It's time once again for the Colorado Avalanche Mailbag, where the Avalanche's 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 provides his answer.
Now, let’s get started with the Q&A:
Chris Stewart: I’ve often read or heard you and other players talk about playing “four point games.” What exactly does that mean? I know that if you win in overtime, you get two points and the other team gets one. Where is this other point?
Heather from Denver, Colorado
“I can see how it could be a little confusing. Four-point games are big games when you’re playing a team in your division. If you get the two points, it’s also two points that the other team doesn’t get. So, physically it’s not four points, but those division games matter a lot more than a game against an Eastern Conference team. The other games in your conference are big too, but those four-point games in your division are the biggest.”Hey guys, it’s been fun watching the team this year. This question is for anyone. What do you find the best things are to eat from a nutritional aspect and what is a good workout program to get on? I am in the Air Force and I want to start eating healthier and working out, I just don’t know what to do.
Chris from Aurora, ColoradoTo answer your question, we went to defenseman John-Michael Liles. Like all NHL players, Johnny is in great shape, plus his brother is in the Navy (currently overseas in the Middle East), so we figured his answer might be of interest to you. Also, check out the Oct. 22 Mailbag, where Wojtek Wolski talked about his offseason workout and how he changed his nutritional intake.
“I think the best thing is to make sure to eat healthy. Stay away from fast food and go with a lot of fresh veggies and fruits. For me, I eat what I want but I eat it in moderation most of the time. I just make sure at home that my fridge is always full of vegetables and fruits. When you’re hungry and that’s all you have, you’re going to eat those.
“Practices are workouts for us and we also have workouts before practice. In the summer, most guys work out five or six days a week, focusing on both strength and conditioning. Certain guys stick to conditioning a lot more, but others try to add strength, so it depends what you’re looking for. If you’re trying to get bigger you work on strength, but if you’re trying to maintain weight and still get stronger then you’ll try to do a little more cardio with weight training.This question is for Scott Hannan. At the start of the season all the experts picked the Avalanche to be near the bottom of the Western Conference, which hasn't been the case. Did their criticism motivate you guys? Do you think that helped you get to where you guys are right now, currently leading the division?
Duncan from Toronto, Ontario
“It’s always good motivation when you hear people say you’re going to be at the bottom. It’s always nice to prove those experts wrong. It was motivation for us at the start and now we just have to keep it going. We’ve been playing a lot of good hockey lately and we’re in a good battle for the division.”For Wojtek Wolski: Good job on your first fight against Sullivan. Could you tell us what went through your mind before and during that fight? Did your teammates say something about the fight after the game? Good luck and thank you.
Carmela from Manila, PhilippinesIt’s true that Wojtek’s fight against Nashville’s Steve Sullivan was his first in the NHL, but like most hockey players he’s also had a few in the past. He said many happened during his younger years and probably fall into the “boys will be boys” category. However, he said he was also involved in a scrap during an exhibition game while playing junior hockey in Brampton. Here’s what Wojtek had to say about his fight with Sullivan:
“I think before the fight I was kind of a little angry and revved up, just because of what happened right before. I was trying to grab anyone that was around. After the fight I was very tired. I didn’t expect it to be so exhausting, but I was happy that everything went well and I stood up for myself. The guys loved it. They always love that kind of stuff. It was my first one, so I guess they were happy and I was happy to get it out of the way.”This is for any player I guess. I meant to write in to the last mailbag, but didn’t get my question to you in time. My family and I had such a great time watching the Winter Classic this year. It’s become a family tradition for us. My question is, how much would it mean to you to play in a Winter Classic, and if you could choose, which team would you like to play against?
Dena from Broomfield, Colorado
We decided to get a few different opinions on this one, with forwards T.J. Galiardi and Cody McLeod chiming in.
Galiardi: “Hypothetically, if it was here in Denver, I think it would be pretty cool to play Detroit because of the rivalry. It would mean a lot to play in a game like that. It would be unbelievable. A lot of guys will never get to play in one of those, so it would be pretty special. You hear the talk that it’s possible we might get one someday, and you just cross your fingers because it would be very special.”
McLeod: “To play in one would be awesome. I think it would be a great experience to play hockey outside. If I could choose to play against a team, I’d probably pick any of the Original Six teams. If you made me pick one, I’d probably have to say Montreal.”I’d like to ask Ryan O’Reilly a question. Hey Ryan! I’ve seen pictures of you and T.J. Galiardi where it appears you are throwing pucks onto the ice before games. What’s the story behind this?
Keanan from Colorado Springs, ColoradoAs many people know, athletes can turn just about anything into a competition. The ritual you described is just another example of that competitive nature.
“I don’t know…we just started to do it before games at some point. It’s just a little challenge we have. It’s just a little ritual that gets the competiveness going before the game and helps us get our minds ready. At Pepsi Center, we throw pucks to see who can get closest to the Pepsi logo on the middle of the ice. Whoever gets the closest or has the most pucks in there wins.”