Good morning all. While the NHL playoffs surge forward, there was quite a bit of off-ice Avs news for us to digest. Let's take a look:
- Maxim Noreau signed a 2-year deal with Bern of the Swiss league becoming the first rat to jump the ship in San Antonio. Rumors abound about others such as Borna Rendulic (probable) and Dennis Everberg (questionable) also looking for work in Europe for next year.
- The Avs gave their fans a huge chill pill by signing U of Michigan prospect JT Compher to a 3-year ELC and avoided the low-percentage chance that he would go UFA next summer. If he and we play our cards right his NHL career could begin as early as opening night in October.
- Dean Chynoweth was fired after 4 years as head coach in Cleveland and San Antonio. As someone that takes an interest in the team on a daily basis it was actually a surprise, tho' not an unappreciated one. Dean never got the team into the playoffs or had a winning record. His final tally - 135 wins, 128 losses and 41 loser points.
The search for a replacement has begun, rumors and speculation have names like former Avs assistant and present Seattle Thunderbirds head coach Steve Konowalchuk, current Ft Wayne Komets coach Gary Graham, Rampage assistant Randy Ladouceur, Winnipeg assistant Pascal Vincent and others in the mix. A couple of these candidates have teams still active in the playoffs so we likely won't hear anything soon.
- The only part of our beloved franchise still active is the Ft Wayne Komets, who won a game 7 vs Cincinnati on Wednesday then turned around and won both home games against the Utah Grizzlies this weekend to kick off round 2 of the Kelly Cup playoffs. The series shifts to Salt Lake City this week where the K's will deal with altitude and international-sized ice for the middle 3 games. Avs prospect Troy Bourke is tied for the team lead in points with 5G/5A in 9 games.
- Avs prospects Jean-Christophe Beaudin, Anthony John Greer and recent Avs ELC signee Julien Nantel are still rolling in the QMJHL demi-finals with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. They're in a tight series with the Moncton Wildcats and hold a 3-2 edge going into today's matchup in New Brunswick. Beaudin is 3rd on the team in playoff scoring with 6G/11A, Greer is right behind him with 7G/8A and Nantel has 4G/3A, all in 14 games.
- Reto Berra was named to the Swiss team for the World Championships this week. Avs prospect defenseman Anton Lindholm was named to the Swedish squad. They will join Compher (USA), Pickard & Duchene (CAN), Varly (RUS), and Mikko Rantanen (FIN) for the event. Pretty impressive that the Avs top-3 goalies will all be there and 3 guys in our system that have yet to play 10 NHL games will represent.
- Last night the NHL draft lottery was held, the Avs neither advanced nor receded and will pick 10th in this year's amateur draft in June.
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Today's playoff action comes from the left side of the bracket with both home teams trying to pick up win #2 before switching venues.
Bloos at Stars 3pm ET on NBC, Dallas 1up
Preds at Sharks 8pm ET on NBCSN, San Jose 1up