Matt Duchene takes a face off during Avs training camp. (Photo by @JessicaAvsFan)
Pardon the shouting, but the return of Colorado Avalanche hockey justifies the excitement.
Over the weekend training camp began, so technically, hockey has been back f0r several days now. But tonight the Avs will take the ice at the Air Force Academy to engage in the intra-squad tilt known as the Burgundy/White game. As I’ve said many times before, this is one of the best games of the season. Fans get to see the stars play against each other (which always generates sparks — last year Matt Duchene got in a tussle with then-housemate Adam Foote), as well as the most deserving prospects still vying for a spot on the opening night roster.
In short, it will be brutal, fast, hard-hitting, AWESOMENESS IN FROZEN HOCKEY FORM.
Ok, my excitement got away from me again. I apologize.
Since I was ridiculously sick and laying in bed dying this weekend I didn’t get a chance to post my training camp thoughts. Plenty of people that went to/followed camp and have excellent opinions have already written up their views. Check out The Avalanche Guild, Mile High Hockey, HockeyBuzz, Put It On Ice, and, of course, The Denver Post if you haven’t already.
If you’ve read my stuff very much at all, you know that I have somewhat of a unique perspective. So even if you have already read every opinion about training camp, I think you should stick around and read mine. Consider it a warm up for the Burgundy/White game tonight.
- I am ashamed to say that I forgot what the sound of bodies hitting the boards does to my psyche. It is the best mood elevator I know.
- Somebody get #62 (Troy Rutkowski) a sweater that fits. He looks like he’s playing dress up in his daddy’s clothes.
- Repeat after me: #4 is NOT John Michael Liles. #4 is NOT John Michael Liles. #4 is NOT John Michael Liles. #4 is NOT John Michael Liles.
- So nice to see Peter Mueller back on the ice. Even nicer to watch him take a few hits and not shatter like a pane of glass.
- #58 (Patrick Bordeleau) WILL hit you if he can see you. He may be moving slowly. He may drop his stick in the process. But he will hit you. And when he does, it’s gonna hurt.
- Mueller’s tinted visor makes him look like the “cool” kid in high school who insists on wearing his sunglasses inside. (This thought immediately brought the Corey Hart song to mind. This may be Mueller’s theme song in my head this season.)
- It was interesting that during the first game every player brought the same level of intensity to the ice. As time went on, however, it became obvious which players could truly hang with the big boys and which ones need to go back to school for a while.
- Milan Hejduk’s hands are just sick. I could watch him stick handle forever. (Get your mind out of the gutter.)
- A few players fired shots into the net above the coach’s perch rather than the net attached to the goal. Apparently hockey players need painfully specific directions in order to succeed.
- Matt Duchene had a breakaway from the blue line up along the boards that really showcased his speed. The defender should’ve had the advantage, but Duchene just made him look silly.
- Bordeleau hit #57 (Mike Brennan, signed to an AHL contract and not on the B/W roster for tonight) hard into the boards. Brennan took offense and hit Bordeleau right back…and then tripped over Bordeleau’s prone body. It was pretty funny.
- Watching Landeskog was really fun. He’s learning as he goes, which is obvious, but he learns quickly. I think he’ll be a valuable asset this season.
Patrick Bordeleau, #58. The big, bruising forward lays the hurt on people and can actually skate. He even put in a garbage goal off a fairly decent backhand on Saturday. I LOVE this guy, even though outside of a David Koci-type role he probably won’t ever see meaningful time with the Avs. He did make the Burgundy team for tonight’s game. I’m psyched.
Joakim Lindstrom, #28. His play was pretty flawless; he did the little things well and did a few important things very well. He’s kind of like the perfect backup singer. His voice melds perfectly with that of the lead singer so you hear one voice harmonizing with itself. That’s what Lindstrom’s game looks like. He makes everyone around him better because of his own strengths. He will be on Team Burgundy tonight.
Jan Hejda, #8 and Erik Johnson, #6. My love of defensemen is no secret. These two together were just beautiful. They already had chemistry together…a dark, brooding chemistry that made people pay for daring to bring the puck into their zone. I love it. It’s nice for EJ to have a defensive partner this season. I’m looking for big things out of both of them…and I’d LOVE for EJ to at least get the A. They are both on Team White tonight.
Mark Olver, #40. He’s just a little pocket-sized firecracker. I love this guy. He’s tiny and oh-so-fast, but he also has a lot of spunk. He is not afraid to stand up for himself or for others. We saw him play up with the Avs for several games last season, and he’s definitely making a bid to at least be among the first called up this year. He’s on Team Burgundy for tonight’s matchup.
Here is the roster for tonight’s game. Looking at the teams tells me that White should skate away with the win easily, but maybe the Burgundy underdogs will rise up and take the night.
So how about it, Avs fans….ARE YOU READY FOR SOME HOCKEY?!?!?!?!?!