The Colorado Avalanche: Sunday Musings

Doug Pensinger

Not quite 30 Thoughts, but it's throwing out ideas and giving us something to talk about. Beware, I ramble when I'm talking to myself.

1. Those overtime periods in the Kings/Blackhawks game last night were exactly why playoff hockey is so awesome. The factoid that kept coming up on TV and Twitter about the Kings' OT appearance against the Avs drove home how long it's been since the Avalanche were relevant playoff participants. Rather than making me sad, though, it gave me a sense of excitement about what's to come.

2. In fact, bringing in Roy, as well as Sakic, was a brilliant move by the Avalanche. I do not believe at all that the motivation behind the hiring was the attention it gives the team or the tickets it will sell. Roy, Sakic and Foote (who might be helping out in an unofficial capacity as a part-time defensive consultant) have invested interest in the Avalanche brand. The team is forever linked to them, and to see it flounder has to be akin to watching your child fail. Except they can do something about it.

3. I can't wait to see what they do about it, either. The more I read about Roy, his drive to be a coach long before his playing days were even over, and the reasons he had for taking the job, the more confident I am that he will be a good coach for this team. It's more than that unyielding desire to win—although that will be a fantastic foundation that will hold the attention and increase the motivation of all players on the team, including the vets. I even think guys like Giguere and Hejda (and Hejduk if he returns) will relish in the effect it will have on the younger players.

4. It's also about how analytically Roy approaches the game. To hear stories of how he and Foote would break down games by watching video as soon as they got back to the hotel and how he questioned Hartley and the other coaches about the drills they were doing, it made me realize that this is a guy who first seeks to understand. Then he applies what he's learned. This will benefit the Avs as he will first seek to understand what went wrong over the past few years. He will seek to understand the players he has, the talent available to him, and only after he does so will he strategize about how to use them.

5. Maybe then people will see the talent in Paul Stastny again. In talking about how Stastny was used with the Avs last season as compared to the World Championship, AJ reminded me the other day about Stastny's rookie season, that one where he was kind of successful. He was played at times on Sakic's wing. Okay, yeah, I know Duchene is no Sakic. But maybe Roy will recall that season's performance and say, "Let's get Pauly in the offensive zone as much as possible. Let's play him with Dutchy and Pappy and see what the fuck happens." Could be a very potent line. With Stastny's defensive abilities, Duchene can feel confident in really opening up his game and taking those offensive risks.

6. It's really too bad that both Jones and PA are right-handed right wingers. Jones needs protected minutes to do his thing. Duchene should also see protected minutes as it's a waste to stick him in the d-zone more than 40% of the time. Use that offensive danger (pun intended) to its most advantageous. I wonder what a McGinn-Stastny-Parenteau line would look like.

7. Patrick Bordeleau got too much money, but the term of the deal was right. Bordy has been playing on one-year contracts with the Avalanche/Monsters since Day 1. It was time for the team to reward both his dedication to the organization and his constant effort towards improving. He has a ridiculous off-season workout designed to make him a better skater, among other things. The guy is worth the three years.

8. Giving him the three years because of his heart is not a feel-good story. It's an example, a message, to other players. Work hard, put the team first, do your job and you get rewarded.

9. The kid has hockey sense, that elusive, hard-to-define quality that is probably the most important in an NHL player. Watch him. He may not have the skill to make jaw-dropping plays, but he has the sense to try. He knows where he should be and what he should be doing. It's like the "put Olver in Stoa's body" thinking.

10. Speaking of people who need lessons about what a privilege it is to be an NHL player... If Footer is involved with coaching the D, we might actually get to see an effective Shane O'Brien. We need O'Brien to play a Foote-like game. Enough of this spin-o-rama, trying to be a puck moving d-man. "Shane, let me show you how it's done." SOB will never ever even come close to being the player Adam Foote was, but if he molds his game in that spirit, we'll see the O'Brien who is actually, you know, good at hockey.

11. I wonder if Foote will drop any suggestions on who to target in order to upgrade the D while he's playing some rounds with Roy, Sakic and Kroenke.

12. Why the hell is a guy deserving of the nickname Mack Truck getting hurt so damn often? Here's to an injury-free season, Wilson.

13. Yes, Bob, Joey Hishon will play an NHL game.

14. It will be interesting to see how many more players pursue the treatments that Hishon credits for getting him back on the ice. His first full off-season healthy...you better believe he's making the most of it. Don't forget, he's BFFs with Ryan and Cal O'Reilly, two of the best guys one could want as training partners.

15. Every damn team (okay, maybe not EVERY team) is getting new jerseys. Please tell me the Avs will be unleashing one of their own. Honestly, it's not only the perfect time for it, it seems necessary. Let's distance ourselves from the past. Let's make a visual statement, "This is not the same team. Things will be different." Want the team to connect with the fans more, Patty? Give them a sweater they really want to buy.

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