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Avs Prepare for Detroit

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
After returning from a season-long six-game road trip last night, a handful of Avalanche players were on the ice Tuesday morning for an optional skate at Family Sports Center.

Colorado’s next opponent will come in the form of the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings. The Avs will be aiming for the franchise’s first series sweep of Detroit since the 1987-88 season. That year, the Quebec Nordiques won all three games against the Red Wings, outscoring them by a 12-8 margin in the process.

Colorado is 3-0-0 against Detroit this season, with one game being decided in regulation and the two others going to a shootout.

Detroit will come to Pepsi Center on the tail end of a back-to-back set, as the club plays in St. Louis tonight. Tomorrow’s contest will wrap up a three-game road swing for the Wings.

Noting Tomorrow’s Contest
Milan Hejduk is Colorado’s leading scorer against Detroit this season with four points (1g/3a) in three games, followed by Ryan Smyth’s three points (1g/2a)…Two of Ruslan Salei’s four goals this season have come against the Red Wings…Cody McCormick has skated against Detroit twice this year, notching two of his 11 points in those games (both assists)…Ben Guite has eight points this year (3g/5a), two of which have come against the Red Wings (1g/1a).

Trade Deadline Talk
Much of the locker room talk following today’s practice centered on the NHL’s upcoming trade deadline, which is set for Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. MT.

Avalanche assistant captain Ian Laperriere touched on his mindset leading up to the deadline and how it differs from previous seasons.

“Every year you hear your name here and there. This year is different because I’m a free agent at the end of the year,” said Laperriere. “I want to stay. It’s no secret. I’ve said that to everybody. I like it here. But again, it’s a business.”

Laperriere has seen enough during his 15 years in the NHL to know that one season doesn’t make a franchise. He noted that Colorado’s roster boasts a number of talented young players that could easily help the Avs bounce back to take the Northwest Division title in 2009-10.

“I like our future and I like our young guys,” Laperriere added. “You never know, with the parity in the league. You can have a bad year one year and the next year you can be at the top of your division. I believe in this team and this is where I want to play.”
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