What do these Avalanche players all have in common?
Matt Duchene, Kyle Quincey, Milan Hejduk, David Jones, Erik Johnson, Peter Mueller, Jay McClement, Cody McLoed, Daniel Winnik, Ryan O'Reilly, Ryan Wilson, T.J. Galiardi, Joakim Lindstrom, Brandon Yip, Matt Hunwick, Shane O'Brien
They are all in contract years.
We'll call the 2009 draft the first year of the rebuild. We did draft Matt Duchene, Ryan O'Reilly, Stefan Elliott and Tyson Barrie that year. That would make the 2011-2012 season the third season into the rebuild. And also the year where they've granted themselves the position to dramatic roster shifts. Watching the games this season, the fans will witness the development of the roster Greg Sherman built.
A few players I think will stick around for a few seasons... not too many surprises, really.
Matt Duchene, Ryan O'Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog, Brad Malone, Erik Johnson, Semyon Varlomov, Joey Hishon, Stefan Elliott, Duncan Siemens, Kyle Quincey... I may be missing someone important, but this is the bulk of them. These are Greg Sherman's boys. I did leave off Jones, Stastny and Galiardi, but they could make there way onto the revamped Avs if they are able to prove they're more valuable to the future of the team than as trade bait. Maybe Stastny stays...
Coach Joe Sacco
His name sounded nice when I heard it at first. Almost as if it were familiar sounding... hmm.
A lot of people have jumped aboard the Sacco Hate Train. I'm still on the fence with him. I thought he did a great job of motivating Chris Stewart and John-Micheal Liles, but they have since been traded. The true test of Sacco will depend on how he handles this season and one of over-performance and one of the worst seasons in franchise history. If he were to get fired, I'd actually like to see a tougher coach take his place. I'd also like Sherman to stay away from Ex-Avalanche players. Cheesy and unreliable as far as results are concerned (Look to Gretzky's coaching track record).
I'd like to see Sacco play Giguere a little more and maybe try Jones next to O'Reilly. I like the way they clicked late last year after Paul Stastny suffered a stress-fracture.
The Dallas Stars
Dirtiest team I've had to watch in a long time. Fiddler's dive was blatant and Benn putting his stick into Stastny's balls... c'mon. Lucky, Stast took it like a champ.
Hard to justify buying a ticket to a home game. The atmosphere is atrocious, but with the team losing like it did to Calgary, it is pretty much unbearable. I'm poor and would rather pay my bills and drink at home until they start winning again. Family night? I heard crickets and saw a boring game.
A Note for Mike and Peter
I sure do hope that Altitude starts letting you do some commentating instead of turning each broadcast into a 2 and a half hour Avalanche commercial. You even sound handcuffed. I feel for you guys, but with that being said...
You two can turn the most exciting game into the biggest borefest. The verbal diarrhea that is spewing from your mouths at every second has forced my hand into muting you and playing grunge music while I watch the game. I hate Alice in Chains almost as much as I hate your "Sunny Side" routine and the constant fumbling over your words. Lay off the beer, McNab.
Maybe when it comes time to sign that lofty contract extension, move your family out to Colorado. If you can score four points a game with Daddy watching in the bleachers, Haliburton can wait till the off season. Maybe a father figure is what you needed to kick the slump. Whatever it is, keep it up.