Tonight, the Colorado Avalanche finish their road trip through then Metropolitan Division with a stop in Philadelphia to take on the Flyers. With a record of 2-0- the Avs have been incredibly impressive - especially in the past two games.
The top line has been on fire and Philipp Grubauer is showing why Joe Sakic traded for him this past June.
A win tonight would pull Colorado into a tie for the most points in the entire NHL. These are the situations that would often leaf to a letdown from the Avs last season. Let’s see if this team has grown into one that we can look at as a legitimate contender in the Central.
Marko Dano has been practicing with the team, so there’s a good chance we see the newly acquired winger in the lineup tonight.
Last night, was a big one for one former Colorado Avalanche player. After a long time away from a game that gave him his livelihood - but that also took away a lot of happy time from him - Paul Kariya finally had his No. 9 retired by the Anaheim Ducks.
Though he only played 51 games in Denver, the fact that Avalanche fans got to watch him play on home ice at all is a treat.
"It's surreal to see your number go up like that. I never thought, in my wildest dreams, this would happen in my career. The banner is awesome...awesome."#RetireThe9 | #LetsGoDucks pic.twitter.com/5aI6dSLgTq— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 22, 2018
On hand for the special night was Kariya’s best friend in hockey - and fellow former Avalanche - Teemu Selanne. The two spent an large portion of their time playing together Anaheim and were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame together last November.
According to Selanne, he and Kariya had a chemistry on the ice that even he couldn’t understand:
“It was almost after every game, I would be wondering how this chemistry was so special. We really read each other’s minds...hockey with him was so easy.”
More than just Selanne, Kariya is a player that seems universally liked both in and outside of the dressing room. Eric Stephens of the Athletic spoke with a number of his former teammates in this great retrospective of Kariya’s career. [The Athletic]
It hasn’t been the best retirement for the 44-year old. After having his career cut short by numerous head injuries, Kariya spent a lot of time in a very dark mental state. This feature by TSN from last year shows his struggle as well as his journey back to happiness. It is a very interesting look at how hard it was for Paul Kariya to let hockey back into his life.
Averaging exactly a point per game over his 989 game NHL, it’s not hyperbole to say that Paul Kariya was one of the most naturally talented players to ever play the game of hockey. It’s unfortunate we didn’t get to watch him more.
He is a cautionary tale of what head injuries can do to a hockey player and a poster-boy for the necessary player safety many want to see brought to the NHL.
Despite the injuries, Kariya had a tremendous career and last night was a celebration that was truly deserving for one of the all time greats.
The icing on the cake was the incredible throwback jerseys the Ducks wore for the game. Simply put, we need them to get back to these permanently: