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Stanley Cup Final

Preissing tries to get back on track

Tuesday, 11.17.2009 / 5:44 PM / NHL Insider

By Todd Kimberley - NHL.com Correspondent

"From what I've seen of Tommy, he's a guy who could help our power play. He's a puck-moving defenseman, he's got a good head for the game, he sees the ice well, and he can help our power play."
-- Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco

CALGARY -- Meet Tom Preissing -- professional puck-mover, published author, beguiling blogger and ... aspiring golf writer.

Hey, a guy can dream, can't he?

"The best job in the world? Yep, that's probably a very true sentiment," said the Colorado Avalanche defenseman and the man who once blogged, only partially in jest: "Don't be afraid to hook me up with a sick golf writer's job (when my hockey life is done, of course)."

Preissing, a 30-year-old from Arlington Heights, Ill., who's coming off offseason arthroscopic knee surgery, is embarking on his seventh campaign as a pro, after being traded to the Avs by the Kings in July as part of a three-player deal that saw Ryan Smyth sent to Los Angeles.

Last winter, while dealing with a string of injuries and an assignment to AHL Manchester, Preissing also developed his penchant for penmanship with a regular Q&A blog on the Kings' website.

"I'd say it comes naturally, but it doesn't come quickly," the 6-foot, 197-pound blueliner told NHL.com. "I feel like I could write decently in half the time, but I've always been a perfectionist, so I kind of brood over some of the structure.

"I can blame that on my mom," added Preissing with a laugh. "Both my parents are teachers, and my mom was an elementary school teacher most of her life, and she was always harping proper grammar and diction on us."

Preissing's blogging topics while in L.A.? You name it.

On using government money to develop alternative energy sources: "I am for almost any energy program that will help us wean us off our oil dependence."

On the prospect of hiring out his teammates as babysitters: "I would be scared to death to let any of my teammates babysit my boy ... actually, I might let (former Kings teammate) John Zeiler, because if anyone in this world could successfully communicate with a newborn, I have no doubt it would be him."

And on whether the Gatorade flavor gets rotated on the bench: "You can usually tell what flavor (or color) the Gatorade is on that day by looking at our jerseys just below the neckline. It seems that drinking from a bottle isn't quite as easy as one would assume."

Preissing's writings haven't been limited to cyberspace. While at Colorado College, he wrote his thesis on the economics of sports -- and it was subsequently published in the Atlantic Economic Journal. It was jawbreakingly entitled "The Influence of Structural Changes and International Players on Competitive Balance in the National Hockey League."

"We did a regression, put in all the player stats from 1930 on, and looked at how expansion affected it, how free agency affected it, how racial barriers affected it," he said. "It was still pretty dry, but it was at least interesting."

Not much has gone right for Preissing since the 2006-07 season, when he was a member of the Stanley Cup finalist Ottawa Senators and shared the League's best plus-minus rating (plus-40) with Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom.

On Saturday night against Vancouver, Preissing played his first NHL game since Jan. 15, and probably wishes he hadn't, going a minus-4 in 13 minutes during the Avs' 8-2 home loss to the Canucks.

Colorado's coaching staff will be holding Preissing out of the lineup until he gets up to speed.

"Tommy has missed a lot of hockey. When you miss all of training camp, it takes a long time to get back into form," coach Joe Sacco said. "We're trying to do what we think is best for Tommy to get him back into game situations. He'll have an opportunity again.

"From what I've seen of Tommy, he's a guy who could help our power play," added Sacco. "He's a puck-moving defenseman, he's got a good head for the game, he sees the ice well, and he can help our power play."

Preissing, who signed a four-year, $11-million deal with the Kings in 2007, fell out of favor with coach Terry Murray last season before being dealt to Denver.

A former 43-point man with the San Jose Sharks, Preissing is just trying to get his career back on track.

"It's been a very tough year and a-half or so," he said. "I'm sure everyone, in their lives, with the exception of big superstars, goes through something similar. It's not always going to be an easy road.

"Whatever happens from here on out, I know my knee is healthy now, and if I can continue to play hockey, I'll be happy. It's been rocky, and I don't really know what the future holds, but at least I know I can give my best effort now."


Once again, it shows character in this dressing room. Once again, there's no quitting in here. We all wanted this so bad and we worked so hard to get home-ice advantage and we weren't going to let this one slide.

— Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on his team's OT Game 1 win vs. Minnesota Wild