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The Official Site of the Colorado Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche Mailbag: Dec. 30

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
We’re back with the latest version of the Colorado Avalanche Mailbag, where players respond to fan questions.

As always, your questions are in bold. If we feel the need to provide some additional commentary or clarification, that will come in italics before the player gives his answer.

Now, on to the Q&A:

My question is for Matt Duchene,
Hey Matt, I have a question about a player’s aspect on winning and losing games. As a fan, I live and die with each game (e.g. if the Avs lose I have a bad day the next day). Is it the same way for a player? I'm sure you remember growing up as an Avs fan and living and dying with each win or different is it now that you are playing on the Avs? I watch every single game on Altitude via NHL Center Ice and I'm just wondering how the players feel afterwards.
Thanks for your time,
Matt from Clovis, California

“It’s actually not the same way anymore. It’s funny, because when you’re actually in the situation you have a better understanding of the game and how things happen out there. I think if you live and die with every game, you’re going to be on an emotional rollercoaster and it’s not going to be a good thing. Especially with a game like Monday night (against Detroit). Even though we lost we took a lot of positives away from that because there weren’t a whole lot of negatives there.”

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My question is for Paul Stastny:
What is a typical day like on the road? 
Julie, your biggest fan in Colorado Springs, Colorado

“Basically, we always fly out around 2:00 p.m. and land around 5:00, depending on the time zone we’re going to. You get to the hotel and throw on a pair of jeans. Usually I like to go to dinner early around 6:00 or 6:15, because I like to be back in my room by 7:30 or 8:00. Basically, me and my roommate, Ryan O’Byrne, just cave it up. We both watch our TV shows or movies on our computers. At about 9:30 or 10:00 we get a little snack, whether it’s a small sandwich or dessert. I usually go to bed right around 12:00, because usually when we’re on the road we practice a little later in the morning so we can sleep in until about 9:00.”

John-Michael Liles, I have a burning question for you!
In a "60 Seconds With..." feature last season, you mentioned that you had lost a tooth playing hockey, which surprised me, because we've never seen a gap in your smile! Which tooth did you lose, and did you get it replaced? (Also, from one Spartan to another: GO GREEN!)
Thank you!
Devon from East Lansing, Michigan

“I have a fake one right in front that doesn’t come out. I just got it capped because I didn’t lose the whole tooth. I got elbowed in the face and lost the tooth when I was about 12 years old. I guess there’s not a big story there or anything.”

My question is for Ryan O'Reilly. What was your favorite hockey team growing up and how does that change once you become an NHL player? Do you still like and admire that team or do you not care anymore since you're now a player of a team yourself?
Bethany, from Denver, Colorado

“Growing up I usually just followed the really good players. I really didn’t have a favorite team. I definitely liked Edmonton though, and Colorado was one of them. Once you get here, it’s a little different though. You live and breathe whatever team you play for. I definitely want to win a Stanley Cup and that’s all that matters, so I really don’t like any other teams.”

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Question to David Koci. Did you always think you would make it to the NHL? What made you decide to be a fighter?
Erik from Denver, Colorado

It’s been mentioned on before, but it’s an interesting story worth repeating. David actually grew up playing defense and continued in that position during his five years in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ organization. Only when he moved to the Chicago Blackhawks’ organization during the 2006-07 season did he begin skating as a forward on occasion. In fact, he’s only been playing the position on a full-time basis for three seasons now.

“It was always my dream to make it to the NHL. When I was a kid, I was always picking up NHL cards back in Europe, so I was always dreaming to play in the NHL. When I was playing in the minors with Pittsburgh for the first two years I recognized that if I started fighting and playing a more physical game, that would help me make the NHL. Back home I was kind of a stay at home defenseman, but in the minors I realized that if someone wanted to fight and I went with them, it would help me much more.”

To Dutch,
What music do you listen to prior to pre-game warm-up during away games when you sit on the bench?
Carl and Jakob from Vancouver, British Columbia

“I switch it up. I have a rotation of three playlists that I listen to. Anything from Green Day to Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean or Justin Moore. Anything like that.”

Who is the biggest prankster(s) on the team, and what have they done either on the ice, locker room, or in a hotel room?
Jaclyn from Denver, Colorado USA

Since Jaclyn didn’t ask a specific player, we decided to go to T.J. Galiardi for this one, as he’s been known to be on both the giving and receiving end of a few pranks over the past few seasons. Here’s what T.J. had to say:

“Actually, I’m up there for sure, because there’s not a time of the day when I’m not giving it to someone or messing with them.

“We don’t really do that much pranking, per se. I’d say Footie is up there. We don’t really do that much to people’s clothes or anything, but Footie has told me some stories from back in the day. One time they exchanged Paul Kariya’s bed with a crib on the road, because they joked with him all the time about being short. Footie cut Kariya’s jeans one time too because I think he kept wearing the same pair.

“Johnny Liles actually ruined a pair of my shoes last year. He wrote ‘39’ on the back of them, which could be a prank, I guess. They were brand new, and it was the first and last time I ever wore them. He also ripped off one of my shirts once; literally just ripped it right off because it had a sideways zipper on it. I guess Johnny is a pretty big prankster.”
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