Colorado Avalanche Prospects Weekly

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A look back at the news and events for Avs prospects for the week of November 1st through November 7th.  In this week’s edition, we look back at the Lake Erie Monsters, the early NCAA story, news in the CHL and a story on a former Avs prospect who rediscovered his passion for hockey.

First, let me apologize for my lack of updates the last few weeks.  Not to bring "real" life into this story, but there have been some changes to my work schedule and I’ve had to make adjustments elsewhere.  Enough of my boring life, on to the hockey!

The Lake Erie Monsters suffered a couple of home losses this week to Abbotsford and Toronto.  The Monsters are sitting with a 6-7 record after 13 games.  Tyler Weiman was in net for both games; stopping 56 of 60 shots.  The Monsters roster has been shuffled a bit due to injuries and call ups.  Darren Haydar has the early scoring lead with 10 points in 12 games. 

Brian Willsie and Chris Durno have been returned to the Monsters from their recent stint with the Colorado Avalanche.  The Monsters have also received the services of Tom Preissing.  He had an assist with the club in his first game, but isn’t expected to spend more than a week with the Monsters.  Brandon Yip is scheduled to return sometime in December.   Lake Erie will continue to gain depth as the Avs health improves.

In the NCAA, Mark Olver didn’t cool down after being named CCHA Offensive Player of the Week for last week.  Olver had two goals as Northern Michigan split a two game set with Ohio State this weekend.  He leads the Wildcats in scoring with 11 points in eight games.  Northern Michigan hopes to improve from their 2-5-1 start. 

Offense has been tough to come by for the 3-4-1 Gophers.  Not only did they lose their leading scorer Ryan Stoa to the pros, but they have also lost the services of Jay Barriball for the season.  Mike Carman has moved up to the first line as a center and LW, but has only recorded one point on the season.  Canucks 2009 first round pick Jordan Schroeder has yet to score a goal.  The Gophers goaltending, led by Alex Kangas and backup Kent Patterson, will need to keep Minnesota afloat.

In Boston, defending champion BU is off to a 2-4-0 start; perhaps not unexpected considering the graduations and early departures.  On top of those issues, they have lost one of their best forwards, Nick Bonino, to a shoulder injury.  In addition to missing some of the offensive output, sophomore goaltender, Kieran Millan, hasn’t been as sharp this season.  The Terriers cannot afford to dig a much deeper hole.

The 2009 Subway Super Series kicks off on November 16 and runs through November 26, 2009.  The event features "all-star" teams from the OHL, QMJHL, and the WHL facing off against a team of Russians.  The series is six games, with the Russians playing each CHL team twice.  The Avs will be well represented as Kesley Tessier will play for Team QMJHL, Cameron Gaunce for Team OHL, and Tyson Barrie and Stefan Elliott (pictured) for Team WHL.

On the ice, Stefan Elliott and Peter Delmas were recently honored with player of the week awards in their respective leagues.  Elliott has a chance of participating at the upcoming World Junior Championships in Saskatoon/Regina for Canada.  Elliott didn’t receive an invite to the summer camp, but has turned some heads with his performance this season.

Lastly, a story about a player who found his passion for hockey, after stepping away from the game.  In 2004, the Avs used their second round pick on Ontario native Victor Oreskovich.  Oreskovich was drafted out of the USHL, having spent the season with the Green Bay Gamblers.  In the fall of 2004, he moved up to the college ranks at Notre Dame.  Oreskovich struggled and during his sophomore season he left the team to join the Kitchener Rangers (OHL).  He produced 76 points in 81 games in his less than two seasons with the OHL club. 

Oreskovich would sign an entry-level contract with the Avs in the summer of 2007 and participated in training camp.  It wasn’t a surprise that he would begin his first professional season with the Lake Erie Monsters.  Yet, it was a bit surprising when Oreskovich made a decision to leave a contract and professional hockey behind.  After he was reassigned by the Avalanche, Oreskovich "retired" (when he failed to report and was suspended by the club) and returned to Notre Dame to presumably finish his degree.  He claimed he had lost enthusiasm for the game.

While at school, Oreskovich found himself missing the game and was fortunate to receive a second chance from Peter DeBoer, head coach of the Florida Panthers.  DeBoer happened to be his coach while he played for the Kitchener Rangers.  He gave the young man an opportunity to participate in the Florida Panthers training camp on a try-out this past September.  Oreskovich was able to earn a two-way contract and has since made his NHL debut.  As of this story, he has an assist in four games.

As an Avalanche fan, one has to wonder what could have been.

Until next week!

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