Welcome to the inaugural Colorado Avalanche Mailbag, a bi-weekly feature that allows fans to connect with their favorite players and ask them a question.
We received dozens upon dozens of questions this week, so check below to see if yours made the cut. If not, the next Colorado Avalanche Mailbag is scheduled for Oct. 22, so keep sending in your inquiries.
Your questions are in bold, and we’ve also provided some commentary and clarification in italics from time-to-time before the player provides his answer.
Now, let’s get to the Q&A:1. Dear Marek Svatos,
What are your pre-game routines and what are your favorite pre-game meals or snacks before a game in Denver?
Trevor from Kahnawake, Quebec
Marek: “I don’t have much of a routine. Just the basics. I go to lunch and take a nap. That’s about it. I usually eat the same thing. It’s always pasta with some red sauce, chicken and salad. It’s just something I’ve done for the past few years.”
2. This question is for Ryan O’Reilly. I’ve been to a few practices, and wonder what is the story with you and the pucks after practice?
Julie from Aurora, Colorado
For those of you who haven’t been to an Avalanche practice this season, we’ll explain briefly. Typically, Ryan and Matt Duchene are the last two players off the ice at the end of each practice. When they are finished, Ryan proceeds to gather each and every puck on the ice, places a bucket a foot or two in front of him, and uses his stick to flip the pucks into the bucket. Not until he’s shot each and every puck into the bucket does he leave the ice.
Here is Ryan’s response:
Ryan: “It’s something I started in juniors. At the end of practice, nobody picks up the pucks with their hands. It’s been a little habit of mine. I don’t like to touch the puck with my hand, so I pick them up that way. Just a good little way to work on my skills and puck control, but it’s also just a habit for myself.”3. Adam Foote: What did you think when you first heard you were going to be captain and who else in the locker room is vocal/a good leader/etc.?
Adam: “I just thought it was a definite honor being named captain. There’s definitely some big shoes to fill in following a great captain like Joe Sakic. You try to take what you learned from him and others. As far as vocal leaders, we have a number of them in the dressing room. We have a lot of guys who are going to step us this year.”4. To Matt Duchene: I love watching you play, and hope to see you in an Avs uniform for your entire career. My question is, how did you develop your play on the penalty kill? Most young players don’t seem to have the defensive skills you have shown.
Jill from Longmont, ColoradoIf you’ve seen any of the Avalanche’s early-season games, you know how adept Matt is at killing penalties. In fact, a few days back we posted videos (courtesy of NHL.com) of Matt and Ryan on the penalty kill from opening night. You can check out those videos here. Here’s Matt’s answer to Jill’s question:
Matt: “You just have to pay attention to the systems and try and anticipate the play. Just take what the game gives you. Sometimes guys on the power play won’t be playing as hard as they would even strength, so you can take advantage of it out there.”5. To Adam Foote,
First of all congratulations for taking the reins as the Avs’ captain. How has it been hearing the amazing crowd the first two games (at Pepsi Center). It always gives the team a boost, but did it bring you back to the early years with the Avalanche? Thanks!
Brad from Inverness, Nova Scotia
Adam: “The first two home games, especially with Joe’s ceremony, the fans were really into it early. It really helped us as players. In the second game I think they saw some explosive play from some of our younger players, especially Matt Duchene
, and I think everyone left that game happy. The fans definitely had some energy in that game, and they were two big wins for us.6. I'd like to ask Ryan O'Reilly what's his fondest memory from the Erie Otter Team?
Traci from Erie, Pennsylvania
Ryan: “While playing for the Otters, I scored the shootout winner in our own arena in front of the packed crowd. I made a nice move, buried it and it was the greatest feeling. Being a sold out place, the feeling of winning the game was tough to beat.”7. Well, October 8th is my birthday, so I am hoping my question gets picked. My question is for our new superstar, Matt Duchene. "If you weren't a hockey player, what would you want to do with your life?"
David from Cedar Park, TexasHappy Birthday, David! Did you know that Matt is really into music? In fact, his dad was in a popular country cover band, where he sang and played bass guitar. Not surprisingly, Matt’s answer is that if he wasn’t playing hockey, he’d probably be doing something related to music.
Matt: “Most likely I’d be in a band, partially because of my dad’s involvement with music. I learned to play guitar when I was 13 or 14 years old. I really loved it and picked it up pretty quick. I haven’t had a lot of time to get really good at it, but once I’m settled a little bit here, whether it’s this year or next year, I’m definitely going to get myself a really nice guitar and continue to learn.”