They have run the first Avalanche All Access program on Altitude for the season. I smell some changes in the ...tone?
While Kyle Keefe was his usual rainbow and unicorn self. McNabb and Hanes had a lot more... conservative. They were certainly positive but it seemed like they might have had the shackles lifted a bit. There was talk about the Avs facing 24 games in division with the toughest goal tending in the entire NHL. When asked what the biggest challenge for the new coach would be, the simple answer was "to win games".
A lot of people tend to think that McNabb is a just another talking suit that can only toe the company line. However, McNabb is actually the crown jewel of hockey knowledge in that broadcast crew and in the media as a whole in Denver. If they let him talk about hockey without selling just the positives I think he's really good. I've heard him talking hockey outside of the cameras and I've had other media tell me he knows more about the sport than anyone in town, they just have to take off the shackles.
In any case, McNabb made a couple of observations on the show that I thought were interesting. First, at game 42 last season the Avalanche were three games over .500 and 7th in the west. Despite their impressivey horrific season last year they fielded a competitive product through half the season. I've covered this myself but McNabb voiced it again; Last year pundits picked St. Louis to finish 15th and Vancouver 11th/12th. They finished 6th and 3rd in the conference. The Avs weren't an awful team throughout the season, they were just unbelievably God awful in the second half.
The Avs with Stastny, Galiardi, Duchene and O'Reily at center makes the Avs not only young down the middle put perhaps makes them the youngest team at center in the history of the NHL. McNabb said the team is going to have to rely on their veteran back line and I think he's right. With all that youth up front it's going to need to have a really solid back end. McNabb said every practice since the first cuts have been about the defensive end. I see little to disagree with there.