Avalanche

Putting Sin City on ice: Golden Knights eager to turn Las Vegas into a hockey town
LAS VEGAS — In the western suburb of Summerlin, Nevada, a planned community painted in hues of beige and brown and with a dizzying amount of roundabouts, there is an anonymous business park the Vegas Golden Knights temporarily call home. In the fall, they will move operations into a nearly $30 million practice facility. For now, an office building 14 miles from the Las Vegas Strip is where the NHL hopes its next ice age dawns. When Kim Frank arrived in town last September as the team’s vice president of marketing, after working for the Washington Capitals and the Washington Wizards since 2007, the Golden Knights had a name but no identity. There was no logo. No uniforms. No players on the roster. Nothing in place that could help Frank do her job: sell the brand of hockey to a community in a sports desert. “It’s a true start-up,” Frank says in the lobby of the Black Knight Sports & Entertainment offices, on a July morning when the oppressive heat surpasses triple digits. “It’s new. It’s not moving a franchise. It’s a brand new expansion team,” Frank continues, “which means from the ground up.” The Golden Knights will begin their inaugural season in October as the 31st team in the NHL but the first professional sports franchise in Las Vegas. Hockey is not an abstract concept to the more than two million residents; The Las Vegas area has plenty of emigres from across North America who now pay taxes in Clark County, residents who still have teams back home to root for. Minor league hockey had a long run in town as well, although Las Vegas’s WCHL and ECHL teams have since folded. However, in a city more known for its spectacles, the entertainment ranging from roulette tables to limitless rum-and-Cokes to residencies for Donnie and Marie, building fluency in hockey begins with uncovering the ‘other’ Vegas — the one that lives in the shadow of the blinding lights of Las Vegas Boulevard. “Sports teams give cities identities,” said Golden Knights general manager George McPhee, another Washington transplant who held the same position for the Capitals for 17 years. “It seems the residents of the city want to be known for more than the Strip.” A billboard near Dean Martin Drive warns that The Raiders Are Coming, a tease in silver and black for the pending move of a pro football team, the Oakland Raiders, to Las Vegas. However, before the NFL stakes its claim here, for now, Las Vegas is a hockey town. “We can own this one. We can do this,” says Asi Oba, a fireman whose unit is stationed near the T-Mobile Arena, where the Knights will play. Originally from Cincinnati, Oba admits he’s never watched a minute of hockey in his 35 years but asked himself, “why not?” and decided to give this game a chance. Recently, as Oba and his son, Amare, took in NBA Summer League action at the Thomas & Mack Center, they walked the concourse proudly wearing the black, steel gray and red of the Golden Knights. “It brings something that we’ve never had,” Oba says, then repeats his singular draw: “I can own this.” Related ArticlesAugust 4, 2017 Tony Granato to coach U.S. men’s hockey at Olympics August 1, 2017 Peter Karmanos seeking $500M in sale of NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes It’s a belief that was shared by thousands of residents in 2015 when owner Billy Foley, with no commitment from the NHL, needed to prove this market was viable for hockey. “There was nothing (tangible here),” recalls Todd Pollock, the vice president of ticketing and suites, one of the first employees on the ground and tasked with running the season ticket drive. “We were selling the dream to people and painting a picture. ‘How cool would it be to have a team in town to call our own?’ ” The league gave the Knights a target of 10,000 season-ticket deposits. Within a couple months, the team had exceeded that goal. By June 22, 2016, when the NHL rewarded Las Vegas with a franchise, 16,000 people had paid for the chance to secure future season tickets. Those deposits turned into more than 14,000 actual season-ticket holders. One of the earliest pledges belonged to 23-year-old Las Vegas native Thomas Field. He wasn’t always a hockey fan. Field had to leave the Mojave Desert to fall in love with the game. While attending and playing baseball at the University of Chicago-Illinois, Field watched the Chicago Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups. Field didn’t know much at first, confused about icing and offside violations, but witnessing a dynasty turned the novice into a lifelong follower. “The Blackhawks were running the town at the time,” Field recalls. “Just going to games, it was so unique. There’s no experience like it.” When he settled back home in Las [...]
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Avalanche signs college free agent Dominic Toninato
The Avalanche failed to entice defenseman Will Butcher of the NCAA champion Denver Pioneers to sign with Colorado, but it did agree to terms with forward Dominic Toninato of the runner-up Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. Both Butcher and Toninato captained their college teams as seniors and became unrestricted free agents Wednesday, and Toninato — a 2012 draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs — agreed to a two-year, two-way contract with the Avs, paying him $800,000 in the NHL and $70,000 in the minors. Butcher, a 2013 Avalanche draftee, is exploring opportunities with a handful of teams. “(The Maple Leafs) didn’t have any contracts available,” Toninato said in a phone interview. “They only had an AHL offer and that’s not what we were looking for. So things just didn’t work out with them.” College players can become free agents four years after their draft year, or in Toninato’s case, until after a four-year NCAA career. Toninato, 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, was Minnesota-Duluth’s fifth-leading scorer last season with 29 points (16 goals). He had a team-high plus-25 rating and was the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s defensive forward of the year. Toninato expects his professional career to emulate what he did in college. “I want to be a 200-foot centerman,” he said. “I want to play the full ice, be good in the D zone and the offensive zone. I want to contribute in special teams and be out there in any situation.” Toninato said he and his agent were talking to multiple teams but “Colorado was at the top and had everything I was looking for.”   [...]
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Will Butcher to reject Avalanche, visit with Devils, Sabres, Golden Knights
Will Butcher, the Hobey Baker Award-winning defenseman from the University of Denver, will begin speaking with at least three NHL teams Wednesday when he intends to become an unrestricted free agent, according to a source. The New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres and expansion Vegas Golden Knights have interest in Butcher, 22, who captained DU to the NCAA championship in April. The Avalanche, which selected Butcher in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL draft, has exclusive negotiation rights with the player through 10 p.m. MDT on Tuesday. A college player has four years to sign with the team that drafts him, or he becomes an unrestricted free agent Aug. 16 of his fourth year. Related ArticlesAugust 15, 2017 Lunch Special: Where did the Avalanche go wrong with Will Butcher? August 2, 2017 Matt Duchene on trade rumors: “Whatever’s going to happen is gonna happen” July 26, 2017 Rocco Grimaldi, Jesse Graham sign 1-year contracts with Avalanche July 25, 2017 Matt Nieto signs one-year, $1 million deal to remain with Avalanche July 18, 2017 Avalanche signs RFAs Gabriel Bourque, Felix Girard, Duncan Siemens According to Butcher in April, the Avalanche offered him his entry-level contract days after the Pioneers returned from Chicago with the national championship, but he declined to sign, saying he wanted to explore his options. Butcher could hold a grudge against the Avalanche. At the 2015 NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla., Butcher confirmed the Avalanche told his agent the team had no interest in signing him. At the time, Butcher was a junior and a first-team All-American, but Colorado coach and vice president Patrick Roy wasn’t keen on undersized defensemen. Butcher is listed at 5-foot-10 and 186 pounds. “I’m just going about my business at DU, being the captain next year,” Butcher told The Denver Post in June 2016, about the Avs dismissing him. “They’re doing their business how they want to do it. And I’m doing mine.” Roy resigned last August, and the Avalanche showed heavy interest in Butcher throughout last season, with general manager Joe Sakic and members of his staff scouting most DU home games. The Avalanche finished with a league-low 48 points, by far the fewest in the club’s 21 seasons in Colorado. On April 8, hours before DU took the ice for the national championship game against Minnesota Duluth in Chicago, Sakic told The Post he coveted Butcher. “As soon as they’re done, he’ll have a contract offer,” Sakic said. “We hope to sign him. He’s had a tremendous year. Since the moment we drafted him, four years in college, he’s gotten better every year and he’s obviously hot, the Hobey Baker winner, and hopefully they can win the championship and we can sign him and have him be part of the organization.” There’s still a chance Butcher eventually circles back to Colorado, but only after the player visits other interested teams. [...]
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Lunch Special: Where did the Avalanche go wrong with Will Butcher?
The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers answered questions Tuesday about the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Pioneers hockey team in this Lunch Special live chat. Here are some highlights: So … where did the Avs go wrong with Will Butcher? Mike: Where did the Avs go wrong? They approached the player’s agent during his junior season at DU and said the team (Patrick Roy) had no interest in signing him. And then the Avs had a 48-point season and it might get worse. Put yourself in his position. You’d check out other teams/offers, too. Did the Avs do anywhere close to enough to keep fans in the seats? Related ArticlesAugust 15, 2017 Will Butcher to reject Avalanche, visit with Devils, Sabres, Golden Knights August 2, 2017 Matt Duchene on trade rumors: “Whatever’s going to happen is gonna happen” July 26, 2017 Rocco Grimaldi, Jesse Graham sign 1-year contracts with Avalanche July 25, 2017 Matt Nieto signs one-year, $1 million deal to remain with Avalanche July 18, 2017 Avalanche signs RFAs Gabriel Bourque, Felix Girard, Duncan Siemens Mike: Keep fans in the seats? If I’m the owner and I want to sell tickets, I’m making trades before the draft, stacking up draft picks, and being active in free agency. They haven’t done anything close to that. I fear there will be a sea of open seats at the Pepsi Center next season. Which of the Avs’ young players is due for a breakout year? Mike: Expect big things — or big moments — from Mikko Rantanen and Tyson Jost. Maybe A.J. Greer, too, up front. These boys will get every chance to be the foundation of the future. Nathan MacKinnon, who is coming up on 22, surely needs to have a strong, consistent year. Do you have anything encouraging to offer us that might give us reason that they will at least be competitive this year? Competitive being not one of the bottom 7-10 teams in hockey. Mike: Encouraging? You’ll get to see some young talent in a big-league sweater. Many of them are being pushed into the league, but that’s all I have for you. I wish there were more positives but I don’t see them. Do you see a Matt Duchene trade still happening? And if not does he start season with the team? Mike: Duchene could very well begin the season in Colorado. But remember, the Avs only have three signed big-league D right now. I suspect they’re still hoping a trade unfolds where they can add a top-four D. I don’t think the team can rely on its young payers to step up. We’ve been waiting for the top three to do, so who might rise to the top between Duchene, MacKinnon, and Landeskog? Mike: I see Landeskog wasn’t among the top-20 active wingers by NHL Network. That hurts. He should absolutely be there, given his skill set (but I understand why he’s not). Some disagree with me, but as a No. 2 overall pick with power-forward ability, he should score 25-30 goals per season. So Duchene and MacKinnon certainly aren’t the only veteran young forwards who need to get their careers on the right track. As for other guys, as a mentioned earlier, Rantanen, Jost and Greer will be fun to watch. Which team ends up with the better record this year: The Avs or the Golden Knights? Mike: Golden Knights … Ouch. If Matt Duchene does return to the team next season, will he provide much production? He seemed like he was out of it when he was on those long scoreless streaks last year… Mike: Matt Duchene is capable of big things, obviously. He’s also streaky, like most forwards. The thing is, I don’t think he wants to come back. I think he wants a new start. But I know he’ll make every effort to be a good teammate, good pro, if he does return. To me, Jared Bednar wasnt going to win with Patrick Roy’s players. Does he have players fits the way he wants to play? Mike: Jared Bednar? Yeah, he didn’t win with Roy’s players. But he didn’t get the guys to play well enough, bottom line. The head coach has to take part of the blame, rookie or not. The full transcript: (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"));That's all, folks. Appreciate your interest in this hour-long chat. Keep your stick on the ice. -- MikeI respect UND's program a ton. Great hockey people. As for James' question: No way Duchene does anything but report to camp with a good attitude. You're right, he's too classy to pout about not being moved.Though I must admit I have vacillated on my support for Dutchy in the past, I must confess he has been an absolute professional throughout this process. No way he deserves to be treated the way Joe has, and frankly [...]
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Red Wings denounce use of logo at white nationalist rally
DETROIT — The Detroit Red Wings say they are considering legal action to stop white nationalists from using their logo as part of a “disturbing” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The team said in a statement Saturday it “vehemently” disagrees with the rally and is in no way associated with it. The logo of the NHL club could be seen on items held by people at the rally. The Red Wings say they are “exploring every possible legal action as it pertains to the misuse of our logo in this disturbing demonstration.” The team adds that it believes hockey is for everyone and celebrates the diversity of its fan base and the country. Related ArticlesAugust 13, 2017 Charlottesville victim: “She was there standing up for what was right” August 13, 2017 Alleged driver of car that plowed into Charlottesville crowd was a Nazi sympathizer, former teacher says August 13, 2017 Marshawn Lynch sits during national anthem in Arizona August 13, 2017 White House: Trump’s condemnation includes “white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups” August 13, 2017 Federal civil rights investigation into deadly car crash in Charlottesville begins, driver charged with second-degree murder There is a Michigan-based white nationalist group called the Detroit Right Wings that uses the Red Wings’ logo. [...]
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U.S., Canada preparing for NHL-less Olympics very differently
Former Vancouver Canucks coach Willie Desjardins turned down offers to work in the NHL this season so he could be behind the bench for Canada at the Winter Olympics. Tony Granato gets to keep his day job at the University of Wisconsin and still coach the United States. Six months from the start of the Olympics in South Korea, picking coaches is just one of the many contrasts between Hockey Canada and USA Hockey. Their rosters will be more similar to each other’s than Russia’s star-studded group, but the two North American countries are embarking on drastically different approaches ahead of the February tournament that will be the first without NHL players since 1994. Canada is taking no risks with its thorough preparation as it tries to win a third consecutive gold medal, while the United States sees a benefit in a less-is-more approach in trying to return to the podium. “There’s no guarantee, so that’s why you get yourself prepared as well as you can,” Canada assistant general manager Martin Brodeur said. The best way to prepare is a matter of opinion. The U.S. and Canada will each rely heavily on professionals playing in European leagues and mix in minor leaguers on American Hockey League contracts . While Russia will likely have a team with former NHL stars like Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk and Andrei Markov , who went home to join the Kontinental Hockey League, Canada has former NHL players like Derek Roy, Max Talbot, Mason Raymond, Kevin Klein and Ben Scrivens to look to in Europe. The U.S. has Nathan Gerbe, Keith Aucoin and former AHL goalies David Leggio and Jean-Philippe Lamoureux. Because there are fewer experienced American players in Europe, the U.S. is far more likely to call on recent world junior and current college players, skewing younger at skill positions. Boston University’s Jordan Greenway and Denver’s Troy Terry, who led the U.S. to gold at the world juniors last year, could be among the selections. Canada GM Sean Burke began preparing a year ago for a no-NHL Olympics, scouting to find potential fits to fill the positions previously held by Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Drew Doughty and Carey Price. U.S. GM Jim Johannson began touching base with players on a serious level in June, after roster rules were set . He doesn’t plan to put a lot of mileage into in-person scouting over the next couple of months. “In many cases we know what those players are,” said Johannson, who has been in charge of recent U.S. world junior and world championship teams. “I don’t think our goal is prior to December go running all across the world to see what do these guys got. Let their season get going.” Canada has already gotten started as a group on the ice, playing this week in the Sochi Hockey Open and taking another group of prospective Olympians to St. Petersburg, Russia, next week for the Tournament of Nikolai Puchkov. Those are the first two of five tournaments in which Canada will participate before the final 25-man team goes to Pyeongchang, along with the Karjala Cup in Finland in November, the Channel One Cup in Russia in mid-December and the Spengler Cup in Switzerland at the end of December. Vice president of hockey operations Scott Salmond said Hockey Canada is “not starting at ground zero” and plans to fine-tune its Olympic roster over the next several months. That’s not all that will come together in those five tournaments. “We will have a better understanding of the players we have, what system we can put in and adjustments we need before it starts,” said Brodeur, who serves as assistant GM of the St. Louis Blues. Burke believes he’ll have a good idea of what Canada’s Olympic team will look like by the Moscow-based Channel Cup, which also includes teams from Russia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden and South Korea. “That’ll be the majority of our team that we’ll head into February with,” Burke said. “That’ll depend on guys, the way they play early in the season. Some guys may emerge. Other guys may drop off. But I do feel that when we get to December, we’ll have put enough work and enough effort into this to have narrowed what we think will be most of our Olympic team down.” The U.S. has all its focus on November’s Deutschland Cup, which will be full of Europe-based pros and include teams from Russia, Slovakia and host Germany, as its only pre-Olympic tournament. Despite playing almost 50 pre-Olympic games for the U.S. in 1988 before the Calgary Olympics, Granato believes it’s a positive that the coaches and players will be able to continue with their regular teams with limited interruption. Johannson considered a more comprehensive pre-Olympic schedule but ruled against extra evaluation time to balance out possible fatigue. “The NCAA programs, to me, just do a [...]
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Matt Duchene on trade rumors: “Whatever’s going to happen is gonna happen”
As trade rumors swirl and Matt Duchene‘s future with the Avalanche is in question, the 26-year-old forward said he is focused on what he can control: his game. During Connor McDavid’s Power Edge Pro Camp Tuesday in Toronto, Duchene told The Sports Network that in regards to his situation, “it is what it is and let it happen.” “I think right now I’m pretty relaxed, I know whatever’s going to happen is gonna happen,” Duchene told TSN. “I don’t really have control of it and I’m just worried about being at the top of my game and kind of getting to where I was kind of the first half of last season, before everything kind of fell apart (for) everybody in Colorado. I feel good right now, probably as good as I felt at any point during the year.” The third overall pick in the 2009 NHL draft, Duchene was second on the team in points (41) last season. His minus-34 plus/minus rating was tied for worst on the Avs with defenseman Tyson Barrie. Related ArticlesJuly 26, 2017 Rocco Grimaldi, Jesse Graham sign 1-year contracts with Avalanche July 25, 2017 Matt Nieto signs one-year, $1 million deal to remain with Avalanche July 18, 2017 Avalanche signs RFAs Gabriel Bourque, Felix Girard, Duncan Siemens July 18, 2017 Lunch Special: Will the Avalanche reach an agreement with Will Butcher? July 7, 2017 Colorado Avalanche announce 2 new coaching hires [...]
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Peter Karmanos seeking $500M in sale of NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. — Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. says he wants to sell his team for about $500 million. Karmanos told The News & Observer of Raleigh on Tuesday that he and an ownership group led by former Texas Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg have agreed to a term sheet but do not have a purchase agreement. Karmanos spoke publicly for the first time since club officials acknowledged last month that an offer was made for the team without identifying the buyer or the sale price. Karmanos says he is giving Greenberg some time to assemble his ownership team. But Karmanos adds that “if we get a few more weeks down the road and he can’t raise enough money, I’m going to tell him sayonara.” [...]
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Rocco Grimaldi, Jesse Graham sign 1-year contracts with Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche signed forward Rocco Grimaldi and defenseman Jesse Graham to one-year deals, the team announced Wednesday. Grimaldi, drafted 33rd overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, was acquired by Colorado on June 23, 2016. He appeared in four games for the Avs last season and recorded one assist. The 24 year old spent the majority of 2016-17 with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage, where he scored 31 goals (tied for third in the league) in 72 games. He became the fifth 30-goal scorer in Rampage history. He has 31 career NHL appearances between the Avs and Florida Panthers. Graham, 23, spent last season in the New York Islanders’ system, suiting up for the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the ECHL’s Missouri Mavericks. He had nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 19 games with the Sound Tigers and 25 points (six goals, 19 assists) in 24 appearances with the Mavericks. He was drafted in the sixth round (155th overall) of the 2012 NHL entry draft. [...]
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Matt Nieto signs one-year, $1 million deal to remain with Avalanche
The Avalanche inked forward Matt Nieto to a one-year deal worth $1 million for the 2017-18 season. Nieto — a 5-foot-11, 180-pound left wing — played for the Avalanche in 43 of the final 44 games last season after being claimed off waivers from the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 5. He recorded 11 points (seven goals and four assists) for Colorado in 2016-17. The 24 year old is scheduled for an arbitration hearing next week. “Matt brought speed and offensive depth to our team in the second half of last season,” said Avalanche executive vice president/general manager Joe Sakic in a news release. “He brings energy to our lineup, and we look forward to having him under contract for 2017-18.” Nieto previously spent the entirety of his professional career with the Sharks, recording 70 points in 221 games. The Long Beach, Calif., native played collegiate hockey at Boston University before being drafted 47th by San Jose in the 2011 NHL draft. [...]
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Avalanche signs RFAs Gabriel Bourque, Felix Girard, Duncan Siemens
The Avalanche announced the signings of three of its six qualified restricted free agents Tuesday. Forwards Gabriel Bourque and Felix Girard and defenseman Duncan Siemens agreed to one-year, two-way contracts for next season. Defenseman Nikita Zadorov and forwards Matt Nieto and Rocco Grimaldi remain unsigned RFAs. Zadorov and Nieto played regularly with Colorado last season and are expected to make the Avs’ opening-night lineup in October. Bourque, Girard, Siemens and Grimaldi are likely bound for San Antonio of the American Hockey League. Zadorov, 22, played in 56 games for Colorado last season and is considered a cornerstone defenseman for the team. But according the Russian news outlet Sport-Express, he has agreed to terms with CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League. Zadorov would prefer to re-sign with the Avalanche, Sport-Express wrote, but he is waiting to the end of July to get a better offer from Colorado. Former Avalanche forward and fellow Russian Mikhail Grigorenko recently signed with CSKA. Grigorenko, 23, who was not given a RFA qualifying offer by the Avs, joined Colorado, along with Zadorov, in the 2015 six-player trade that sent Ryan O’Reilly to Buffalo. [...]
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Lunch Special: Colorado Avalanche chat with Mike Chambers
The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers answers questions from readers about the Colorado Avalanche and DU Pioneers hockey team at noon on Tuesday. (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"));Where do you see Nail Yakupov fitting in the lineup this season?65 points, can you believe we're doubting that? But I'm with you. The youth movement is somewhat exciting but the growing pains will be too much. This slow rebuild will be painful.Help me see a scenario where this team scores more than 65 points this season?Siemens situation is cloudy. Do you keep him in COL as a 5-6-7-8 guy or in top-pairing in San Antonio. I really don't know. We'll know more when we see his contract.What do you think the chances are that Siemens makes the roster this season given the new young d-liners like Mironov?Argusdubbs: Right now it's Johnson, Barrie, Barbario, Zadorov (if signed), Mironov, Bigras (or Lindholm, Meloche, Boikov)And, hey, if you want to watch really good, winning hockey, spend your money at Magness Arena. Could be the best DU team I've ever covered next season. Massive talent and depth.Speaking of D, who do you think will start out the year in the Avs top 6? ( assuming no further acquisitions and that the Zadorov deal goes through).Pios already named their captains, and they saved Gambrell an A. Tariq Hammond will have the C.Thanks Mike, absolutely agree. Dutchy is a class act, and a constant pro. It's a shame he had to go through this process.What are your thoughts on Gambrell as C for the Pios?Landeskog will be fine. He's 24 now and mature beyond his years. Perhaps he was over his head a couple years ago, but not now.What about Landy? Can he lead a team that is starting the season with so much discord?corallycup: Good question. My answer: I'm glad I'm not a ticket salesman for this team. What is there to pitch?Also on Zadorov: Sakic signed Barrie a couple years ago as an RFA just after his golf tourney in August. Things will happen in next month.without a change of leadership in the front office or a coaching change, what hope should avs fans have for a meaningful turn around? This roster looks like over valued players that never took that last step and the front office looks like the Bluejackets West/2.0Zadorov: He reportedly (second-hand, not confirmed) said he's agreed to terms with a KHL team but prefers to sign a two-year bridge deal with COL. In other words, he's using the KHL as a bargaining chip to get more cash from his bridge. I don't suspect Zadorov will play in the KHL next season. Sakic must sign this guy and he has the money. They'll come to terms; he's not arbitration eligible I'm told.On a side note to Butcher, I think the Blackhawks will try to sign him next month, if he goes UFA. He's the type of D Chicago covets.Zadorov update?What's the status of Zads?Also, what are you thinking about Zad playing in Denver next year?Any news on the Nikita Zadorov situation. Time is starting to get a little tight.I expect news on Will Butcher in the coming week(s). I suspect he's going to go UFA next month, instead of signing his ELC with the Avs. Butcher doesn't want to negotiate through the media and I respect that. But I do believe he'll take my calls soon and make his decision public.Prediction? They had 48 points last season. Maybe they can get 60 next season. They will be quicker.What's the latest on Butcher?What's the latest on Will Butcher and the Avs?It looks a lot younger and very inexperienced. The Avs generally replaced a handful of 30-somethings (plus Grigorenko) with kids in their entry-level contracts. The rebuild looks like a patient one. But a Duchene trade could change that ...With the current avs roster. Where do you honestly seem them finishing?How does the Avs roster look this year? Are we strong enough to climb out of the basement?James, please see my first comment. We still believe Duchene could be traded. If not, I think the team will take him back, no problem. Despite some public opinion, Duchene is a great teammate, great pro.In the three D signed, I mean the proven NHLers. Plus Mironov, Bigras, Lindholm etc.Since Joe has elected not to trade Dutchy, what kind of therapy is he going to have the team go through to seem like an actual team, particularly in light of the fact that Duchene is so integral to the team's success.Tough call. As I've often said since March 1, I believe the marriage is over between No. 9 and the Avs. But since he's still on the market, I'm starting to think he could begin the season in Colorado. Depends on if the Avs truly believe they can go with the youngsters on D. Only three D signed right now, with Zadorov negotiations ongoing. Duchene could still bring in a top-four D.Any word on what the future of Matt Duchene is going to be? Great talent, but I d [...]
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Experience not required: Rookie coaches a growing NHL trend
Rick Tocchet is the kind of coach who doesn’t mind if a player calls him at 9 p.m. to share a thought. He doesn’t expect that to change as he goes from a Pittsburgh Penguins assistant to head coach of the Arizona Coyotes. Tocchet has done it before, and his 148 games as an NHL head coach make the 53-year-old one of the more experienced hires this offseason as teams look for the next new idea rather than recycling from the past. Three vacancies were filled by first-timers: the Buffalo Sabres’ Phil Housley, Florida Panthers’ Bob Boughner and Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Green. Tocchet and the Los Angeles Kings’ John Stevens are longtime assistants with some time running a bench, while the Dallas Stars’ Ken Hitchcock and Vegas Golden Knights’ Gerard Gallant represent the only seasoned coaches. Almost every general manager cited communication skills as a major reason for prioritizing youth over experience. “It’s clear for me: (Tocchet is) one of the best communicators I’ve come across, not only in hockey but probably professionally as well,” Coyotes GM John Chayka said. “He can just relate to the players. He’s very firm. He can motivate. He can be aggressive in his approach, but he can also be that big brother kind of approach.” Tocchet, Housley, Boughner, Green, Stevens and Gallant all played in the NHL in the 1990s and represent the new-school concept of a players’ coach, mixing positive relationships with accountability. Likable Jon Cooper took the Tampa Bay Lightning to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final in his first go-’round, while other experiments like Dallas Eakins, Claude Noel, Ron Rolston and Mike Johnston didn’t go so well. More time is needed to determine the success of some, like the Philadelphia Flyers’ Dave Hakstol, New Jersey Devils’ John Hynes and Colorado Avalanche’s Jared Bednar, but teams are more willing than ever to take a risk on coaching rookies. Ten of the 31 coaches are in their first head jobs in the NHL as some prominent experienced coaches like Lindy Ruff, Jacques Martin, Jack Capuano and Marc Crawford have accepted roles as assistants. Florida GM Dale Tallon went through an “exhaustive, extensive search” before Boughner’s interview blew him away, and Chayka talked to more than 25 coaches before calling Tocchet the best candidate by a wide margin. Kings GM Rob Blake said “there was literally no search” as Stevens was the natural fit to succeed Darryl Sutter, and the Canucks didn’t interview anyone but Green, who coached their top minor league affiliate for the past four seasons. Buffalo GM Jason Botterill said Housley was “uniquely qualified” for the job based on his playing and coaching careers. Hockey experience on the ice and at other levels may be just as valuable to executives picking coaches. “I’ve been a player, I’ve been an owner, I’ve been an executive, I’ve been a head coach, an assistant coach,” Boughner said with a significant nod to his time in junior hockey. “I know this league and I know the game and I’m ready for this challenge.” One of the biggest challenges in the transition from assistant to head coach is the different dynamic with players. Panthers captain Derek MacKenzie had Boughner as an assistant in Columbus and considered him approachable but someone who knew when to “put his foot down.” MacKenzie acknowledged it won’t be exactly the same with Boughner in charge. After winning the Stanley Cup the past two seasons with the Penguins, Tocchet figures he won’t alter his approach in Arizona. “That’s the million-dollar question to me because I don’t want to change as a person,” Tocchet said. “I don’t think that because you carry a title ‘head coach’ that all of a sudden you’ve got to be distanced from your players.” Related ArticlesJuly 16, 2017 Bob Wolff, versatile and longtime sportscaster, dies at 96 July 13, 2017 Chuck Greenberg said to near $500 million deal for NHL’s Hurricanes July 12, 2017 Jaccob Slavin, Carolina Hurricanes agree on 7-year extension July 7, 2017 Colorado Avalanche announce 2 new coaching hires July 5, 2017 Connor McDavid signs 8-year, $100 million deal with Edmonton Oilers His old boss disagrees. Mike Sullivan, who spent several seasons as an assistant under John Tortorella between head-coaching gigs and was hired by the Penguins midway through the 2015-16 season, insists there’s a delineation in day-to-day duties. “Ultimately I have to make difficult decisions, whether it be playing time or lineup decisions or power-play combinations,” Sullivan said. “I think by nature of the head-coaching [...]
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