As I write this, it's just 3 days, 9 hours and 24 minutes until the Avs drop the puck on opening night. The Avs played last night, dropping the Coyotes 3-2. A couple of notes about the game and the Avs moves over the next few days:
- TJ Hensick, one of the NHL's top scorers in the preseason, did not dress against Phoenix. That may be a sign that he is not going to make the team (the Avs need to get down from 27 players to 23 players before the opener). Also scratched: Jeff Finger, Ben Guite, Cody McCormick and Mark Rycroft.
- Joel Quenneville changed up the top lines. Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth played with Milan Hejduk, with Andrew Brunette moving to Hejduk's old spot with Paul Stastny and Jarslav Hlinka. He also hinted that he might go with that combination on Wednesday. The other lines were (generally) Wolski - Arnason - Laperriere and Svatos - Smith - Parker.
- The defensive pairings seemed to be Liles & Skrastins, Clark & Hannan, Sauer & Leopold. Not sure that I'm enamored with Liles and Skrastins playing together; I'll have to see how it works on the ice. Ice time seemed to be spread evenly among all six players. Liles, Clark and Hannan (in that order) were tops in PP ice time. Sauer, Hannan and Clark were the PK leaders, with Skrastins 4th. Everyone logged between 13:33 (Clark) and 16:30 (Liles) at even strength. Interestingly, Leopold had the lowest special team ice totals of all the defensemen.
- Things are not looking terrific for Marek Svatos. Svatos garnered less than 12 minutes of ice time (none on the powerplay) and he seemed to spend most of the game on the 4th line.
- Brad Richardson and Jose Theodore both missed all 6 exhibition games. Theodore seems closer to returning than Richie does. I assume Richardson is headed to the IR.
- Not Avalanche related, but I thought I'd mention that the NHL season is officially underway, with the Ducks and Kings squaring off in London yesterday. In true NHL form, coverage of the game left a wee bit to be desired. The game itself was delayed by some trouble with the lights at the arena. Meanwhile, some of us in the States - me, for example - tuned in eagerly yesterday...only to find that instead of the broadcast, someone had flipped the wrong switch, and we got about 70 minutes of infomercials. Eventually, someone at DirecTV pulled their head out of their ass and fixed it, at which point I finally got to watch the game (which seemed to be filmed by one of London's many security CCTV cams). All in all, a rather rough start, even for a league that fucks up on a regular basis.
Be sure to check back Monday when the Avalanche Blogger Roundtable rolls in to a blog near you...