So now that the Avalanche have strung together a lengthy win streak, it's a good time to look back at the notable has-beens and never-wuzzes that were holding back the team for so long. Let us dance a jig of joy and gloat whilst we wag the win streak in their collective faces. This is episode one in our two part series, and there's more after the jump.
Wojtek Wolski #86
Look at that face. If that doesn't inspire confidence of Aranasonian proportions, nothing will.
After being a point-per-game player for Phoenix last season, Wolski started the 2010-2011 season in the all too familiar floating and no hustle style of play that got him traded to Fenix in the first place. 16 points and a -6 in 36 games, and the Yotes patience ran out. They traded him away to the Rangers for Defensman Michal Rozsival. In true Wolski fashion, he came out like gang busters for his new team by scoring the game winner in his second game as a Blue Shirt, and putting up 16 points in his first 25 games. Alas, the Lazy Baron has yet again reverted to his old ways and in the last 6 Ranger games he has scored 0 points and been a healthy scratch once (replaced in the line up by Sean Avery).
The Coyotes have slid Lauri Korpikoski into The Baron's old role as their top left wing and had this to say about the #1 LW position, which summarizes The Baron pretty well:
...."a spot that was manned first this season by the enigmatic and expensive Wojtek Wolski"
Ian Laperriere #14
In one of the Avs' more celebrated moves *cough cough*, Lappy left the team via free agency after being snubbed by Colorado in the summer of '09. He joined the Flyers where, of course, he was an instant fan favorite - especially after blocking a Jason Pominville slapper with his mouth. In case you missed the bus, this is why we love him so:
"He returned to the ice in the third period, wearing a full facemask, despite losing 7 teeth and receiving between 50 and 100 stitches to repair the inside and outside of his lip, according to the team's oral surgeon, Guy Lanzi"
Unfortunately, that wasn't the only puck Lappy stopped with his face last year. In game 5 against the Devils, he took a Paul Martin slap shot off his forehead. Lappy, ever the warrior, returned for game four of the Eastern Conference Finals and was subsequently awarded the The Hockey News' John Ferguson Award for "Toughest Player in the NHL". It came at a high cost though as Lappy experienced concussion-like symptoms months later in training camp and has been forced to sit out the entire season. Doctors have encouraged Ian to retire, but he has not officially done so.
Matt Hendricks #26
Continuing the theme of pissing on fans, the Avalanche did not re-sign Matt Hendricks last summer as the gritty free agent sought a one-way deal, which the Avs balked at. So, sadly, Hendricks had to sign with the Eastern Conference dominating Washington Capitals. He entered their training camp on a tryout basis and made the team after impressing in camp with his desire to compete, and even netted a hat trick during preseason play. Hendricks took the risky tryout in large part due to his admiration for Bruce Boudreau, whom he played under with the Hershey Bears. Hendricks has put up career numbers in Washington with 8 goals and 15 assists for 23 points in 70 games, while amassing 102 PIMs. Unlike the Avs, the Caps showed their respect for a player's efforts and on February 23rd signed Matt to a two-year extension worth $1.6 million. And yes, Hendricks did score when the Avs and Caps met back on Decemeber 11th, but the Avs held on to win 3-2.
Marek Svatos #10
Svats has become quite the world traveler since his days with the Avavlanche. After his worst NHL season in 09-10 when he scored only 4 goals in 54 games, Svatos hit free agency with a thud and ended up with the Avangard Omsk of the KHL. Marek netted 3 goals and 8 points in 19 games before both sides agreed to terminate the relationship. 5 days later, Svatos returned to the NHL, with hopes of re-establishing himself as an NHL player, with the St. Louis Blues. Forced to clear waivers, he never made it to St. Louis as the Nashville Predators snatched up the diminutive sniper. His reputation for injuries caught up quickly and Svats was limited to 9 games with Nashville where he totaled 3 points, convincing Nashville to place him back on waivers. Ottawa picked up Svatos, but things haven't improved for the former 30-goal scorer as he has just 1 point (scored last night) and is a -4 in 13 games with the Senators.
Colby Cohen #36
Traded in the deal for Matt Hunwick after only 3 games with the Avalanche, Colby was reportedly thrilled to return to the Boston area where he enjoyed collegiate success, including scoring the OT game winner for a national championship. In 36 games with the AHL's Providence Bruins, Cohen has totaled 10 points and 42 penalty minutes in 36 games. Hunwick was ATROCIOUS when he donned the Avs sweater, but has recently turned his game around and this trade could result in small back highway robbery by the Avalanche.