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Colorado Avalanche Mailbag: March 10

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
We’re back with the latest edition 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, it will come in italics before the player gives his answer.

Now, on to the Q&A:

Anybody on the Avalanche team:
At this point in a season, when a team is struggling and the playoff picture doesn't seem likely, what does a team have to do in order to stay positive?
Allie from Denver, Colorado

We were speaking with Brandon Yip for another website piece and decided to throw this question his way as well.

“It’s tough to stay positive at points, especially when we’re losing like we are. But being positive is a key part that’s going to bring us out of this slump. We still have lots of games left, so you never know what can happen. We’re going to try to get on a roll here. If we end good, then next year it will be that much easier to get back into it and get off to a good start. We haven’t really been doing it lately, but we have to start playing for each other. There are a lot of guys in here that want to have a job here next year, including myself, and we want to play for everyone in this room.”

Question for Brian Elliott.  Can you explain what is painted on your helmet and why you chose it?
Betty from Colorado Springs, Colorado

“I have Casey Jones from the Ninja Turtles on the side. I always liked the Ninja Turtles growing up, so I wanted something on my mask that I could have there for a while. A hockey player turned vigilante, which is pretty cool. He also wears a goalie mask. On the back I have a moose with a ‘Mr. Moose’ license plate. That’s for my dad’s friend that passed away. He was a world-champion moose caller and had ‘Mr. Moose’ on his license plate and a mural of moose all over his big Dodge truck. On the back I have the Canadian flag because I’m from Canada and the U.S. flag from playing in the U.S. a lot. I also keep the Wisconsin ‘W’ there because the school did a lot for me and I still try to support them. On the side I obviously have the Avs symbol, and my nickname is on the front.”

I’d like to ask Jay McClement about the Avs’ Charity Brunch. Jay, I’ve always wanted to go to that event, but have never been able to for different reasons. Being that this was your first time partaking in the festivities, what did you think about it? Also, did you do anything similar to this with the Blues?
Wendy from Aspen, Colorado

“It was a well-done event and it was fun to spend time with the kids who were there. The little nine-year-old girl I was paired with had a liver transplant when she was less than a year old. She’s doing great now and it was fun to spend time with her and her family. She had a great personality and it was awesome to see that she’s one of the many success stories out there. For the kids to be able to get a new outfit and walk on the runway is exciting for them. It was great for the kids, great for the families and the money raised goes to good cause.

“In St. Louis it was a different setup. We had a big event every year that was for a place called the Dream Factory, which helps families that have kids with long-term illnesses that puts a clamp on their lives. They send quite a few families every year to their dream vacation, and the kids get to pick where they go. We did that every year, so it’s similar in that you get to see kids and hear their stories. It’s tough on the families as well.”

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To Paul Stastny: Paul, Ryan Stoa is now on the injured list after getting his appendix removed. I seem to remember that you had this same procedure a couple of years ago, right? For those of us lucky enough to still have our appendix, what was that situation like for you? Can you describe what you went through?
Thomas from Topeka, Kansas

That's exactly right, Thomas. Paul underwent the same procedure in January of 2008, causing him to miss what would have been his first appearance at the NHL All-Star Game. He was sidelined for a total of 15 games while recovering.

“In the middle of the night I felt a sharp pain in my lower stomach, but I didn’t think too much of it because it would go in and out. The next day we had practice and as it went on, I felt that sharp pain and it almost felt like I was holding in pee really bad. It just felt like it was getting bigger and bigger and I felt more bloated. By the end of practice I felt like it was about to explode. Someone would touch my stomach and it was an unbearable pain. I think if you feel it early and you’re not too sure and then wait too long, once it explodes it’s a lot more dangerous. There’s a cause for concern of it getting infected, so you want to get it before it explodes. That’s what happened to me and what happened to Stoa.

This question is for any player who wants to answer it:
Sometimes, when a player is taking a shot they will bend down deep in their knees. Brett Hull did this a lot. What is the advantage of the deep knee bend compared to a regular shot when the player does not bend the knees so much?
Bob from Evergreen, Colorado

We took this question to Kevin Porter, who has a career-high 12 goals this season and is also a former Hobey Baker Award winner at the University of Michigan, where he notched 85 goals in 162 career games.

“I think you just get more power behind it, a little more leverage and a little more flex on your stick. I don’t know for sure, but I feel like I get a harder shot off when I get low like that, mostly because of the leverage, I’d guess.”

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Hey, David Jones!  I went to Dartmouth at the same time as you did and although I never got a chance to meet you, I always loved watching you play (and I love that you still wear the green Dartmouth mouth guard). What was your favorite memory of playing for the Big Green? Thanks!
Kyle from Jacksonville, Florida

“It’s tough to really pinpoint one thing. I think wining the Ivy League title and the ECAC title the year we did might be it. I don’t think they had won an ECAC title in 20-something years. It’s cool to go back there and have a couple of banners hanging and be able to say you were a part of something that’s lasting. Away from the rink it was meeting life-long friends. I talk to the guys I went to school with more than anyone. Great people, great families. That’s probably the biggest part away from the rink.”

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