Avalanche

Avalanche dominates, but wins a tight one over Anaheim
An offensive attack not seen in years at the Pepsi Center developed Friday night. In dominating possession, limiting turnovers, using tremendous speed and creating second chances on seemingly every rush, the Avalanche played a thrilling brand of hockey before an appreciative, long-suffering crowd. The Anaheim Ducks were severely winged. Colorado, however, failed to capitalize on 6-of-8 power plays and had two disallowed goals because of goaltender interference to skate away with a tight triumph. A power-play goal by Avs defenseman Tyson Barrie broke a 1-1 tie at 14:21 of the third period and led to a 3-1 victory after a 190-foot empty-net goal by defenseman Nikita Zadorov with 0.5 seconds left. Suddenly, the 2016-17 last-place Avalanche is 4-1 and looking like a playoff contender. After the game, the thought-to-be serious injury to standout center Nathan MacKinnon became a relief. MacKinnon left the game in the first period with an eye injury, after he was high-sticked in the face by the Ducks’ Derek Grant, who was trying to lift MacKinnon’s stick beside the Anaheim net. Avs coach Jared Bednar said MacKinnon should be fine and play Saturday in Dallas. “He had some vision problems immediately after but right now things have settled down and he should be good to go for tomorrow,” Bednar said. Said Avs captain Gabe Landeskog: “We were scared for him there. Really scared for him. Let alone losing him for the game or for the season, it’s the rest of your life. You only have two eyes.” Former Ducks goalie Jonathan Bernier got the start for Colorado, which outshot Anaheim 30-8 through two periods and 39-18 for the game. The Avs appeared to go ahead 2-0 in the second period but forward Blake Comeau was called for goalie interference on Reto Berra before linemate Matt Nieto shot the puck past Berra, the former Av. Related ArticlesOctober 13, 2017 Avalanche rookie Tyson Jost out 1-2 games with bone bruise October 12, 2017 Nathan MacKinnon doing everything but scoring goals for Avalanche October 12, 2017 Adam Foote joins Denver NHL player agency KO Sports Inc. October 11, 2017 Avalanche hang on to beat Bruins in home opener at Pepsi Center October 11, 2017 Nail Yakupov glad to be in Colorado with Avalanche The Avs used their coach’s challenge to try to overturn the call on the ice, but instead only lost their timeout as the call stood. In the third period, after the Ducks tied it 1-1 with a short-handed goal, Alex Kerfoot’s goal was disallowed because referees ruled Kerfoot interfered with Berra before a shot from the point caromed in the net off Kerfoot’s back. Colorado might have overturned the call with a coach’s challenge, but had already used it. Bernier improved to 1-1 and the Avs are now 2-0 at home. “Last two games have been pretty easy for the goalies, especially tonight,” Bernier said. “We played the right way for 60 (minutes). We used our speed. We cycled the puck. We spent a lot of time in their zone. We wore them down.” Injury-plagued Anaheim played without a handful of its best players in forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler and defensemen Kevin Bieksa, Sami Vantanen and Hampus Lindholm. But the Ducks managed to stay in the game with their penalty kill and their short-handed goal by defenseman Brandon Montour early in the third period. “I liked a lot of what we did,” Bednar said. “No. 1, we were skating tonight. We were skating back into our zone, getting give guys in there to break out and we did that cleanly a lot. And then up ice we were relentless on the puck. We created power plays. We created secondary opportunities by tracking the puck, forcing turnovers and stealing pucks. We were skating and we were relentless on it.” Colorado was scheduled to depart for Dallas following the game and will play the Stars on Saturday night to begin a two-game trip. The Avs play at Nashville on Tuesday. [...]
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Adam Foote joins Denver NHL player agency KO Sports Inc.
Former Avalanche defenseman, team captain and coaching consultant Adam Foote has joined Denver-based NHL player-agency KO Sports Inc. as director of player development. Foote, 46, has done a sensational job of developing his two teenage sons, and now looks to mentor others in how to prepare for the NHL and make the most out of a career. “For me, this is a great opportunity to stay in the game and get a great experience with a good group,” Foote said. “KO is well known, very professional and I wouldn’t jump in this if I didn’t love the situation.” KO Sports is located in Cherry Creek and it represents more than 25 NHL players, including the Avalanche’s Blake Comeau, J.T. Compher and Anton Lindholm. Company CEO and founder Kurt Overhardt said Foote will primarily work with defensemen, such as Pittsburgh’s Ian Cole, Carolina’s Jaccob Slavin, Minnesota’s Gustav Olofsson and Mattias Ekholm of Nashville, but he’ll also make time to visits with forwards. “Adam will work with our top prospects and help develop them, and he’s also going to mentor our professionals,” Overhardt said. “It’s pretty all-encompassing as far as helping the players in our group to become better players and also learn a lot of things on and off the ice. So we’re really proud to have the relationship with Adam and have him join our group.” Related ArticlesOctober 12, 2017 Nathan MacKinnon doing everything but scoring goals for Avalanche October 11, 2017 Avalanche hang on to beat Bruins in home opener at Pepsi Center October 11, 2017 Nail Yakupov glad to be in Colorado with Avalanche October 10, 2017 Colorado Avalanche announce new AHL affiliate in Colorado Eagles October 9, 2017 Semyon Varlamov blanks Boston, Avalanche erase special team woes in road win Foote will split his time living in Denver and Kelowna, British Columbia, where his two sons play for the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. Defenseman Cal Foote, 18, was selected 14th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2017 NHL draft and forward Nolan Foote, 16, could be a first-round pick in the 2019 draft. But Foote will often travel to meet with KO Sports’ clients. “You got to see these players play,” he said. “You can’t just watch them on video. You have to get there, you still have to see them live.” Foote said he doesn’t plan on becoming a player agent, for now. “When I played, I always had some people I leaned on away from the rink. They were my mentors,” Foote said. “There’s so many things on the ice that happens, but off the ice, too. You’re always dealing with ups and downs. You always hear, ‘One day you’re in the penthouse, one day you’re in the doghouse.’ You can’t get on that emotional roller-coaster. You have to stay even-keeled. I can help these guys understand. I just want to be a support system, someone these guys can lean on.” [...]
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Nathan MacKinnon doing everything but scoring goals for Avalanche
Nathan MacKinnon is a natural goal scorer, among other things he excels at in playing hockey. It just happens that the other things are dominating his game lately. Through four games, the Avalanche center is still looking for his first goal. But he has a team-high four assists, including two primary ones in Wednesday’s 6-3 victory over the visiting Boston Bruins. “I really liked his game (Wednesday) night,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said of MacKinnon after practice Thursday. “We need to produce, and produce through our lineup, and he’s helping that in a big way. His line is scoring right now. He just doesn’t happen to be the guy shooting it in the back of the net.” MacKinnon, who is centering a line with wingers Sven Andrighetto and Mikko Rantanen, used a back-hand saucer pass to set up Nail Yakupov’s big one-time slap shot that broke a 1-1 tie against the Bruins. And then on the power play, MacKinnon delivered the pass that immediately resulted in Andrighetto’s goal to make it 3-1. “The pass he makes to Yakupov broke the game open for us,” Bednar said. “I’m really happy with what he’s doing.” Related ArticlesOctober 12, 2017 Adam Foote joins Denver NHL player agency KO Sports Inc. October 11, 2017 Avalanche hang on to beat Bruins in home opener at Pepsi Center October 11, 2017 Nail Yakupov glad to be in Colorado with Avalanche October 10, 2017 Colorado Avalanche announce new AHL affiliate in Colorado Eagles October 9, 2017 Semyon Varlamov blanks Boston, Avalanche erase special team woes in road win MacKinnon, 22, played in all 82 games last season, but he produced just 16 goals. In four preseason games, he led Colorado with four goals. “I think the goals will come. I’ve had some good chances,” MacKinnon said Thursday. “I’ll start to get the bounces. Everyone else is getting those bounces right now and I’m just happy to be part of it. The game feels good. It’s all about the team winning and if the assists are going to get the job done, then I’m happy with that. At the end of the day, wins take care of everything.” Colorado took a 4-1 lead against Boston, which rallied to come within 4-3 in the final eight minutes of Wednesday’s game. MacKinnon said the Bruins’ comeback was a great test for the Avs. “Last year, we probably would have caved and blew the lead,” he said. “This year, even with the young group, there was no panic and we started dominating again. So that was nice. That’s a big step for us from where we were last year.” ANAHEIM AT COLORADO, 7 p.m. Friday, ALT, 950 AM Spotlight on: Francois Beauchemin. The veteran Ducks defenseman was bought out by the Avalanche in June and signed a one-year, $1 million free agent contract with the team he won the Stanley Cup with in 2007. Beauchemin, 37, will collect $1.5 million from Colorado this season and in 2018-19 under the buyout agreement, and his entire $4.5 million cap hit for this season counts as dead money against the Avs’ salary cap. Buying out Beauchemin didn’t appear to make sense at the time and his play with the Ducks is proving why. He is a serviceable blue-line leader who can mentor young defensemen in his final years in the league. Beauchemin has played in all four games for Anaheim and is averaging 18 minutes, 12 seconds in ice time. He is playing with Brandon Montour on the second pairing while the Ducks await the return of two of their best D-men. NOTEBOOK Ducks: They opened the season 2-1-1 in a four-game homestand and are coming off a 3-2 win Wednesday against the New York Islanders. … Coach Randy Carlyle earned his 412th career win Wednesday to come within one of matching Hall-of-Famer Jack Adams for 32nd-most all-time. … Defensemen Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm remain on the injured list and have yet to play. … Anaheim will play six of their first seven games at home; this is a single-game trip. Avalanche: Rookie forward Tyson Jost didn’t practice Thursday and is listed as questionable Friday. He injured his left knee in a collision against the boards Wednesday but returned to the game and scored an empty-net goal. However, coach Jared Bednar isn’t sure Jost will be available against the Ducks. … Jonathan Bernier will start in goal as Colorado prepares for its first consecutive-night stretch. The Avs visit the Dallas Stars on Saturday, and Semyon Varlamov will man the pipes in that game. … Rookie Alex Kerfoot admitted that his first career NHL goal Wednesday was scored off his leg, from Tyson Barrie’s shot from the point. Kerfoot is the fifth active player from Harvard playing in the NHL. [...]
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Avalanche hang on to beat Bruins in home opener at Pepsi Center
As far as home openers go, the Avalanche produced straight-As for all but eight minutes Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center. Against the Bs — the Boston Bruins — Colorado excelled in every area for the first two periods in its first opportunity to re-ignite Mile High enthusiasm for the game after the last-place disaster that was 2016-17. Boxscore: Colorado 6, Boston 3 In holding on after Boston’s late two-goal rally, the Avs (3-1) received multiple-point nights from forwards Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon, Nail Yakupov, Gabe Landeskog and Sven Andrighetto and never trailed in a 6-3 victory — their second in three days over Boston (1-2). A sellout crowd of 18,011 witnessed rookie Alex Kerfoot, Yakupov, Andrighetto and Duchene get the goals for in taking a 4-1 lead and goalie Semyon Varlamov, who only faced nine shots through two periods, improve to 3-0 despite allowing third-period goals at 11:30 and 12:57. Andrighetto and Tyson Jost scored empty-net goals to put it away for the Avs, who are 3-1 for the second consecutive season. “Early last year — against Tampa Bay in Tampa Bay — we won (to improve to 3-1),” Duchene said. “Last year we lost that fifth game, so this year we want to win it. Hopefully we’ll learn from that.” Wednesday’s event featured pregame opening-night player introductions after a moment of silence for Las Vegas shooting victims. And then Colorado went to work. Related Articles Nail Yakupov glad to be in Colorado with Avalanche Colorado Avalanche announce new AHL affiliate in Colorado Eagles Semyon Varlamov blanks Boston, Avalanche erase special team woes in road win Matt Duchene responds to Peter Forsberg’s “bench and trade” interview Gametracker: Live updates from Avalanche vs. Bruins “This is a new group and we want to show our best in front of the home town,” Avs coach Bednar said after the morning skate. Mission accomplished. The Avs took a 1-0 lead before dominating the second period and taking a 4-1 advantage into the third. Yakupov, Andrighetto (power play) and Duchene scored at 1:00, 12:37 and 15:43 of the second to turn the crowd into a frenzy. Colorado outshot Boston 15-5 in the second period and 26-9 at that point. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was replaced after 40 minutes. Jost, 19, escaped serious injury from a sideways crash into the boards in the second period. He was cross-checked by Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid, who was penalized. Jost returned late in the period. “Scary moment in game. Probably one of scariest moments of my hockey career, just cause it was such a weird angle I went in,” Jost said. “Lucky it was nothing serious. I came back and was fine, and got that empty-netter. It’s all positive.” [...]
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Colorado Avalanche announce new AHL affiliate in Colorado Eagles
The Colorado Avalanche will have a new American Hockey League affiliate in 2018-19 and a team that’s closer to home. Related ArticlesSeptember 30, 2017 Duncan Siemens clears waivers, examines situation with Avalanche September 29, 2017 Avalanche-Eagles AHL partnership to be formally announced Monday Colorado officials announced Tuesday that the Colorado Eagles will take over for the San Antonio Rampage as the Avs’ AHL affiliate. The AHL Board of Governors approved league expansion in July, with the Eagles set to come on board. The Eagles are located in Loveland — about 60 miles north of Denver — and will spend one final season as Colorado’s ECHL affiliate. The Eagles started play in 2003, winning the Central Hockey League championship in 2004-05 and again in ’06-07. Last season, they captured the Kelly Cup as ECHL champions. GM Joe Sakic says Avalanche fans can now see top prospects “developing in an outstanding environment just up the road.” BOSTON AT COLORADO, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, ALT, 950 AM Brian Babineau, NHLI via Getty ImagesDanton Heinen of the Boston Bruins skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the TD Garden on Dec. 10, 2016 in Boston. Spotlight on Danton Heinen The Bruins’ rookie forward was recalled from the American Hockey League’s Providence Bruins on Tuesday and traveled with the team to Denver. He likely will play his ninth career NHL game Wednesday at the Pepsi Center in the Avalanche’s home opener. Heinen, 22, led the University of Denver in scoring as a sophomore in 2015-16, and then signed with Boston. He began last season with Boston but played just eight games. Heinen led Providence with 18 points (nine goals) in 17 Calder Cup playoff games, but he didn’t make Boston’s 23-man lineup to begin the season last week. NOTEBOOK Bruins: Standout forward Patrice Bergeron (lower body) didn’t practice with the team Tuesday and won’t play Wednesday, but is likely to return to the lineup this weekend at Arizona or Las Vegas. … Veteran forward Ryan White, 29, was signed to a tryout contract Tuesday and traveled with the team to Denver. White split last season between Arizona and Minnesota, producing 16 points (nine goals) in 65 games. … Tuukka Rask is expected to start in goal. … The Bruins begin a three-game western road trip at the Pepsi Center, where they blanked the Avalanche 2-0 last season. Avalanche: The team had Tuesday off after returning to Denver on Monday night from Boston, where it beat the Bruins 4-0 in a Columbus Day matinee. Colorado finished the season-opening trip 2-1. … The Avs begin a stretch where they’ll play three games in four nights. They host the Anaheim Ducks on Friday before visiting the Dallas Stars on Saturday. … Wednesday marks the earliest in club history the Ave will conclude a season series against an opponent. [...]
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Vegas Golden Knights have emotional, inspired home debut 9 days after mass shooting
LAS VEGAS — One by one under the spotlights, the Vegas Golden Knights skated up to take their place behind a first responder to the shooting massacre. The arena then illuminated the victims’ names in gold on the ice during 58 seconds of silence. Hockey seemed distant and unimportant to the players on the NHL’s newest team in recent days, but the Golden Knights knew they had to play Tuesday night — for their city, for their fans and for the fallen. And their debut on the Strip was a poignant smash. James Neal scored twice during a thrilling four-goal first period, and the Golden Knights remained unbeaten three games into their inaugural season with a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes in their home opener. “There was so much emotion, but we tried to stay focused on hockey, even though it was bigger than hockey,” Neal said. “This is our town. We’re making it our home, and we want it to be a hockey town.” Tomas Nosek scored the first home goal in franchise history just 2:31 into the first period. Deryk Engelland added his first goal for his adopted hometown’s new team moments later in a stirring performance by the player selected by his teammates to give a pregame speech to the crowd. “It was probably one of the more emotional moments of my life,” Engelland said. “I probably don’t plan on scoring in too many games, but to get that one was pretty special.” Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves for the Golden Knights, who became the first team in NHL history to begin their debut season with three straight wins. Just nine days after the massacre occurred less than a mile from T-Mobile Arena, the Golden Knights reverently honored the victims and heroes before the long-awaited home debut of the city’s first major professional sports franchise. The Knights held a pregame ceremony during which the names of the shooting victims were projected in gold onto the ice during 58 seconds of silence. Engelland spoke eloquently to the fans, vowing that the Golden Knights “will do everything we can to help you and our city heal. We are Vegas Strong.” Related ArticlesOctober 10, 2017 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins visit Trump at White House October 9, 2017 Dahlberg: Las Vegas shooting changes tone of Golden Knights’ first-ever home game October 8, 2017 Peter Forsberg on Matt Duchene: “Put him on the bench and trade him” October 4, 2017 Flames sign 45-year-old Jaromir Jagr to 1-year deal October 4, 2017 Avalanche rookie J.T. Compher gets a different look at Madison Square Garden After that emotional outpouring, the Golden Knights charged into their home opener with some inspired hockey. “We talked about tonight being the most important game we’ll ever play,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. “A lot of guys, we’re playing for our city. We’re playing for the tragedy that happened, for all the people that were here tonight and affected by the tragedy. I thought our guys did a hell of a job. They came out and they focused on the game. They focused from the start.” Nosek and Engelland connected in the opening minutes before Neal scored back-to-back goals in 4:27, giving him five goals in three games — and all three game-winning goals in team history. Vegas led 4-0 in less than 11 minutes, well on its way to a cathartic victory. Oscar Lindberg scored in the second period for the Golden Knights, who opened their inaugural season with back-to-back road victories before returning home. Tobias Rieder and Kevin Connauton scored for the Coyotes, who remained winless after losing back-to-back games to the expansion Golden Knights in a four-day stretch. “That’s the one thing that disappointed me, that the effort by five or six guys at some points in the game wasn’t there,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. “Vegas deserved to win the game. It was a great program before the game. The organization did a nice job.” The Golden Knights’ home opener was a bit more somber than the franchise originally planned, although the crowd was still whipped into a frenzy by the team’s excellent play. T-Mobile Arena had no ads on the boards around the ice for the opener. Instead, the all-white boards simply displayed the same message: “Vegas Strong.” The crowd had scarcely quieted from the pregame festivities when Nosek, the Czech wing who spent the past two seasons with Detroit, fired a shot through Antti Raanta for a surprising goal. Engelland, the veteran defenseman who has lived in Las Vegas since playing here for a minor league team several years ago, then took a pass from Brendan Leipsic and fired it through traffic. Neal, who scored the first goal in franchise history, made it 3-0 just 6:15 into t [...]
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Dahlberg: Las Vegas shooting changes tone of Golden Knights’ first-ever home game
LAS VEGAS — It was supposed to be a celebration of all the things this city is about, a night many thought would never come. But the carnage is too fresh, the horror still too real. The city’s first major professional sports team opens at home Tuesday night on the Las Vegas Strip, a short walk from where a gunman carried out an unthinkable attack that left 58 people dead. Fans are expected to pack the T-Mobile Arena to watch the Vegas Golden Knights against the Arizona Coyotes in a debut more than three years in the making. Hockey will still be played. But the celebration will have to wait. “This terrible event has kind of put a damper on opening night,” Knights owner Bill Foley said. “We’re going to be very respectful and pay tribute to the first responders and victims. That’s kind of our job. We’re the Las Vegas team and this is going to be the first event following the massacre.” Las Vegas remains a somber place, even as tourists continue the never-ending party on the Strip. Hospitals are still caring for victims, some still in critical condition, and the cleanup at the site of the massacre continues. A hockey game isn’t going to suddenly make things better. But there will be prayers for those killed and wounded, and praise for those who went in to try and save them. Surely a lot of tears, too, because emotions are still very raw. Then there will be hockey on the highest level, as Las Vegas joins the ranks of cities with major sports franchises for the first time. “We can do the celebratory activity in our second game on Friday,” Foley said. “We just deferred all of that and thought we should just focus on helping the victims any way we can.” Foley, who earned a fortune in the title insurance business, paid a $500 million expansion fee to the NHL to get the franchise for his newly adopted city. In a place where odds matter, he defied them to land a team and get a piece of the privately funded arena on the Strip that opened just last year. Some 13,500 people bought season tickets. Hockey fans from around the country are expected to visit throughout the season to watch their favorite teams and enjoy a few of their favorite activities in this adult playground. Two games into the season, the Golden Knights are a surprising 2-0. They begin play at home under less-than-ideal conditions, eager to do their part to provide some entertainment to a city still in mourning. “My prayers go to everyone affected,” said James Neal, who scored the winning goal in both Golden Knights wins. “We talked about giving people a smile and something to be happy about and we’re doing everything we can to help uplift this city and this community.” Neal went to the Route 91 Harvest festival concert Friday night and planned to go again the night of the shooting until he got a text saying that he had a morning skate the next day. He had friends who were there, so the shooting is very real to him. Neal was among the players who went to visit first responders. He and teammates who are still trying to find their way around the city also went to the victim’s assistance center to try to offer some comfort to victims and their families. Small things, yes. But this is a team that from Day 1 has had a laser focus on integrating itself with the local community. Related ArticlesOctober 8, 2017 Peter Forsberg on Matt Duchene: “Put him on the bench and trade him” October 4, 2017 Flames sign 45-year-old Jaromir Jagr to 1-year deal October 4, 2017 Avalanche rookie J.T. Compher gets a different look at Madison Square Garden October 3, 2017 Avalanche picks up defensemen from Dallas, cuts roster to 23 September 29, 2017 Avalanche places first-round draft pick Duncan Siemens on waivers “It was pretty tough on them, a lot of people were still looking for loved ones and friends,” Foley said about the visits. “But hockey players are all great guys and they all really wanted to participate.” Eventually, of course, the shock and horror will fade and hockey will just be hockey again. Thanks to a generous expansion draft, the Golden Knights are expected to be one of the better expansion teams in their first year, though any thoughts of a Stanley Cup being paraded on the Las Vegas Strip are a bit premature. First, they must get through an opening night Tuesday unlike any other. “It’s going to be tough,” Foley said. “But we’re going to do a good job.” [...]
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Peter Forsberg on Matt Duchene: “Put him on the bench and trade him”
BOSTON — During a Swedish broadcast of the Avalanche-New Jersey Devils game Saturday in Newark, N.J., former Avs center and Hockey Hall of Famer Peter Forsberg was a guest in-studio analyst and said Colorado should “bench and trade” disgruntled center Matt Duchene. Duchene, who is visibly unhappy to be with the team but hasn’t publicly demanded a trade, reported to training camp Sept. 14 saying he was only doing so to honor his contract, teammates and fans. On Sept. 18 he was vague about how he felt beginning the season with the Avs and last week he said he would only answer questions about the upcoming game. Duchene’s only in-depth interview since he reported was on the Las Vegas shooting. “Doubtful that he should be allowed to play (with Colorado),” Forsberg, whose words were translated by Expressen reporter Robin Lindgren, said in the Swedish broadcast. “Put him in the stands. If I were playing with a player that I know doesn’t even want to be in the team, it’s not like he is going to throw himself on the ice and block shots with his head. It is mostly difficult to have a player like that in the team, although he is skillful and is doing his best. I would rather play with someone that wants to be there. I would put him on the bench and trade him.” Forsberg also said a situation like Duchene and the Avalanche “takes energy from the rest of the team. I would trade him.” The Avs (1-1) conclude a three-game, season-opening road trip Monday afternoon in Boston. Duchene had a goal and an assist in Colorado’s 4-2 win Thursday at the New York Rangers but was pointless in Saturday’s 4-1 loss at New Jersey. [...]
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Avalanche hasn’t allowed an even-strength goal, but special teams have been substandard
Through two games, the Avalanche hasn’t allowed an even-strength goal. Plan the parade. Order the rings. But hockey isn’t always played at even strength, and Colorado’s special teams have been substandard — to put it lightly. Through two games, the Avalanche has provided proof that this team won’t be as boring as the one that finished with a club-record-low 48 points last season. The Avs’ youth movement, as expected, has helped create fast-paced, end-to-end hockey. The track meets are fun to watch — but dangerous if you can’t compete in special teams. Colorado’s six goals against are made up of five opponent power-play goals and one short-handed tally. The Avs rank last in the 31-team NHL in penalty killing (50 percent) and are tied for 24th in power play (9.1 percent). “We’re not clearing the puck as we’re supposed to, and as we should,” captain Gabe Landeskog said of the Avs’ troubling penalty killing. “There’s four of you, five of them — you got to clear the puck hard. And we keep turning things over, get hemmed in, and all of a sudden we’re tired and they take advantage of that. PK is definitely something we need to clean up.” Unlike last season, Colorado is creating as many scoring chances as it’s allowing. The Avs generated 26 shots Thursday in their 4-2, season-opening victory over the Rangers in New York, then had 39 shots Saturday in their 4-1 loss at New Jersey. Related ArticlesOctober 8, 2017 Peter Forsberg on Matt Duchene: “Put him on the bench and trade him” October 7, 2017 Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson blasted for low hit October 7, 2017 Chambers: Will Butcher and Alex Kerfoot made educated moves October 7, 2017 Avalanche gives up three power-play goals in loss at New Jersey October 6, 2017 Nikita Zadorov will return to Avalanche lineup against Devils But in addition to the penalty killing, Avs coach Jared Bednar said his players aren’t competing hard enough in key areas. “We had some breakdowns again,” Bednar said of Saturday’s game. “I think it’s about puck management, just making soft plays — not competitive enough on the puck. That’s the area we need to clean up. We’re a hardworking team right now, but we’re not competitive on the point of the puck and we certainly have to clean that up.” Bednar doesn’t foresee changes to his lineup Monday afternoon in the three-game trip finale against the Bruins in Boston. But he surely wants to see more from the Nathan MacKinnon-centered line. MacKinnon and wingers Mikko Rantanen and Sven Andrighetto are pointless as a line, though MacKinnon assisted on Rantanen’s power-play goal against the Rangers. “That line was quiet,” Bednar said of the line after Saturday’s game. “The whole line, for me, too light, too quiet. It’s got to get more competitive.” COLORADO AT BOSTON When: 11 a.m. Monday TV, Radio: ALT, 950 AM Jim Rogash, Getty ImagesMika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers presses as Brandon Carlo #25 of the Boston Bruins defends in the Bruins zone in the second period at TD Garden on November 5, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. Spotlight on: Brandon Carlo. The Bruins’ second-year defenseman from Colorado Springs played in all 82 games as a rookie but suffered a concussion in the regular-season finale and missed Boston’s first-round playoff series against Ottawa. But Carlo, 20, is back and again playing in the Bruins’ top pairing with Zdeno Chara. Carlo logged 20:38 of ice time in Thursday’s season opener and had an assist and was plus-1. He is already considered a franchise defenseman. NOTEBOOK: Avalanche: Semyon Varlamov will return in goal after backing up Jonathan Bernier in Saturday’s 4-1 loss at New Jersey. Varlamov made 37 saves in Colorado’s 4-2 win Thursday at the New York Rangers. … The Avs practiced at Boston University on Sunday, as guests of former assistant coach David Quinn, the Terriers’ head coach. … Avs forwards Colin Wilson and Matt Nieto played at BU. … The Avs return home Monday night and will host the Bruins Wednesday in their home-opener. The home-and-home set marks the earliest Colorado completes a season series against an opponent. Bruins: The Bruins held a 4-1 lead over Nashville en route to their 4-3 win. Boston improved to 139-1-3 since the start of the 2011-12 season when take a three-goal lead. … The Bruins’ sellout streak (regular season and playoffs) at TD Garden grew to 339 against Nashville. The streak began on Dec. 5, 2009 against Ottawa. … Bruins forward David Backes is expected to be sidelined most of October due to diverticulitis, an inflammation of the dige [...]
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Chambers: Will Butcher and Alex Kerfoot made educated moves
NEWARK, N.J. — This goes beyond peculiar. It’s almost like Will Butcher and Alex Kerfoot planned the big switch. Butcher was drafted by the Avalanche, but signed his NHL entry-level contract with New Jersey. Kerfoot was drafted by New Jersey, but signed with the Avalanche. Butcher made his NHL debut Saturday against the Avalanche, and Kerfoot played his second career NHL game Saturday against New Jersey. The two former NCAA senior captains — Butcher for the University of Denver, Kerfoot for Harvard — both ditched the teams that drafted them because they could. In a rule that likely will be eliminated in the next collective bargaining agreement, a teenager who gets drafted and then plays four years of NCAA hockey can become an unrestricted free agent in the months after he graduates — exactly Aug. 16 of that year. Kertoot shopped his opportunities and signed with the Avs on Aug. 23, four days before Butcher agreed to terms with New Jersey. The two smart guys with bachelor degrees in their pockets played the system to their benefit. A year earlier, Harvard forward Jimmy Vesey went the same route. He stiff-armed the team that drafted him, the Nashville Predators, and signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers. Butcher followed Vesey as winner of the Hobey Baker Award, the Heisman Trophy of college hockey. Needless to say, Butcher and Kerfoot — the latter of whom played three years with Vesey — used the precedence Vesey helped establish. “There’s not that many guys who have gone through that process,” Kerfoot said from the Prudential Center. “I can’t speak for what (Butcher) did. But I was always wanting to go to college for four years. One of the reasons why you choose a school like Harvard is to get a degree. You know what you’re getting into when you go to Harvard. And I was extremely happy with the four years there. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. It prepared me well off the ice for what’s to come, as well as on the ice to play at the next level.” Butcher and Kerfoot met at the NCAA Frozen Four in April during promotional activities with team captains. DU went on to win the national championship, defeating Minnesota-Duluth, which eliminated Harvard in the semifinals, at the United Center in Chicago. “It was unique, obviously, that (Butcher) was drafted by Colorado and went to New Jersey. And I was drafted by New Jersey and went to Colorado. But he was a more high-profile prospect than I was. I don’t know him that well but he had a great year last year and I expect he’ll have a good rookie season here.” Related ArticlesOctober 7, 2017 Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson blasted for low hit October 7, 2017 Avalanche gives up three power-play goals in loss at New Jersey October 6, 2017 Nikita Zadorov will return to Avalanche lineup against Devils October 5, 2017 Tyson Barrie, Avalanche beat New York Rangers in season opener at Madison Square Garden October 5, 2017 Gametracker: Live updates from Avalanche at Rangers I don’t believe the NCAA four-year, free-agent rule is good for college hockey or the NHL. It should be eliminated. It gives NHL teams incentive to discourage college-bound players from going that route, and provides the power to persuade a draft pick to turn pro before his senior year, regardless if he is ready. Swiss mix. Devils rookie center Nico Hischier, the No. 1 selection in the 2017 draft, became the ninth active NHL player from Switzerland on Saturday. The Avs’ Sven Andrighetto is among the other eight. A Swiss television crew covered Hischier’s NHL debut at the Prudential Center and interviewed Andrighetto. “I met him this summer,” Andrighetto said of Hischier, 18. “He’s very down to earth, great kid, really good hockey player, obviously. It’s definitely special to represent our country, but at the end of the day we’re playing for our team. And we’re doing all we can to help our team win, because that’s why we’re here.” David Pastrnak NHL Sunday Spotlight When: The Avalanche has a home-and-home set with the Bruins, beginning Monday in a Columbus Day matinée game in Boston. The teams play Wednesday night in Denver, the Avs’ home-opener that marks the earliest in franchise history they complete a season series against an opponent. What’s up: Pastrnak, 21, was the 25th selection in the 2014 draft but leads that class in career goal-scoring with 60. He is second in career points (64) in the ’14 class behind Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl (139), who was picked No. 3 overall. Background: Following his 34-goal, 70-point season in 2016-17, Pastrnak became a restricted free agent July 1. He didn’t agree to a contract with t [...]
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Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson blasted for low hit
NEWARK, N.J. — Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson took a minor penalty for kneeing late in the second period Saturday, and New Jersey capitalized with their third power-play goal to take a 3-1 lead at the Prudential Center. Johnson was booed by fans every time he touched the puck the rest of the game, but afterward he said his dangerous collision with Devils forward Kyle Palmieri was unintentional. Johnson and Palmieri — who did not play in the third period because of a lower-body injury — were teammates at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey for Team USA. “Just unfortunate. I know ‘Palms’ from playing in the World Cup. I hope he’s OK, first and foremost,” Johnson said. “I just went to hit him, never changed my course. I haven’t seen the reply but I didn’t feel like I stuck my knee out … I led with my shoulder and I don’t know if he tried to jump around or what have you. But I hope he’s OK. I didn’t mean to hurt him.” Related ArticlesOctober 7, 2017 Chambers: Will Butcher and Alex Kerfoot made educated moves October 7, 2017 Avalanche gives up three power-play goals in loss at New Jersey October 6, 2017 Nikita Zadorov will return to Avalanche lineup against Devils October 5, 2017 Tyson Barrie, Avalanche beat New York Rangers in season opener at Madison Square Garden October 5, 2017 Gametracker: Live updates from Avalanche at Rangers Johnson might face supplemental discipline for his hit on Palmieri. Lineup changes. The Avalanche made three changes to its lineup from opening night, plus goalie Jonathan Bernier started in net in place of Semyon Varlamov. Up front, Matt Nieto was replaced by Carl Soderberg on the fourth line. On the back end, defenseman Nikita Zadorov and Anton Lindholm replaced Andrei Mironov and Mark Barberio. Johnson and defenseman Tyson Barrie were again Colorado’s top ice-time leaders, at 23:50 and 23:54, respectfully. Footnotes. The Avs were scheduled to fly to Boston after the game. They will practice Sunday at Boston University and face the Bruins on Monday afternoon in a Columbus Day game at TD Garden. … The Devils began their 35th anniversary season in the Garden State, since the franchise departed Denver in 1982 and changed their name from the Colorado Rockies. … The Devils unveiled what they say is the largest big-screen/scoreboard in the world, at 88,401 pounds, 9,584.9 square-feet and nearly four stories tall. … Former Devils and Avalanche Stanley Cup-winning forward Claude Lemieux attended the game and was a guest on the New Jersey television broadcast. [...]
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Nikita Zadorov scratched from Avalanche season opener against New York Rangers
NEW YORK — Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov was originally pegged to play with Erik Johnson on the top pairing. But instead he won’t play at all Thursday in the season opener against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Zadorov, who will be a healthy scratch, missed a week of training camp after finally signing his two-year contract extension Sept. 15, a day after veterans reported. The Russian was delayed because of immigration papers and didn’t join the team until Sept. 22. But at that time, coach Jared Bednar said he expected Zadorov and Johnson to make up Colorado’s top pairing. Following the Avs’ morning skate at MSG Thursday, Bednar said this about scratching Zadorov, 22: “It’s just based on what we’ve seen through training camp. He came in a little late and has some catching up to do, and we’ve liked what some of those other guys have done. So that’s the lineup we decided on.” That lineup could be the worst in the league from a defensive standpoint. Mark Barberio, claimed off waivers from Montreal last season, will partner with Johnson. And Patrik Nemeth, who was claimed off waivers Tuesday from Dallas, will play with Tyson Barrie on the second pairing. The third twosome features Chris Bigras, 22, who has played in just 31 NHL games, and rookie Andrei Mironov, 23, a Russian who has never played in North America. “You know our D-corp is young,” Bednar said when asked if has concerns regarding inexperience. “So we’re going to have young guys in every night. Is it a concern? I think the guys are going to prove they can get the job done.” #Avs to have $9.5M worth of healthy scratches 2night at NYR in F Carl Soderberg ($4.75M), F Joe Colborne ($2.5M) & D Nikita Zadorov ($2.15) — Mike Chambers (@MikeChambers) October 5, 2017 The Avs don’t make healthy scratches available to the media. Matt Duchene from MSG #Avs pic.twitter.com/ryKg4mKdUK — Mike Chambers (@MikeChambers) October 5, 2017 Harvard linemates. Second-year Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey played three years at Harvard on a line with Avalanche rookie Alex Kerfoot, who will make his NHL debut at MSG. Vesey was the Crimson’s captain in 2015-16 and Kerfoot wore the “C” last season. Related ArticlesOctober 6, 2017 Nikita Zadorov will return to Avalanche lineup against Devils October 5, 2017 Tyson Barrie, Avalanche beat New York Rangers in season opener at Madison Square Garden October 5, 2017 Gametracker: Live updates from Avalanche at Rangers October 5, 2017 Colorado Avalanche playing 12 first-round draft picks, but can they produce turnaround season? October 4, 2017 Avalanche rookie J.T. Compher gets a different look at Madison Square Garden Vesey and Kerfoot had dinner in Manhattan on Wednesday night. “It’s obviously cool,” Kerfoot said of playing against Vesey. “And I can’t think of a better place to play my first game than at Madison Square Garden. I went to dinner with (Vesey) last night and tried to catch up a little bit. He had a great year last year, established himself now. I’m trying to do the same.” Following the Rangers’ morning skate at MSG, Vesey said this about Kerfoot: “It will be a little different to play against him tonight. But I’m really happy for him. and it’s always good to have Harvard alumni in the NHL.” Footnotes. Along with Zadorov, forwards Carl Soderberg and Joe Colborne will be the other Avalanche scratches. Colborne cleared waivers Thursday morning but didn’t make the trip with the team. … Former Avalanche defenseman Nick Holden will be a healthy scratch for the Rangers. Former Avs forward Paul Carey, however, will play on New York’s fourth line. [...]
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Nikita Zadorov will return to Avalanche lineup against Devils
NEWARK, N.J. — Reporting a week late to Avalanche training camp likely led to the opening-night scratch of defenseman Nikita Zadorov, who watched in street clothes as Colorado beat the New York Rangers 4-2 on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. But Zadorov, who is considered one of Colorado’s best blue-liners, will skate out of the doghouse Saturday and play against the New Jersey Devils in their season-opener at the Prudential Center. “I think it’s important to put him in tomorrow because I think he can help us,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said after Friday’s practice at the Devils’ arena. “I think it was important to keep him last night because we have to make sure that everyone is on the same page coming into this thing.” This “thing” starts with 100 percent commitment to training and diet for a team that finished with a league-low 48 points last season, and Zadorov wasn’t in great physical shape when he reported Sept. 22. Zadorov went unsigned until Sept. 15, a day after veterans reported, and the 6-foot-5 Russian was held up with immigration issues until Sept. 21. Zadorov, 22, had nearly 11 days to prepare for Thursday’s opener, but his benching could have been a punishment for reporting late and out of shape. “I don’t know. I don’t know what it is,” Zadorov said when asked if he was being punished. “No comments.” He added: “It’s not fun for any player when you’re scratched. But I’m playing tomorrow so (I’m) forgetting about it. … I was really happy the boys got to win yesterday. I was cheering. I did everything I could to help my team. I’m just going to come tomorrow and play my best game and get a win.” Bednar wasn’t sure who Zadorov will replace in the lineup. The coach wants to study more film on the big win against the Rangers, but he has another defenseman to consider in rookie Anton Lindholm, who was recalled from San Antonio of the American Hockey League late Thursday night. Lindholm, 22, was among the Avs’ final cuts Tuesday. He took a 7 a.m. direct flight from San Antonio to New Jersey on Friday and practiced with the team. “I wasn’t there long enough to unpack the bags, so it all happened quickly,” Lindholm said of his brief stay in San Antonio. Related ArticlesOctober 5, 2017 Tyson Barrie, Avalanche beat New York Rangers in season opener at Madison Square Garden October 5, 2017 Gametracker: Live updates from Avalanche at Rangers October 5, 2017 Nikita Zadorov scratched from Avalanche season opener against New York Rangers October 5, 2017 Colorado Avalanche playing 12 first-round draft picks, but can they produce turnaround season? October 4, 2017 Avalanche rookie J.T. Compher gets a different look at Madison Square Garden Lindholm was a surprise cut Tuesday because he had been partnered in the preseason with Erik Johnson, who logged nearly 26 minutes of ice time Thursday. Johnson played so much partly because rookie Andrei Mironov struggled at times in his NHL debut. The Avs are carrying 13 forwards and eight defensemen. Hockey teams usually don’t change the lineup after a big win, but Bednar isn’t satisfied. He will put goalie Semyon Varlamov in a backup role Saturday to give Jonathan Bernier his first career start with his new team. Varlamov was the No. 1 star Thursday with 37 saves; he did not allow a goal at even-strength. “Even though we won, we recognize that we were a little bit too opportunistic and relied on our goalie too much,” Bednar said. “We did have good juice and enthusiasm in the room so we want to make sure that continues.” COLORADO AT NEW JERSEY, Noon Saturday, ALT, 950 AM Spotlight on: Will Butcher. The Devils’ rookie defenseman, a 2013 Avalanche draft pick who chose not to sign with Colorado and became a free agent after a four-year career at the University of Denver, is tentatively scheduled to make his NHL debut against the Avs. New Jersey coach John Hynes didn’t reveal his opening-day lineup Friday, but Butcher — the 2017 Hobey Baker Award winner — was in a top-six role and power-play specialist at practice. “You can see he’s more and more comfortable with the pace, with his decision making,” Hynes told the Star-Ledger. “That’s a big adjustment for an offensive player. We feel he’s learned about dealing with less time and space and making decisions.” NOTEBOOK Avalanche — Jonathan Bernier will start in goal. Semyon Varlamov, who made 37 saves in leading Colorado to a 4-2 victory Thursday at the New York Rangers, will start Monday at Boston in the finale of the three-game road trip. … There were no changes to the forward lines at practice [...]
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