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Ryan Boulding
Ryan Boulding
6 posts

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Jeff Ponder

Colorado Avalanche Sign Jean-Sebastien Giguere posted by Jeff Ponder

The Avalanche have completed a total overhaul in the goaltending department.

Earlier today, the Avalanche traded their first-round draft pick in 2012 and their second-round pick in either 2012 or 2013 to Washington for goaltender Semyon Varlamov.  Now, J.S. Giguere has decided to head to the Mile High City.

The Avalanche’s decisions have also forced former back-up goalie Peter Budaj to sign with the Montreal Canadiens and former starting goalie Brian Elliott to sign with the St. Louis Blues.

Giguere is likely to be the top-guy in Colorado next season.  He posted an 11-11-4 record as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs last season, recording a 2.87 GAA and a .900 save percentage.  He was held to just 33 games played due to a groin injury.

The Avalanche will have a fight in goal come training camp, as both Varlamov and Giguere have been quality starting goalies in their careers.  Reports are that Varlamov has committed to a team in Russia, but that was before the trade took place this afternoon. 

**UPDATE**  Giguere’s contract is two years and is reportedly with $2.5 million ($1.25M cap-hit).  According to nhlnumbers.com, the Avalanche are still $6.89 million under the NHL salary-floor.

Follow Jeff Ponder on Twitter (@jponder94) for all the latest updates on free-agent signings today.

Continue reading "Colorado Avalanche Sign Jean-Sebastien Giguere"


Jeff Ponder

Weak Northwest Division Could Benefit Blackhawks posted by Jeff Ponder

Vancouver is the heavy favorite heading into the 2011 NHL playoffs to win the Stanley Cup.  Their Northwest Division foes can vouch for that.

 The Vancouver Canucks, who won the President’s Trophy by a landslide-ten points over the East’s Washington Capitals, posted an impressive 54-19-9 record for a league-leading 117 points in the regular season.  Obviously, the Canucks head into the Quarterfinal Series as the top seed in the Western Conference where they will meet the eighth-seeded Chicago Blackhawks.  But how much did Vancouver playing in the Northwest Division help bloat their point total?

The Northwest Division, which features the Canucks, Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers, saw only one of its teams make the playoffs.  This is the only division in the NHL to do so.

The Canucks had a whopping 18-4-2 record against their Northwest Division foes.  With a record like that, it is easy to see how the Canucks can steamroll through parts of the regular season.  Still impressive?  Yes, very much so.  Anytime a team can dominate in their own division usually means that team will be a top-seed in the playoffs.  But what if Vancouver played in a better division?

Let’s say Vancouver goes .500 against the Northwest Division (12-12-0).  Their record drops down to 48-27-7 and they post 103 points.  While these are still very respectable numbers, that drops them to the third seed (keep in mind that they would still hold onto the division title), and puts them just six points ahead of their current playoff matchup, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Continue reading "Weak Northwest Division Could Benefit Blackhawks"


Jeff Ponder

Colorado May Struggle Without Anderson posted by Jeff Ponder

What else can go wrong for Craig Anderson?

After suffering a freak knee-injury in warm-ups on October 26, Anderson was the victim of a groin injury Wednesday against Vancouver.  The knee injury came when Anderson was doing a routine wrap-up in warm-ups that consists of all of the Avalanche skaters converging on Anderson in the crease, trying to shove a puck past him.  But Anderson came out of the shuffle with a knee injury that sidelined him ten games, in which the Avalanche went 6-3-1 and outscored their opponents 38-27 during his absence.  Anderson came back with a swift punch to the New York Rangers, stopping 25 out of 26 shots, including a fantastic sprawling save on Marc Staal in the slot.  The Avalanche went on to demolish the Rangers 5-1.  Things were looking very bright in Denver, as the Avalanche played brilliantly without Anderson, and then the star goalie makes a return in a convincing win.  Things sure can change in just a few short days.

After backup Peter Budaj played great in a 4-3 overtime win in Dallas, Anderson got another chance to shine the very next night.  Things did not go the way that head coach Joe Sacco and company had expected.  Anderson left with a groin injury, and it was serious enough to sideline Anderson again, as well as force the Avalanche to call up goaltender Jason Bacashihua from Lake Erie of the AHL the next day.  Budaj and the Avalanche lost the game as well, 4-2.

Anderson was not the only loss; captain Adam Foote was sidelined with a leg injury.

"Footer is our captain, our leader, and Andy was our most valuable player last year," forward Matt Duchene said. "It's tough without them."

Continue reading "Colorado May Struggle Without Anderson"


Goon Squad

USA! USA! USA! posted by Goon Squad

Has it been 30 years now since the US beat the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid?(It seems like only yesterday...)

The Americans went on to win the gold medal in hockey that year - something that hasn't happened since, but don't expect any miracles next month at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. No, the United States still isn't favored to win a gold medal in hockey. In that respect the Americans remain underdogs. But with a roster stacked with young talent, they certainly are a medal candidate - one that the powerhouses from Canada, Russia and Sweden can't afford to overlook. "A little bit different situation [than 1980] in my opinion," said United States team captain Jamie Langenbrunner, a forward with the NHL's New Jersey Devils. "As much as Canada deserves all the credit that they're getting for the players they have, the 23 players named to the [United States] team play in the same league as those guys and we feel quite comfortable playing against them on a nightly basis. We feel we belong on the same ice."

That's a far cry from goalie Jim Craig and the 1980 team! US coach Herb Brooks had to convince that group of college All-Stars that it could compete with the grown men the Soviet Union sent over. But since 1998 the NHL has allowed its professional players to compete at the Winter Olympics. So this group of Americans is baffled by the notion that they would be intimidated by any of the major hockey powers.

Told of stories in the Canadian press that listed him as the only American capable of making the loaded Team Canada roster, forward Zach Parise chuckled. "I think that's kind of a bold statement," said Parise, also a New Jersey Devils forward. "I don't think there's going to be too many people that would agree with that."

Continue reading "USA! USA! USA!"


Andy Charles

And the winner is… posted by Andy Charles


 Well, we’ve made it to the halfway point of the season, so it is time to hand out a few awards to the deserving, the hopeless and the sensational.

Team of the season: I’m going to take the New Jersey Devils here since they are the one team to impress me more than I had expected. I thought Chicago and San Jose might be the quality of the West and so it has proved. The Devils; well I saw them as a decent playoff team but not the halfway top seed.

Martin Brodeur has been predictably brilliant, but the Devils continue to get offense from a team that lacks star quality after Zach Parise. And the biggest surprise among them? Has to be Andy Greene with 23 points in 37 games, already doubling any output he has managed in four NHL seasons.

Bust of the season: Plenty to choose from here but (sad for me since I am a fan) the Anaheim Ducks should try for the Anaheim Sucks. Twelve points out of the playoffs in the West and not even the best team around Los Angeles.

The goals haven’t been too hard to find and they have the scoring, but the defense has been shoddy despite Scott Niedermayer and Ryan Whitney being in town. They do have the talent to get out of their predicament and some NHL Predictions suggest they will, but it is not going to be easy given the strength of the West.

Surprise of the season: No doubt for me – has to be the Colorado Avalanche. Just on top of the Northwest Division after a season predicted to be dogged by youthful struggles. A brilliant free agency signing of goalie Craig Anderson has helped but Wojtek Wolski is finally becoming the player many thought he could be and watch out for Chris Stewart as well – the next top class power forward.

Continue reading "And the winner is…"


Goon Squad

Legend Of The Goon Squad pt.2 posted by Goon Squad

Violence has been a part of hockey since at least the early 1900's. According to the book Hockey: A People's History, in 1904 alone, four players were killed during hockey games from the frequent brawls and violent stickwork. 

Early hockey in particular was noted for its extreme violence, to the point where two players were killed in three years during brawls.
In both cases, the accused assailants were acquitted, but these and other bloody incidents led to calls for the sport to clean up its act or be banned with the likes of cock fighting.

The worst of the violence waned, particularly with regulations for quasi-legal fisticuffs, though incidents continue to occur from time to time.

Billy Coutu was the first player banned from the NHL for life when, in 1927, he attacked referee Jerry Laflamme in a Stanley Cup game between the Bruins and Senators - in which several players complained about the officiating, supposedly at the request of Bruins coach Art Ross before starting an all-in brawl.
NHL president Frank Calder, the League's first president, expelled Coutu from the NHL for life on March 29th, 1929; the ban was lifted after five years, but Coutu never played again in the NHL.
Billy Coutu - an OG Supreme! (Original Goon)

Other incidents include the December 12th, 1933 event when Eddie Shore hit Leafs player Ace Bailey from behind.
Bailey never played hockey again.
Another OG.

Somewhat recently, controversy and criminal charges have resulted from violent attacks by Marty McSorley, Todd Bertuzzi, and Chris Simon.

Continue reading "Legend Of The Goon Squad pt.2"


Andy Charles

Anderson makes Avalanche whole posted by Andy Charles

There have been plenty of breakout stories early in the NHL season but none more surprising than the form of Colorado Avalanche goaltender Craig Anderson.

Anderson was always considered a journeyman backup in net until a decent effort in Florida last season when he took over the reins from an injured Tomas Vokoun and secured a 15-7 record in 31 games, 27 of which were starts.

He became a free agent at the end of 2008-9 but was not picked up all that quickly, leading some to suggest all he would get would be a one-year deal to backup a star somewhere else.

But the Avalanche saw something different, and given their problems in goal last year (as well as all over the ice to be honest) picked up the 28-year-old, originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks and a star in the AHL for Rochester.

A $3.6m deal over two years was enough to secure him, and what a piece of shrewd business that looks after the first six weeks of the new campaign with the Avalanche sitting joint top of the Western Conference with big-spending San Jose.

Anderson set franchise goaltending records in October for wins (10), and was among the league leaders in all of the significant statistical categories as he bore the weight of the club on his back in the absence of the injured and then ill Peter Budaj, who has at time of writing started only one game.

Although Anderson’s performance has dropped off a little in the last three games (two of them defeats) he remains on top form overall, and has faced more shots than any other goaltender in the league, allowing him a little wiggle room when it comes to possibly being a little tired!!

Continue reading "Anderson makes Avalanche whole"


Jeff Ponder

Avalanche Should Make Pitch for Tanguay posted by Jeff Ponder

July 9th was a dark day for the Colorado Avalanche hockey club.  After 20 seasons, all being with the Nordiques-Avalanche franchise, long-time captain Joe Sakic announced his retirement from the NHL. Not only did Avalanche personnel say goodbye to their on-ice leader, but their most valuable player.

With Sakic out of the lineup for the better part of the season, the Avalanche finished a dismal 32-45-5 in 2008-09, which placed them last in the Western Conference.  The bright side of this was that the Colorado club was able to land the third overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.  They selected Matt Duchene from the Brampton Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League, a promising young star who has a knack for finding the back of the net.  Matt ranked third on his team in points last season with 48 assists and 79 points.  The 18-year old is most likely ready for the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning taught other NHL teams last season to not put too much stock in a rookie.  Stephen Stamkos, the first overall pick in 2008, scored just 23 goals and 46 points in his first season.  The Avalanche will need to look elsewhere to improve their lineup.

Paul Stastny will be returning for his fourth NHL season in 2009-10.  After scoring 149 points in his first two seasons,  Stastny dealt with his first injury problems last season since reaching the NHL level.  Paul suffered a broken forearm just before the Christmas break, sidelining him for 36 games.  The young star still managed to amass 36 points but the injury depleted his team.
Continue reading "Avalanche Should Make Pitch for Tanguay"


Jeff Ponder

Avalanche sign Craig Anderson to 2-Year, $3.6 Million Contract posted by Jeff Ponder

The Avalanche have taken yet another step to try and answer their troubles in net.  Craig Anderson, one of the best back-up goaltenders in 2008-09, has accepted a 2-year, $3.6 million deal. 

The Avalanche teetered between Andrew Raycroft and Peter Budaj last year, and it did not seem to work the way that the team had hoped.  The Avalanche finished 32-45-5, placing them last in the Western Conference. 

Anderson was back-up to Tomas Vokoun in Florida last season, posting an impressive 15-7-5 record with a .920 save percentage.  Anderson is quick side to side and has a great glove hand.

With Raycroft going seperate ways from Colorado, Anderson is a strong pick-up.  He is yet to be a true NHL starter, but this seems like the right decision for Colorado for the time being.
Continue reading "Avalanche sign Craig Anderson to ..."


Ryan Boulding

Avalanche Recap - 3 Games, 2 Wins, 1 Loss posted by Ryan Boulding

Lets get the loss out of the way by saying: yes, we should have beat Anaheim and played rather ridiculously according my my snobby, high-nosed standards. We did play, however, like we have all year, which is to say we underachieved.

Moving on to the Calgary game. Obviously we won this game because the title says two wins (which also means the next game I discuss was a victory). We somehow cannot manage to win against teams we consistently need to beat in order to gain ground... but we manage to be the thorn in the side of any team trying to gain ground itself. So the Flames, who were hot and crawling up the points ladder met their maker, but not without putting up a fight. Goals for Calgary:  Rene Bourque, Adrian Aucoin, and Jerome Iginla. Goals for the Avalanche:   Marek Svatos(x2), Milan Hejduk, and Ruslan Salei. Svatos, who actually had a decent showing against the Ducks, had a breakout night here, notching two and almost getting an empty netter for the hat. It's always fun to beat a division team and even more fun when that team has lame-ass, sucker puncher, cry baby Todd Bertuzzi on their team. The good news is the home fans never forget and did a nice job booing the goon whenever he touched the puck. Don't know why? Click here.

 Highlights.

 Moving on to last nights thriller against the (hated) Dalls Stars. I hold a very serious grudge against Dallas for Marty Turco's shenanigans in a playoff game a few years back. He charged out to play the puck along the side boards and an Av (think it was Hinote) beat him to the puck, so he checked Hinote and somehow we got a goaltender interference call. That and in a shootout earlier this year he threw his stick against Ryan Smyth and got away with it.

Continue reading "Avalanche Recap - 3 Games, 2 Wins, 1 Loss"

Colorado Avalanche News

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Kessel leads streaking Maple Leafs past Avalanche with two goals

Phil Kessel scored twice, James van Riemsdyk had a goal and anassist and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2on Tuesday night for their sixth straight win. [read full article]

From FOXSports.com News for NHL


Goalie Giguere retires after 16 seasons in NHL (Yahoo Sports)

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From Yahoo Sports


Settlement reached in Moore-Bertuzzi lawsuit (Yahoo Sports)

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From Yahoo Sports


LA Kings to retire Rob Blake's No. 4 jersey (Yahoo Sports)

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From Yahoo Sports


Anaheim Ducks to retire Selanne's jersey Jan. 11 (Yahoo Sports)

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From Yahoo Sports

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