The Colorado Avalanche: News from around the NHL - March 27th, 2014

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Saw this and thought of Cheryl, that's right Cheryl, this cupcake is for you! Tyson Barrie getting some love.

Going into this season there were very few predicting the Colorado Avalanche would accomplish what they’ve managed to do.

It was a team with a dreadful record. Behind the bench was Patrick Roy, a firebrand lacking in NHL coaching experience. The defensive corps was expected to be hopelessly in over its head against Western Conference competition.

But things have gone well, and the reasons include the certain coach of the year Roy, outstanding goaltending from Semyon Varlamov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and just a little bit of a contribution from Tyson Barrie of Victoria.

Another player getting love is Ryan O'Reilly.

Growing up, in the earliest days of his hockey career, Ryan O’Reilly learned how to properly defend.

He had no choice.

Competing against his brother Cal and his friends, who were four years his senior, options were limited: Play well defensively or you won’t keep up.

Now 23, O’Reilly is an elite two-way forward in the National Hockey League. Not only does he lead the Colorado Avalanche in goals this season with 26, but he also tops all NHLers in takeaways with 73.

Considering Colorado boasts capable offensive hands in their Big Three — Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog — O’Reilly’s goal tally alone is noteworthy.

Perhaps most impressive, though, is a stat with a big fat zero beside it: Penalty minutes.

Gentleman Rob Blake is also getting some love from Canada. He is Canada's GM for the IIHF world championship.

Rob Blake remembers what it was like to get the call from Hockey Canada to play in the world championship the day after his season with the Los Angeles Kings ended.

Blake donned the red-and-white Maple Leaf five times at the tournament over his career, winning gold twice. This spring he'll be making those calls as Canada's general manager for the world championship that takes place in May in Minsk, Belarus.

Because it's an Olympic year, Blake and his staff — Ron Hextall of the Philadelphia Flyers, Brad Treliving of the Phoenix Coyotes and Brad Pascall of Hockey Canada — might have some different challenges convincing players to commit. But the 44-year-old Kings assistant GM knows what to sell.

"I can't stress how important the opportunity to win is," Blake said in a phone interview Wednesday. "I convey to them what the world championships is all about. ... You look at your career and it goes by pretty fast. There's not a lot of opportunities you have to win something."

An OHL goalie left the ice mid-game, and walked out the door.

A goaltender for the Windsor Spitfires shocked the junior hockey world this week by leaving the ice in the middle of a playoff game, walking out the door of the arena and never looking back.

The Spitfires were trailing the London Knights 8-1 with 5:34 remaining in the second period when 19-year-old Dalen Kuchmey pulled himself from the net, went to the dressing room, changed and drove away.

He had given up eight goals on 26 shots. Earlier in the game, after the sixth goal went in, Kuchmey appeared to make a motion toward the bench that he wanted out. However, he was left in to absorb the brunt of the punishment because the regular starter, Alex Fotinos, came down sick.

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