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Posted On Saturday, 11.30.2013 / 2:54 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stastny returns for Avalanche against Wild

DENVER -- Center Paul Stastny will return to the Colorado Avalanche lineup Saturday against the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center after missing two games because of back spasms.

Stastny took part in the Avalanche's optional skate and is expected to skate on a line with left wing Jamie McGinn and right wing PA Parenteau.

The Avalanche are looking to sweep the home-and-home series with the Wild after winning the opening game 3-1 Friday at the Xcel Energy Center.

"It was actually something away from hockey; it just acted up," Stastny said of his back ailment. "To me, that's a positive. I'd rather it happen away from hockey. I wasn't comfortable doing certain things and I didn't want to put our team in jeopardy. I didn't want to play five minutes and have to leave. You want to be smart about it so it doesn't act up later."

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 9:08 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Duchene in, Stastny out for Avalanche

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene, who missed three games because of an oblique injury, is playing Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues at Pepsi Center.

Forward Paul Stastny is scratched due to back spasms.

Duchene, who leads the Avalanche in scoring with 12 goals and 20 points in 19 games, was injured Nov. 16 against the Florida Panthers.

"It's been torture," he said. "I feel like I've been out a month. I can't believe it's only been nine or 10 days. It feels like it's been a lot longer. I got better really quick and I thought I was going to be able to play on our (recent two-game) road trip and it was a whole different story. Four days went by and it stayed about the same and the last few days I've taken a good step and started to feel better. I'm really pleased with the way I am now."

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 3:56 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Duchene game-time decision for Avalanche

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene, who has missed three games because of an oblique injury, took part in the morning skate and might play Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues at Pepsi Center.

Duchene and coach Patrick Roy said it will be a game-time decision.

"We'll see," Duchene said. "I'm going to prepare like I am [playing] and we'll see what happens."

Duchene, who leads the Avalanche in scoring with 12 goals and 20 points in 19 games, was injured Nov. 16 against the Florida Panthers.

"It's been torture," he said. "I feel like I've been out a month. I can't believe it's only been nine or 10 days. It feels like it's been a lot longer. I got better really quick and I thought I was going to be able to play on our (recent two-game) road trip and it was a whole different story. Four days went by and it stayed about the same and the last few days I've taken a good step and started to feel better. I'm really pleased with the way I am now."

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.19.2013 / 3:43 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Star forwards sitting as Avalanche host Blackhawks

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks will each be without a star forward when they play Tuesday at Pepsi Center.

Avalanche center Matt Duchene will miss his first game because of an oblique injury and Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa will miss his third straight game because of a lower-body injury.

The encouraging news for the Avalanche is coach Patrick Roy said Tuesday morning that Duchene might be able to play Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings, which would be sooner than expected. He was injured this past Saturday against the Florida Panthers.

Roy said Duchene probably would make the two-game road trip that starts Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.16.2013 / 3:47 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Avalanche's Roy still preaching positives

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy was accentuating the positive Saturday following the morning skate in preparation for his team's game against the Florida Panthers at Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche have a 14-4-0 record but have lost two games in a row for the first time this season and are coming off a 7-3 loss Thursday to the St. Louis Blues.

"There's no reason for us not to be confident," Roy said. "We have 28 points and if you look at the segment of 20 games, you do that four times it's 112 points without winning the next two [games]. It's not only going to help you make the playoffs, you're going to be pretty close to be first overall. We're going to go through games like this in a season. The good thing is we talked about it. There's an area in our game that needs to improve, and that's our game management. We can't take penalties in the offensive zone. We need to be smarter. There's a few plays defensively where we were not as sharp.

"We should be very happy with our start, but we cannot be satisfied. It's a big difference. When you're not satisfied it means you're aware there are things to improve in our game. The good thing is we're aware of those things."

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Posted On Sunday, 11.10.2013 / 2:10 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Avalanche to start Varlamov against Capitals

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov will start against his former Washington Capitals teammates for the second time in four weeks Sunday at Pepsi Center.

Varlamov stopped 40 shots Oct. 12 in the Avalanche's 5-1 win at Verizon Center. It was his first game against the Capitals since his trade to the Avalanche on July 1, 2011.

Varlamov said after that game he was so nervous his legs were shaking in the first period.

"I think it's always a nice challenge to play against your ex-team," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "It was the same case for me every time we played Montreal. You always want to do well in those games. It's nothing against your ex-team, it's just the pride that comes into play. You want to perform well and you want to have a strong night. I'm sure he is going to be very focused."

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Posted On Friday, 11.08.2013 / 3:18 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Roy, Hartley reunite as Avalanche host Flames

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy is looking forward to seeing his Calgary Flames counterpart, Bob Hartley, when the teams meet Friday at Pepsi Center.

Roy was tending goal when Hartley coached the Avalanche to a Stanley Cup championship in 2001 and the two men have maintained a close relationship.

"I have a lot of respect for Bob," Roy said Friday. "Over the past years he always said, 'Hey, call me. If you need something, I'll be there for you.' He's always been there for me. He called me when I got the [Avalanche coaching position], he called me in the summer, he called me before the start of the season. In training camp he called me. We're talking a lot."

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.06.2013 / 4:22 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Avalanche have shot at making history

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche can make NHL history Wednesday night if they defeat the Nashville Predators at Pepsi Center. A win would give them a 13-1-0 record to match the 2007-08 Ottawa Senators as the only teams in League history to begin a season with 13 wins in the first 14 games.

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy is more interested in getting off to a fast start against the Predators, who will be playing the third of a seven-game, 17-day road trip to accommodate the Country Music Association awards Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena.

"We need to focus on preparing ourselves for tonight and make sure we focus when we get to the rink, make sure that we play a strong game and especially have a strong start," Roy said Wednesday morning. "These guys are on the road for a long time, and I'm sure they're going to want to have a good start and try to win that first period. It'll be important for us to be ready right at the start of this game."


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Posted On Saturday, 11.02.2013 / 4:08 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Roy facing Canadiens as Avalanche coach

DENVER -- A two-time Stanley Cup champion goalie with the Montreal Canadiens, Patrick Roy will face his former team for the first time as Colorado Avalanche coach Saturday at Pepsi Center.

"I've been saying to everybody, it's just another game, but deep inside I guess it's not," Roy said Saturday morning. "It's always special playing against a former team. But I have so much respect for them. Things are so much different than when I was traded."

Roy left Montreal on bad terms when he was traded to the Avalanche on Dec. 6, 1995. He helped the Avalanche to two Stanley Cup championships before retiring after the 2002-03 season. The Avalanche retired his No. 33 jersey in October 2003 and the Canadiens did the same five years later.

"I'm so happy to have a good relationship with the Montreal Canadiens," Roy said. "When they retired my jersey, I appreciated that. It was great for me to see my jersey there. I was happy that (Canadiens general manager) Marc Bergevin gave me a call. I respect him a lot the way he handled the situation. Even now I speak to him on the phone here and there but always with a lot of respect."

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Posted On Sunday, 10.27.2013 / 2:49 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Varlamov, Avalanche seek to continue torrid start

DENVER -- Off to the best start in franchise history, the Central Division-leading Colorado Avalanche close out a two-game homestand Sunday evening against the Winnipeg Jets at Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche have posted a 9-1-0 record to tie the 1994-95 Quebec Nordiques, who also won nine of their first 10 games and went 12-1-0 in their first 13 games. The Avalanche also registered 18 points in their first 10 games in the 2000-01 Stanley Cup championship season when they went 8-0-2 and improved to 9-0-2 before losing in regulation for the first time.

Semyon Varlamov will start in goal for the Avalanche, who have won three games in a row. Varlamov has won six of seven starts with a 1.73 goals-against average and .948 save percentage.

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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic