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The Official Site of the Colorado Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche Mailbag: Jan. 13

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:

Matt Duchene,
What was your high school experience like?  Did you ever feel like you missed out on anything because of hockey?
Andrea from Highlands Ranch, Colorado

“A little bit, actually, but it’s a trade I would make any day of the week. The high school I went to back home was a lot of fun. I missed two years there and instead went to a school where I was really out of my element, but that’s part of the sacrifice that you make.”

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This is for Kevin Porter. Kevin, you’ve played many different roles (PK/PP) and on many different line combinations this season. Even some games when you haven’t received lots of ice time, you’re still playing on the power play and are sometimes out there at the end of games (like against the Islanders). Is this something that’s hard to adjust to, or is it kind of exciting and keeps you on your toes? Thanks!
Kelli from Warren, Michigan

“That’s something I wanted to be able to do, have the versatility to play on the power play, penalty kill, fourth line, first line, whatever. It gives the coaches more options I guess, and most of the time I play a little more because I can play in different situations. That’s something that I worked on in college and I think it’s a good thing.”

This question is to Paul Stastny.
I'm a student at DU and I was at the CC game last year when you came onto the ice with your silver medal and you had your Denver sweater on under the USA one (which was amazing by the way). I was just wondering if you go to any DU games when you aren't playing yourself, or would that simply be to much hockey?
Stephanie from Denver, Colorado

“I try to go to at least one a year, but we usually play the next night so when I do end up going I get home pretty late. A lot of times I just watch them on TV if I have a chance. I’ll go to games if I have a good buddy playing or if they’re playing a big rival like Colorado College or North Dakota. Usually I try to catch the CC game every year. Sometimes I’ll go if I have a buddy playing on the visiting team that I skate with in the summer. Gali has a brother that plays for Mankato, so if we’re in town we’ll go out there together to watch him play.

With so many languages (spoken) on each team, is it difficult for coaches and players to understand what is being communicated - especially during the short moments of a timeout?
Barb from Denver, Colorado

We actually posed this question to Tomas Fleischmann recently, but it didn’t end up getting used on the website. The common language of hockey is English at the NHL level, as just about every player in the league speaks or understands enough of the language to at least get by. Also notable is that English is the “official language” of the International Ice Hockey Federation – meaning that at major international events, like the recent World Junior Championship, all of the organization’s communication materials (rule books, etc.) are in English. Up until a few games ago, Fleischmann had been playing on a line with Matt Duchene and fellow countryman Milan Hejduk, and he said he would typically try to speak English, but would sometimes slip into his native language.

“What language you speak depends on the situation. If Dutchy or someone else needs to know, we speak English. If it’s something nobody else needs to know, we speak Czech. Yeah, it happens from time to time. But if it’s something that’s tough to explain in English, I don’t even try; I just use Czech with Milan.”

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I have a question I’d like to pose to David Jones. I’d like to know exactly how hard do you guys work on days when you don’t play? When do you show up to the rink, how long is practice, do you guys lift weights and do cardio too? Basically, take me through your day!
Jessie from Denver, Colorado

“It really depends. Some days, if we have games that are fairly spread out, we obviously go a little harder in practice. It’s also different at the beginning of the season compared to the end of the season. At the beginning of the season, you go hard because you’re trying to get back into game shape. During the course of the season you’re just out there for maintenance.

“At the beginning of the year we’re out there for about an hour. As we go along and have only a day in between games, we’re out there for 30 or 40 minutes. As far as working out, the same thing goes. At the beginning of the year you’re working out harder. After that, it’s maintenance just to make sure you’re keeping your weight on. It really varies, but it’s important to keep sharp.”

My question is for Matt Duchene.
Matt, I noticed that at the home games there are a lot of fans who make signs for you. Do you pay much attention to them? If so, what is the best/most memorable one that you've seen made for you so far?
Great job this season and keep up the awesome work!
Kate from Fort Collins, CO

Matt said, like most players, he only notices things like this during warm-ups, when the atmosphere is a little bit looser. Come puck drop, the focus is on the ice instead of in the stands.

“I’ve seen some of them. I’ve seen a few pretty funny ones lately. One girl dressed up in a wedding dress and had a ‘Matt, Will You Marry Me?’ sign. I thought that was impressive, because that’s dedication to the part there. Another one had something about me not wearing Superman pajamas, but Superman wearing my pajamas. Something like that. I thought that was pretty funny. When I looked up and saw it I had a pretty good laugh about it. They’re always fun to see.”

Hey Ryan (O’Reilly)! I was sorry to hear about your brother getting injured. How often do you guys talk during the season, and what advice or words of encouragement have you given him since he was hurt?
Kevin from London, Ontario

“We probably talk every week, just to see how each other is doing, and I watch his games whenever I can. Right after the injury I gave him a call and he was pretty shaken up, but the one thing he said is that he’s going to be fine. The doctors said he’ll have a quick recovery and he’ll heal fine. There wasn’t too much I could say since I’ve never really been in that situation. He’s a great player, and he’s going to come back and do great. I pretty much told him to rest up.”
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