Ah yes, the first preseason games are around the corner. The Broncos are winning football games so the Avs are buried on page 12 of the sports section. Golftober is in full force for the Rockies and it's almost like things are ... back to normal around here. Now if only the Avs can get back to their winning ways. In case you missed it and took the Summer off here's what happened during your hockey hibernation.
May 2nd, 2008 the Avs ended their season in excruciating fashion by losing to their biggest rival by a final score of 8-2. In a poetic summary of the season to date Theodore was pulled for the third time in four games. Forsberg, Stastny, Smyth and Wolski all missed said final game with injuries. Wolski had five cracked ribs, Smyth a broken foot, Forsberg didn't have a groin pull but two torn groin muscles, Stastny had a torn MCL and as a bonus Laperriere and Hannan were playing with broken bones in their feet.
May 8th the Avs sign prospect TJ Galiardi. (Correction: Technically he signed on 4/30/2008. 5/8/2008 it finally leaked out. Leaving it here because one day this name may be significant and deserves notice).
May 9th the Avs drop the hammer on Quenneville. The entire media of Denver and elsewhere are dumbfounded. The Avalanche bloggers were a bit more critical despite the injuries and Q's intimidating mustache of doom.
June 12th. Jori at Colorado Avalanche Prospects uses her East coast sources to discover that Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet has broken the story that Per Ledin has signed with the Avalanche. With the time difference the official Avalanche finally announce the transaction on July 1st. Oh, and he might be crazy. Which is always good.
June 20th was also a day for deals to be done. The Avs traded Brad Richardson for the 61st pick in the second round. A pick they used to select Peter Delmas. Apparently the Avs scouts thought Delmas would go sooner and liked him enough to depart with Richardson. When reached for comment Richardson said, "You finally drop Q and NOW you trade me, NOW!?" For those of you keeping score. Scott Parker --> San Jose --> 5th round pick --> Brad Richardson --> LA Kings --> 2nd round pick --> Peter Delmas.
June 20th. After the draft Ted Hampson quietly stepped down as chief scout (a position he held only since 2006). Richard Pracey is now the director of amature scouting. Ted Hampson stayed on as a scout. This is probably the most important job in the NHL under the new CBA and worth remembering.
June 24th and the Sakic watch is officially getting long in the tooth. He let's it be known that he will not make up his mind prior to the free agency deadline of July 1st.
June 24th. The Avs establish an early free agency theme by announcing the signing of Scott Parker. This quote from the announcement absolutely killed me. You know it took Francois 20 minutes to come up with this.
"Scott Parker has been part of our team for many years," said Avalanche Executive Vice President & General Manager Francois Giguere.
Nice one FG.
June 29th. The Avs announce that they have signed JM Liles and Adam Foote to new deals just before the free agent frenzy. Well deserved. As a bonus, Francois Giguere's approval rating among teen age girls spikes to an all time high.
July 1st. It's Free Agent Frenzy day! No contracts have been announced for Sauer, Theo, Brunette nor Finger. For good reason as Brunette signed with the Wild. Sauer signs with Phoenix. Theo signs with Washington and despite tanking on a huge salary for years he goes to Washingon for basically the same money but on a three year deal rather than the Avs offer of two. Later he commented, ""This was my first choice," he added. "They [also] have the best player in the league." Yeah, thanks for nothing Theo. However, the talk of free agency isn't Hossa to Detroit or Campbell to Chicago but rather our very own Jeff Finger. Finger shocks the hockey world by signing with Toronto on a huge four year deal for 3.5 million a year. 98% of Toronto fans immediately say, "Who's Finger?" Pierre McGuire looks like he's about to have a litter of kittens he's so offended by the deal.
July 1st. The Avalanche make a few deals of their own at the end of the day. They sign Darcy Tucker and Andrew Raycroft. Both are depth moves and didn't do much damage against the cap. Avalanche fans wait for the other shoe to drop... it never does.
July 9th. Granato selects OHL head coach Dave Barr as the new assistant coach.
Sept 14. Camp starts and a new season is on us.
Now you're all caught up.