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Kiszla: While the Avs have a bad case of the blues, the Denver Pioneers rule this hockey town
As Paul Stastny glided across the ice of his old stomping grounds in Denver, and flicked a beauty of a wrist shot that beat the Avalanche’s Jonathan Bernier at the far post for a goal, the lamp was lit so brightly the truth was plain to see. Denver is a great hockey town. Always has been. Always will be. But hockey greatness in this town is defined by the Pioneers, not the Avs. Same as it ever was. The Pioneers, defending national champions, are the diamond-and-gold standard in college hockey. They have the rings to prove it. “I was fired up when I saw those rings. I almost wanted to pull mine out. I don’t know where mine is,” said Stastny, who won it all with DU back in 2005. Raise the banner high! The DU Pioneers celebrate the eighth national championship in their storied program’s history when they take the ice Friday night for the home-opener against Lake Superior State. The Avs, who teased us by jumping out to a 4-1 record in the young NHL season, fell back into their same-old, same-old bad habits, losing 4-3 Thursday to a St. Louis team playing on back-to-back nights. It was the third consecutive loss for Colorado, and about the loudest noise all evening was at the conclusion of the national anthem, when the crowd shouted, “Home of the … Blues!” To fully remember when the Avalanche looked like an NHL dynasty in the making, you have to be of legal drinking age. So let’s raise a toast to the way Peter Forsberg and the Avs were back at the turn of the century. But if you want to see a dynasty in the making, grab a seat at Magness Arena on the DU campus. It’s the best bargain in Colorado sports. The Pios took the trophy home from the Frozen Four in the spring, beating Minnesota-Duluth 3-2 in the final. And coach Jim Montgomery’s squad is just getting warmed up. DU is ranked No. 1. The Pioneers return Henrik Borgstrom, Troy Terry, Tanner Jaillet, Dylan Gambrell, heart-and-soul players on the national championship team. Stastny scored the 600th point of his professional career off a 2-on-1 breakaway ignited by a careless Colorado turnover in the attacking third. “It was nice,” Stastny. “It’s kind of unique and special to get it here, where home base is for me. In front of family and friends, it’s always fun.” How did Stastny get to be 31 years old? It seemed like only yesterday when he was wearing a DU sweater for the Pioneers. After playing eight seasons for the Avalanche, the beginning of this extended period of agony for pro hockey in Colorado began in 2014, when Stastny departed Denver for St. Louis in free agency. Here’s the best we can say about the Avalanche: The worst appears to be over. After finishing last in the league with some of the most abominable hockey played by any NHL team in the 21st century, Colorado has an infusion of youthful enthusiasm. At age 19, rookie Tyson Jost played wing on the No. 1 line against the Blues. Alexander Kerfoot, a 23-year-old forward out of Harvard, got the Avs on the board in the first period on juicy rebound that he put in the back of the net with an aggressive move to the crease. Kerfoot pounced on a mistake by St. Louis goalie Carter Hutton late in the third period to pull Colorado within one score. It’s been a long, rough stretch for the Avalanche. But the tradition of hockey greatness is healthy and strong in Denver. It depends on where you look. Related Articles Kickin’ it with Kiz: Would the Patriots ever dump Tom Brady? Well, the Colts did cut Peyton Manning. Lunch Special: Denver sports chat with Mark Kiszla Kiszla: Here’s the first real test of Vance Joseph’s mettle as head coach of the Broncos Kiszla: Is it fair to expect 47 wins from Nuggets, or turn up heat on Michael Malone if they don’t? Kiszla: The Broncos’ No. 1 problem is No. 13. Trevor Siemian is not the answer at quarterback. The Pioneers built this hockey town. And they rule it. One more thing: Did Stastny really lose his DU national championship ring? No. He was just kidding about misplacing one of the prized treasures of his hockey career. The ring is in safe keeping, at his house in St. Louis. “I’ve got it,” Stastny said. “Don’t worry.” [...]
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J.T. Compher breaks his hand. Two other Avalanche players injured. And another is in the doghouse.
J.T. Compher, the Avalanche’s third-line right wing, broke his right thumb Thursday in his team’s 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues and will remain out indefinitely, his coach said. “He’s going to miss some time,” Bednar said. Compher was not the only missing Avs player. Colorado, who nearly rallied to tie the Blues late in the third period, finished shorthanded. Rookie winger Tyson Jost and defenseman Patrik Nemeth suffered lower body injuries, Bednar said. Their outlooks are not clear. And Bednar yanked veteran winger Nail Yakupov after the second period for poor play. “We had a couple guys who didn’t show up to play. Can’t do it,” Bednar said. He would only point to Yakupov. “He’s one of them.” Compher assisted Alexander Kerfoot on a first period goal as the Avs jumped to full pressure on the Blues. Mikko Rantanen from beside St. Louis’ net, twice set up Compher for slap shots on the game’s first power play. One shot that was blocked by Blues goalie Carter Hutton fell to Kerfoot for a rebound goal. Compher has a goal and three assists this season. But the Avs lost a third game in a row. “It’s hard right now,” Bednar said. “We really wanted to win that one to break the slide, especially in front of our home fans. Guys laid their hearts on the line. I think we deserved better tonight.” [...]
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Broncos lose three players to injury in practice on Friday
Donald Stephenson, Corey Nelson, and freshly signed River Cracraft all went down with injuries on Friday. In practice on Friday, the Denver Broncos lost right tackle Donald Stephenson to a torn calf, linebacker Corey Nelson with an elbow injury, and wide receiver River Cracraft to a torn hamstring. Broncos suffer 3 injuries in THU practice: RT Donald Stephenson torn calf; LB Corey Nelson elbow, IR; WR River Cracraft torn hammy. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) October 20, 2017 All three could end up on injured reserve with those injuries. With Menelik Watson and Billy Turner likely out with injury this week, the Broncos are hurting at tackle. They will be calling up Elijah Wilkinson from the practice squad to fill this need. For now, they will be sliding Allen Barbre outside to fill in at right tackle. He did well in substitution for Garett Bolles at times, so maybe they’ll see a slight improvement at the position against the Los Angeles Chargers. In an unconfirmed rumor, Benjamin Allbright has a source saying Denver is trying to work out a potential trade for an offensive tackle with the Buffalo Bills. Strong rumor circulating that the Broncos are sniffing the Bills out for an offensive tackle...— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) October 20, 2017 Whatever is happening, the Broncos are hurting at the position and it was a position that is widely considered the weakest talent on the team. It could go from worse to disaster real quick. Broncos-Chargers injury report Final practice report of the week for the #Broncos & #Chargers. Thursday did no favors to Denver's health status, which took a hit against the #Giants. #DENvsLAC pic.twitter.com/CQrAkF567W— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) October 20, 2017 [...]
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Broncos lose third right tackle to injury in five-day span
The Denver Broncos' injury epidemic has gotten drastically worse. Coach Vance Joseph said Friday that Donald Stephenson tore his left calf muscle at practice a day earlier when linebacker Corey Nelson also suffered a season-ending elbow injury. Stephenson, the third right tackle to get hurt in a five-day span, and Nelson were expecting big roles Sunday when the Broncos (3-2) visit the Chargers (2-4). [...]
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[MLS: Colorado Rapids] – Tale of the Tape: Alan Gordon expects physical clash against Román Torres
... Supporters' Shield run, and carried back with him to the Galaxy and now the Rapids. What they say … One look at Román Torres is enough to earn him respect from ... [...]
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[MLS: Colorado Rapids] – Match Preview: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Colorado Rapids | October 22
... SL’s attempts on goal. Aside from Joshua Gatt’s well-worked early opener the Rapids, despite being at home, spent much of the 90+6 minutes on the back foot, rid ... [...]
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Nuggets Look to Rebound Against the Rebuilt Sacramento Kings
Roster turnover in the NBA can move at lightning speed, and on Friday Nuggets coach Michael Malone opened a window into just how fast it [...]
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Quick Picks: Week 7
Take a look at a roundup of the experts' picks for this weekend's game between the Broncos and the Chargers in Los Angeles. [...]
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The long and short of it: Aaron Judge, Jose Altuve drive their teams in ALCS
NEW YORK — Every once in a while, the planets align, giant Jupiter and tiny Mercury, and we get the two best players in the American League Championship Series at the same vector, in the same camera shot, near the same base, and we are left to remind ourselves, for the millionth time, baseball is a wondrous game. Aaron Judge, the New York Yankees‘ rookie right fielder, will reach down — way down — and pat Jose Altuve, the Houston Astros‘ second baseman, on the back, as he did Wednesday after an RBI double in the third inning, and the game will go on. But the wonder remains. It is a wonder Judge and Altuve even play the same sport, let alone that they are two of its greatest practitioners — the leading candidates for AL Most Valuable Player this season and the engines of their respective teams’ offenses in the ALCS, a series the Yankees lead, three games to two, entering Friday night’s Game 6 at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. Judge, 25, is a 6-foot-7, 280-pound mountain of muscle, the likes of which the sport has never seen, an NFL tight end in Yankee pinstripes, a slugger who set a rookie record this season with 52 home runs, including the longest and the hardest-hit of the year. He is a primary reason the Yankees stand one win away from the World Series, having gone 4 for 9 with two homers, two doubles and six RBI, and contributing a couple of dazzling defensive plays, as the Yankees swept Games 3, 4 and 5 at Yankee Stadium this week. Altuve, meantime, is listed at 5-6, 165 pounds, but acknowledges he is actually 5-5. A 27-year-old Venezuelan, he is a wizard with both the bat and the glove and a speeding blur on the bases, a three-time AL batting champ, the first player in history to lead his league in hits outright four straight seasons. He hit three homers in Game 1 of the Division Series against Boston — joining a short list, which includes Babe Ruth and Albert Pujols, of players who have done that in a postseason game — and almost single-handedly willed the Astros to victories over the Yankees in Games 1 and 2 in Houston, scoring the go-ahead runs in each with daring baserunning and robbing the Yankees of hits in the field. “I don’t really care how tall he is. It’s his ability that speaks for itself,” Astros Manager A.J. Hinch said of Altuve. “He’s the most consistent player in the league, in a league that has elite performers anywhere. … Five-six, 6-6, 100 pounds, 200 pounds, 300 pounds — it’s more about what he does, not about the package it comes from.” But if Judge and Altuve are the focal points of their respective lineups, the ones you never want to see at the plate at the biggest moments, they are also the largest black holes, sucking in their teams’ entire production, when they disappear. In the Yankees’ two losses in Houston, Judge went 1 for 7 with three strikeouts, leaving his postseason batting average to that point at .129 (4 for 31) with 19 strikeouts. In the Astros’ three losses in the Bronx, Altuve was 0 for 10 and scored just one run. Yankees Manager Joe Girardi suggested Altuve and Judge, as outliers by virtue of their respective sizes, can be victims of strike-zone biases on the part of home-plate umpires, with umpires calling strikes on Judge that are actually below his strike zone, and on Altuve on pitches that are actually high. Some advanced metrics back up that claim, with Judge, according to ESPN, ranking third in low strikes “framed against” — low balls that are called strikes. “It’s part of what’s going to happen to him because he’s so tall,” Girardi said. “I think there are some pitches that were called on him during the series that haven’t necessarily been strikes. There’s a big difference between 1 and 1 (count) and 2 and 0, (or) 2 and 1. There’s a big difference in the way it changes an at-bat … If you’re an umpire that sees 500 pitches a week, in your mind you’re going to have an idea of what’s a strike and not a strike. And the rare bodies are the Altuves and the Judges. So a lot of times they might get more or (fewer) strikes called on them because (their strike zones are) different.” In order to reach their current status, both Judge and Altuve had to overcome plenty of built-in biases within the sport about their respective body types. Position players of Judge’s size rarely last in the majors, their strike zones too big, their swings too long. Players of Altuve’s size almost never make it to the big leagues, with 5-5 Freddie Patek, who retired in 1981, being the last. When Altuve was 16, the Astros rejected him at a tryout because of his size, but Altuve’s father begged the team to give his son a second tryout, and the Astros eventually signed him for just $15,000. And despite hitting .327 with an .867 OPS i [...]
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Dodgers beat Cubs to reach World Series
CHICAGO — Kike Hernandez homered three times and drove in seven runs, and the Los Angeles Dodgers romped past the Chicago Cubs 11-1 on Thursday night behind Clayton Kershaw to reach the World Series for the first time in almost three decades. Kershaw breezed through six crisp innings and Cody Bellinger had three hits as Los Angeles ended Chicago’s title defense with a dominant performance in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series. Hernandez connected on the first two pitches he saw, belting a solo drive in the second against Jose Quintana and a grand slam in the third against Hector Rondon. Hernandez added a two-run shot in the ninth against Mike Montgomery. It’s the first pennant for one of baseball’s most storied franchises since Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda managed Los Angeles to its last championship in 1988. The Dodgers will host the Yankees or Astros in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. [...]
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Friday Night Lights: Live updates from #copreps football Week 8
Live tweets, updates, photos and more from #copreps football Week 8 across the state of Colorado. Mobile users, if you don’t see the live blog tap here. (function(d, s, id) {var js,ijs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//embed.scribblelive.com/widgets/embed.js";ijs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, ijs);}(document, "script", "scrbbl-js"));Luis Martinez with a 1-yard TD run for East, which now leads Sierra 14-0 late in first quarter. #copreps //embed.scribblelive.com/js/jwflvplayer/player-licensed.swfChris Mooney with a 22-yard field goal to give Bayfield a 3-0 lead on Delta with 6:59 to go 1st half. #copreps 3A football end of the 1stLP 22Mitchell 6@LewisPalmer38 @gazettepreps @therowdyrangers #copreps Arapahoe gets another touchdown pass and takes a 21-10 lead over Boulder. #copreps @BoCoPreps Nevarez tries the fake punt run again, Basalt ain't fooled. Longhorns will start drive at @MOCO_Dogs 22. #COPreps Bayfield stuffed. Don't like the Wolverines passing inside the 5-yard line. That's not BHS football. Snaps have been all over the place, tooTouchdown East. Luis Martinez scores from a yard out to put the Eagles up 14-0 over Sierra, 1:18 1Q #copreps 4A Football:#7 Pueblo West 14Mesa Ridge 0End of 1st QDefense doing good so far!@TODDALBO @PuebloRdoSports @bersch_jeff #copreps 3rd & 9 on their own 21 as 1Q ends for @MOCO_Dogs . Now to see if having wind at their backs helps. Basalt offsides doesn't hurt. Longhorns still lead 21-0. #COPreps TOUCHDOWN DEMONS! Gage Mestas returns a punt about 45 yards for a Durango TD. Everything going Durango's way on homecoming 39-0 #copreps End of 1Q, @pch_hornets trailing @hhspanthers1 14-3. @PuebloRdoSports @TODDALBO Yo: End of 1Q, Fairview heads Mullen 7-0. #copreps #mullenathletics End of first quarter. @RegisJesuitHS leads @TrojansACHS 14-7 @aurorasports #copreps Football: Nice drive for @SmokyHillFB ends with incomplete pass on 4th down, @BLAZERFB takes over near midfield #copreps #aurora 58 yard run Dylan Hilliker, slicing through the Delta defense Beautiful run! Bayfield ball on Delta 4.Fort Morgan 14Thompson Valley 0End of the 1st quarter #copreps Fort Morgan 14Thompson Valley 0End of the 1st quarter #copreps FB: Greeley West ties Brighton 7-7 w/ 8min in the half #copreps //embed.scribblelive.com/js/jwflvplayer/player-licensed.swfButter Phelps runs for a first down on 4th and 1 out of the punt formation. Gets 6 yards to extend Bayfield drive.Peetz FB 36-0 end of first quarter! #copreps @PeetzSchool No. 3 Pomona Panthers ready to go on homecoming game night. @PomonaPrincipal #copreps //embed.scribblelive.com/js/jwflvplayer/player-licensed.swfJohn Hochanadel (Fort Morgan) 47 yard run (PAT Good) 52 seconds left in the 1st quarter, Fort Morgan 14, Thompson Valley 0 #copreps John Hochanadel (Fort Morgan) 47 yard run (PAT Good) 52 seconds left in the 1st quarter, Fort Morgan 14, Thompson Valley 0 #copreps Photos: First day of softball state championships bit.ly/2yxzzen #copreps Live coverage of tonight's games: bit.ly/2hTaXCA #copreps End of first quarter. @RegisJesuitHS leads @TrojansACHS 14-7 @aurorasports #copreps 1:24 left in 1Q as Williams gains another 6-yd TD after 30+ catch by Griffen Jenkins. Kick is good. Basalt ahead 21-0 over @MOCO_Dogs . #COPreps Noah Williams just scored his third touchdown of the game. #Basalt Longhorns lead Moffat County Bulldogs 21-0 with minute left in first quarter. #copreps #chsaa AFTER 1: Valor leads Highlands Ranch 14-0. #copreps Ku La Moo a 31-yard FG attmept for Delta goes wide right. Bayfield takes over on own 20 in scoreless game.Short kick recovered by Coal Ridge. Power then goes 35 yards untouched in next play. 28-0 Titans, 6:07 Q1. Wow. #COpreps And just like that, Boulder answers with an 80-yard touchdown pass of its own, Travis to Maier. Arapahoe leads 14-10. #copreps @BoCoPreps A 31-yd burst through the Basalt line by Josh Teeter puts @MOCO_Dogs in Basalt territory for first time, but Longhorns don't allow conversion. #COPreps Stenstrom sneaks one in for his second touchdown of the night. #copreps End of 1st QTR Brush 0Platte Valley 21#copreps End of 1st QTR Brush 0Platte Valley 21#copreps After one quarter at All-City stadium, No. 2 @PalmerRidge and @TJSpartans are all tied up at 6. #copreps https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DMn_UXzU8AIuXpm.jpgCoal Ridge’s Oscar Salazar finds Jacx Power out of the backfield for a 71-yard catch and run for six. 21-0 Titans, 6:19 Q1. #COpreps RHS Football leads Erie 8-0 after the 1st. @The_JT_Breeze @Sports_RHS #copreps #weldpreps Photos from the first day of softball state championships: bit.ly/2zphHzc #copreps https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DMn-Q3EVwAE0xeT.jpgAt the end of the fir [...]
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Glenwood Springs football forfeits all of 2017 wins because of ineligible player
Glenwood Springs has forfeited all four wins from the 2017 season due to the use of an ineligible player through the first seven games of the season. The school released a statement Friday morning, citing an “administrative oversight” that led to vacated wins over Conifer, Kennedy, Steamboat Springs and Battle Mountain. In the statement, Glenwood Springs athletic director Craig Denney said, “It is a difficult situation as it involves so many people. Players, coaches, families have been greatly affected and we truly regret the mistake. Systems are being reviewed to make sure that this does not occur again.” Coach Rocky Whitworth and the Demons play on the road at Summit on Friday at 6 p.m. [...]
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Denver Nuggets notes: Nikola Jokic held scoreless in second half of loss to Jazz
One troubling development during the Nuggets’ collapse in a 106-96 season-opening loss at the Utah Jazz was the disappearance of standout center Nikola Jokic, who flirted with a triple-double but did not score in the second half. The Jazz often went small, with the 6-foot-7 Joe Johnson guarding the 6-10 Jokic. Malone was disappointed by three consecutive possessions in which Jockic posted up but did not score, missing a shot on the left block and committing two turnovers. But that won’t stop the Nuggets from feeding their big man down the stretch, particularly when he has the size advantage. “I have no doubt that Nikola scoring zero points in the second half will not happen many more times in this season — or his NBA career,” Malone said. LINEUP EXPERIMENTS Wednesday’s opener offered the first chance for Malone to develop a rotation in a typical game setting. It yielded mixed results. The Nuggets primarily played Mason Plumlee, Will Barton, Emmanuel Mudiay, Kenneth Faried and Juancho Hernangomez off the bench, though Faried and Hernangomez did not play in the second half. Malone attributed Faried’s absence to Utah’s small lineups. But the coach added Hernangomez — who did not attempt a shot in nearly six minutes — has “got to get going.” “Right now, he doesn’t have that same energy and zap that he had last year,” Malone said. Related Articles Richard Jefferson’s key role with the Nuggets? “Be the old grumpy man” Richard Jefferson signs with Denver Nuggets The Morning After: 9 takeaways from Denver Nuggets’ season-opening loss at Utah Denver Nuggets “implode” in fourth quarter, fall to Utah Jazz in season opener Jameer Nelson waived by Nuggets, clearing way for Denver to sign Richard Jefferson Barton led the reserves with 32 minutes, scoring 21 of his 23 points in the first half and adding six rebounds and two assists while playing point guard, shooting guard and small forward. But he was absent for most of the third quarter, and acknowledged after the game that it was challenging to rediscover his rhythm after the extended break. That was partially due to bad luck, Malone said. He sent Barton to the scorer’s table midway through the third quarter, but play did not stop until the 3:54 mark. QUOTABLE Malone on the Nuggets’ defensive effort against the pick and roll: “We just ran into screens, died and didn’t fight through it.” [...]
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