Well, boys and girls, the season is almost here. As most of you know, the first night the Colorado Avalanche will be remembering the three ex-Avs that perished this past summer and celebrating Peter Forsberg. There is merchandise available already for Foppa Night, I'm including the link for those interested in it. These Cupcakes are sure to make Andi happy as there are a few quotes from Erik Johnson.
The first link today comes from the Associated Press via the Washington Post and is about hits to the head and the player reactions thus far.
When Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson was playing youth hockey in Minnesota, the kids wore "STOP" signs on the back of their jerseys to discourage dangerous hits.
The NHL has opted for something more like "Proceed with Caution."
Choosing not to follow the lead of the many minor and youth leagues that have banned all hits to the head, the NHL is instead cracking down on them case-by-case. New discipline czar Brendan Shanahan, only three years removed from his playing days, has been suspending players for the most egregious hits, and the message appears to be getting through.
"If the head is the principle point of contact, you’re going to hear about it, get a fine or a suspension," Johnson said as he prepared for a new season and a new focus on avoiding concussions.
Erik Johnson talks about the shock of being traded, and how it was handled, to being thrilled in Colorado.
"Walking off the plane, (I was told) you're going to Colorado tomorrow," Johnson recalled. "Here's your ticket, thanks for coming."
But it didn't take long for the shock to be replaced by awe as he started to realize how badly the Avalanche wanted him.
"It has given me a lot of confidence," Johnson said. "And that's something that I kind of lost in St. Louis. I immediately got to Colorado and I was playing almost 30 minutes per game, and when I was in St. Louis I wasn't sure whether I was going to play 16 or 25."
Ex-Avalanche Phillipe Dupuis is going to be on the opening roster for Toronto's opening night. It'll be interesting for him wearing the Blue and White going against his hometwon, the Montreal Canadiens, and trust me when I say this, the rivalry between those two teams is pretty intense.
"We (Dupuis and Boyce) had a good battle (at training camp). He had some good games. I had some good games, too. . . . I expect him to work hard (with the Marlies) and try to get my spot. I have to keep working hard to keep mine."
Dupuis is anxious to play against Montreal, his home town.
"It will be a big night for me, but other than that I’m going to keep working hard to stay here," he said.
Finally, a reminder that if you want to join the Yahoo Rotisserie league that is drafting Wednesday night, send me an e-mail.