The Avalanche rookie training camp started over the weekend, but you wouldn't really know much else if you only followed the big Denver newspapers. Other than a brief announcement that camp was starting (if that), you wouldn't know anything at all.
The Denver Post had third-stringer Mike Chambers toss up a quick announcement yesterday (a day late) but it contained nothing more than scheduling information. Adrian Dater's blog had little more than a blurb along the same lines. The Rocky Mountain News couldn't even be bothered to do that, and aside from a scheduling announcement last week, they have nothing at all about camp.
You'd think local Avalanche fans might be interested in the young faces that might someday fill the team's roster spots over the coming years. The Avalanche web site has posted recaps of the scrimmages, but outside of who scored a goal and how many saves the goalies have made, you won't learn much from those.
You'd have no idea which players were looking good, which ones were looking rough, which goalies had the best positioning, or anything else. Want to know who the fastest skater is? Sorry, can't tell you. Curious as to who has the best puck-handling skills? Uh, not sure. Is TJ Galiardi as good as they say he is? Nobody knows. What about Chris Stewart? Is he ready for the big time yet? No way to know.
Even the usually busy HFBoards are pretty quiet, with little to no discussion of the rookie camp to be found. The only really solid source of information at all is over at Jori's super blog Colorado Avalanche Prospects. There you can actually read first-hand impressions of the players in action, not just "Jack Combs scored a goal at 6:32 in the first period." For example:
TJ Hensick may not make the Avs due to a numbers game (cue in the moaning and groaning about Tyler Arnason), but he is clearly the best player in camp. While he can probably afford to take it easy during this four day camp, he has busted his butt on every play. He's also a magician when it comes to the shoot-out.
That's the kind of information the paid reporters should be giving us, but instead we all have to rely on a lone, unpaid blogger who is giving up her own time (albeit quite willingly) to give us a few nuggets of info about the future of our favorite team.
Also trying to fill the information gap is MHH member texacogirl, who offered this recap of the first day's scrimmage:
I would be remiss if I didn't mention Rob Drummond's goal. There was a skirmish close to team grey's blue line. Next thing you know, Drummond is up ice with the rest of the players trailing him like a pack of wolves. Using his speed, Drummond flew into team black's zone and puck the puck home top shelf. It was awesome and the crowd went wild (well as wild as 30 people or so can get).
So two generous local women, willing to trek out to the ice rink for no pay and no real thanks at all, have provided us information far and above the black hole of silence at the big Denver dailies. How well-served, exactly, are Colorado hockey fans? Is the declining interest in the Avalanche just a result of high ticket prices and a declining dominance on the ice, or does the apparent disinterest of the dead trees contribute to that?
And how many rhetorical questions can I tack on to this post?
Addendum: Also a first-hand account of the training camp facility and the players in attendance over at the recently-launched AvsWatch.