do it!]...you'll see that his sidecar, Don La Greca, is nothing more than a Devils/Rangers shill and it's a miracle when he discusses any team outside of the NY metro area. It usually takes an email, caller or guest to kick start talking about any of the other 28 teams.


[Caputi]

flaproosta08 said...

I can't see the aves doing a whole lot this season.

I mean, they did lose Jeff Finger.

He's a homegrown product to podunk michigan where I sadly reside, bunch of wings fans and such.

And he isn't worth no 3.5 mill a year.

Stoosh said...

So wait a minute...the TORONTO media is now griping about the Leafs' roster being cash-poor as compared to the Penguins?

Wow.

Outside of the Chicago Cubs, is there a pro sports franchise that has done less with more resources than the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Max Power said...

Stoosh get used to hearing Leafs fans bitch. With such a large and dedicated fan base for a team that sucks we'll be hearing it all season. Leafs are mud for 2 years.

Kierstan said...

Kris Beech sent down to the AHL. YAAAAAAY! I'm also pretty happy that Janne Pesonen and Bill Thomas are still on the roster.

Kierstan said...

Also, does anyone know if Wednesday's game will be on the radio anywhere? I'll be at work and that'll be the only way I can catch it.

Max Power said...

Quite possibly the only creative thing other than the Declaration of Independance and the Roots to come out of Filthy. However they do sport the Cindy Crosby line

What a bunch of F@#$ tards

Stoosh said...

Thoughts on the camp cuts...dudes...

1. Filewich gets sent down for what seems to be the ninth year in a row. Same with Stone. Wow.

2. I really liked what I saw from both of these guys last year but from all accounts, they were both incredibly disappointing in camp, probably because this may have been their best shot yet to make this team. That's even more the case when you figure how long they've each been in the organization, their relative experience levels at WB/S and the up-for-grabs competition among the lower lines. Gotta wonder if they really factor all that much into organizational depth chart.

3. Happier than hell for Paul Bissonnette, who has turned his career completely around after washing out with the organization once already. To his credit, he brought much of it on himself by openly fueding with past management and coaching, but he got his attitude in order and just a few years removed from playing in Wheeling, he now has a great shot of making the Opening Day roster of the defending Eastern Conference champs.

stokes said...

Who's dying to see Sid/Satan/Peso?

I am. Move Dupuis to the third line with Max and TK and Energy Line gets a brand new meaning. Plus they'll bang your mom.

LeGame58 said...

Next Step: RELEASE Kris Beech. I don't want to see him called up if someone goes down.

Max Power said...

I don't think we should have to worry about Beech being called up. I think that there's atleast 3 people ahead of him. Or I hope as much is true.

cheese said...

not sure if it's been asked recently, but anyone know where to watch TSN online? i know the game is being covered by them in Canada, can't seem to find an online link tho....

BlacknGold66 said...

If you live in Canada you can watch at www.tsn.ca

Other than that you are probably shit out of luck.

Unless someone streams it on this site.

MyP2P

Stoosh said...

Stoosh get used to hearing Leafs fans bitch. With such a large and dedicated fan base for a team that sucks we'll be hearing it all season. Leafs are mud for 2 years.

Max,

I know all about their fan base...there are few fan bases with more deplorable fans in the league, in my opinion. They've become the NHL equivalent of Cubs fans - fans who have become high-and-mighty because they root for a team that synonymous with losing, underachieving and disappointment. They think they're somehow owed something because of how long their team has sucked, yet they're completely ignorant of the fact that the management of their favorite team has more economic resources at their disposal than practically every other team in the league.

If Leafs management wouldn't have insisted on constantly using free agency to build their lineup as opposed to just supplementing it, there's a chance that over the last ten or fifteen years, they actually would've been able to put a team on the ice that could accomplish more than just playoff disappointment.

akus said...

this is the "Home of the Leafs" ..not sure if the game will be on or not

AM640

Steve In Denver said...

Well, now I have an Avs blog to irritate with incessant Pens talk.

Personally, I hate Avs fans, although I like the team. They're basically a-hole Bronco fans in different jerseys.

They have no clue what kind of gift they received from Quebec.
They were given a cup in their first year mainly due to the Roy trade, which NEVER happens if that team stays in Quebec. Montreal would never have done that.

They all became hockey experts over night, and the bandwagon rolled on for several years, although now they barely get 10-12k in the house for home games. Denver fans are THE most fair weather fans.

I too wish we could have seen a Pens Avs finale in 96. It would have been effing ridiculous.

January's Pens visit can't get here soon enough.

Wooooooo

Steve In Denver said...

I just got NHL2K for Wii - yes, I have kids, and no, I don't have xbox or PS3 :^( and haven't bothered messing with rosters, but Kris Beech is dominant at faceoffs and has scored or set up a goal each time I've played.

I can't wait to cut his ass when I roll a season.

Max Power said...

Stoosh

I agree. They try to buy their team in with FA's. They act like a child with a chemistry set trying to make something happen. With the money they have on the side they could start building a foundation to work from instead of being a revolving door team. The key is to not be like the Rangers. Bankroll every big name you can get your hands on and hope that the season plays out like an EANHL game. There should definitely be a call to arms in Toronto. Somebody in management has a serious mental illness/drug addiction.

The fans I like. Going to a game at the igloo half the fans are Toronto fans. Chant wars pop up. They go out to the pubs. Not bad people considering their origins.

I'm calling the Leafs in the bottom 2 this season and bottom 3 next.

meecrofilm said...

@ stokes. those lines would put fedex and cooke on the 4th, technically. Not quite sure that's what we want.

Dr. Turkleton said...

Satan-Crosby-Dupuis
Staal-Malkin-Sykora
Fedotenko-Talbot-Cooke
Kennedy-Taffe-Godard

Thomas-Bissonnette-Pesonen-James

Eaton-Letang
Orpik-Goligoski
Gill-Sydor


Richmond-Scuderi?-Gonchar?-Whitney


Fleury-Sabourin-Curry


looks like getting down to the final NHL roster is gonna be tough!!!



[Caputi]

wilsmith said...

It's so nice to not have to worry which line Malone will drag down during the first half of the season.

Max Power said...

willsmith = blasphemer

cdubbs29 said...

Does anyone know when NHL gamecenter Live is coming out?

debrisslide said...

I reallllllly want to be able to WATCH tomorrow's game. I bet there's a way to get TSN online if you aren't Canadian. Either that or I'll fool the Internet into thinking I'm Canadian. . .

Max Power said...

You could always try to use an anonymizer to watch the games. Google it.

stokes said...

@ Meecrofilm: After i posted, i did some thinking and figured that they wouldn't work because of guys like Tank and Cooke. IF those guys weren't around, those are money lines. But they are, so those lines aren't as money as I'd like to think.


Thank Mario i'm not the one in charge of those decisions!!!!

I'd like to dub the Staal-Malkin-Sykora line the SMS Line.

That's creativity you can't buy. Not even from BIlly Mays.


Lame.

fleuryous said...

YES! Thomas made the cut. Just hold out, DollaBill.

Good for him--I think he proved himself these past couple games.


SO excited for tomorrow night's game! I made a siiiiign, because I'm twelve, but it's going to be epic.


Does anyone know the roster for tomorrow night?

johnny said...

Holy Crap, I would give my Staal t-shirt for the possibility of Lovejoy and Engelland on a defensive pairing together.

The prospects of a photoshops with Reverend Lovejoy and Freddy Kreuger (aka Robert Englund) have me salivating.

sh0ez said...

For those wondering about watching tomorrow night's game, MyP2P's forum (kudos to bng for posting about their site) has listed this site as one that will be streaming the game. I hope so!

Beav said...

Marek Svatos is a beast. I dream of him in a Pens sweater.

dying alive said...

I know all about their fan base...there are few fan bases with more deplorable fans in the league, in my opinion.

I can think of three off the top of my head, albeit for different reasons than the one you listed. I actually don't mind the Leafs fans that much. They're kind of fun when they come to town, aside from the ones who can't hold their liquor and start fights.

Satan-Crosby-Dupuis
Staal-Malkin-Sykora
Fedotenko-Talbot-Cooke
Kennedy-Taffe-Godard


Wow. I'm just now realizing that there are basically no forward spots available on this team. No defensive spots either (aside from the ones due to injury). So why is everyone in the media making it out like the Pens line-up is decimated? I mean, Bissonnette could challenge Godard I guess, assuming they play the same side. I guess someone could challenge Taffe, but I'd say that Kennedy pretty much has the team made.

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