Daily Cupcakes - December 28th, 2011

Some people don't like the WJC as much as others.

Marty Williamson isn’t looking forward to seeing Canadian players Mark Visentin, Ryan Strome and the Hamilton brothers, Dougie and Freddie, after the world junior hockey championship.

It’s anything but personal. It’s just that the Niagara IceDogs head coach already endured a tough stretch when about nine of his players returned to the Ontario Hockey League team from National Hockey League training camps and proceeded to struggle.

The Avalanche finally won on the road.

Perhaps the secret to winning on the road for the Colorado Avalanche is showing up at the last minute and ditching the pregame skate.

Jan Hejda scored the go-ahead goal at 10:20 of the third period and the Avalanche snapped a nine-game road losing skid by beating the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Monday night.

Instead of traveling to Minnesota on Christmas, the Avs flew early Monday morning. They touched down in the Twin Cities at about 11 a.m. CST for the 5 p.m. game.

"We might want to try it more often," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said, smiling. "Pregame skate is overrated."

Lastly, a piece about Crosby. Will he ever be the same?

For so much of his life Sidney Crosby has felt inevitable, in retrospect and otherwise. Even coming from small-town Nova Scotia he was anointed early, and it was Wayne Gretzky who called him the next Wayne Gretzky. His final sensational season in junior took place in the vacuum created by the NHL lockout; as Magic Johnson had Larry Bird, Crosby burst into the league with a ready-made foil in Alexander Ovechkin. Both were great right away, and continued to ascend. And for Crosby the moments piled up, one after another. His winning shootout goal in the first brand-name Winter Classic in Buffalo, pushing the puck through the accumulating snow that swirled under the floodlights in Ralph Wilson Stadium. His two-goal, one-assist Game 7 that concluded his towering 2009 playoff duel with Ovechkin. A Stanley Cup. And at 23, the golden goal in the Olympic final in Vancouver, in overtime, that seemed to shift all of Canada’s tectonic plates at once.

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