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Colorado Avalanche Mailbag - March 25

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
We’re back once again with 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 provides his answer.

Let’s get right to the Q&A:
Bonus Mailbag Question
To view a bonus question from this week's Avalanche Mailbag, check out the Avalanche's Official Facebook Page.

There, center Paul Stastny discusses his solid play since returning from the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

My question is for Craig Anderson and Peter Budaj.  As goalies, what off-ice routines do you have in order to stay sharp both physically and mentally for games?  In the gym, do you focus on strength training, cardio, or both and what other tips would you give all the goalies out there?
Joey from Westminster, Colorado

Anderson: “It’s all about routine and getting into a rhythm that you don’t vary from so your body gets used to it. As long as you don’t do anything new, your body stays adjusted and you don’t get fatigued out there. As for the gym, you get enough cardio on the ice. For me it’s about keeping loose and limber. You’re not going to see any major strength gains during the season. It’s more about maintaining and doing what’s necessary for you to feel good.”

Budaj: “Obviously a little warm-up before the game or practice, with a good stretch. If I start the game that night, I’ll grab a tennis ball and throw it against the wall an hour before the game to wake up my hand-eye coordination. I also play a little soccer with the boys. I like to do cardio on my own, but I also work on explosive strength. Don’t do heavy squats or anything. Try to combine a leg workout with some jumps afterward to work on strength and explosiveness.”

Matt Duchene: I listened to your interview on NHL Live recently and heard you talking about your knowledge of hockey sticks. How did you become so interested in that particular piece of equipment? Did you collect sticks as a kid?
Milton from Westborough, Massachusetts

You’re right, Milton. Matt is a stick fanatic and can probably name the type of stick and describe the curve that most NHL stars use today. In case anyone missed the NHL Live interview with Matt, it can be found here.

Duchene: “When I was 11 or 12 years old, that’s when the one-pieces came out and I thought it was fascinating. I started watching what guys in the NHL were using. I wanted to become as good of a player as I could be and you have to use the best tools to do that. I tried to collect sticks, but I didn’t really have any extras as a kid. I had the ones I needed. I knew some kids who had a lot of sticks, but I basically got a new stick when I broke one. I would have loved to collect them but I didn’t really have the opportunity.”

This is for Matt Hendricks. I just watched one of the videos you hosted on Avalanche TV and came away impressed! Have you ever thought about going into TV or radio broadcasting when you retire (hopefully many years from now)?
Kat from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

Number 15 did a fantastic job hosting our video pieces at the Mile High Dreams Gala. If you haven’t watched the videos yet, some of the highlights include Matt trying to steal a Porsche (part 1), grilling T.J. Galiardi on his questionable blackjack strategies (part 2), providing play-by-play for a Wii basketball competition (part 3) and sharing some of his fishing stories (part 4).

Part 1 I Part 2 I Part 3 I Part 4

Hendricks: “Yeah, I definitely think that would be exciting. I had a lot of fun working on that video at the Gala. It would be very time-consuming but it would be a good job and a lot of fun for me.”

My question is for my favorite player, Paul Stastny. Paul, I know you were born in Quebec City. However, since most of your studies and your career have been spent in Denver, I was wondering whether you still visit the Old Capital once in a while? If yes, how often? Thank you!
Oleg from Montreal, Quebec

Stastny: “No, I haven’t been there in a while. The last time I was there was probably during the Quebec International Pee Wee Tournament when I was 13. My uncle Marian still lives there and I talk with him every now and then, but we’re so busy as a family that we never really get to go anywhere anymore. If we do, we go back to our parents’ native land of Slovakia.”

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This question is for T.J. Galiardi. What has made you become so successful on the penalty kill this season? Was there anyone who assisted you with this aspect of your game throughout your hockey career?
Wally from Calgary, Alberta

T.J. got pretty excited when he read your question, because he knows a Wally from Calgary. However, it was soon pointed out that there might be more than one person named Wally among the approximately one million inhabitants of his hometown. As for your question, what’s interesting is that T.J. never played on the penalty kill during his year at Dartmouth College, and only began to play there halfway through his one season skating for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. Basically, he’s still learning on the job.

Galiardi: “Last year I played the penalty kill in the American Hockey League and Joe Sacco actually taught me a lot about it. This year, Steve Konowalchuk has been huge for our penalty killers, especially for the young guys like me and Factor (Ryan O’Reilly). That’s one of the aspects he brought to the game as a player. I remember when he was in the Avalanche’s player development department and he came to watch one of my games in the WHL, he said I should focus on becoming the best penalty killer on my team and that’s what I did. He told me any aspect you can bring to the table will eventually help you get to the NHL. Eventually it paid off.”

Hey guys, my question is for Craig Anderson. Craig, a shootout is obviously a high pressure situation. Do you try and get yourself pumped up to make big saves or stay as relaxed as possible? And who's the best shooter you've faced this year?
Ollie from the United Kingdom

Anderson: “You have to be mellow. You can’t get too high or too low, and you can’t worry about what you can’t control. You can’t control if your guys can score, so you just have to worry about the players coming at you. Just try not to think, because problems happen when you start getting your mind involved. As for the best shooter, that would probably be Marian Gaborik.”

Hello to Kevin Porter. Kevin, it must have been a weird feeling to be traded for the first time, but it looks like you’re getting an opportunity to play in Colorado. Did you receive any indications or expect that you would be on the Avalanche so soon? We miss you in Ann Arbor!
Kellie from Ann Arbor, Michigan

Porter: “No, I really didn’t expect that. I didn’t expect the trade either. When it happened they called and told me I’d be in Lake Erie. I thought I’d be there pretty much the rest of the year. I was really hoping to get an opportunity here, so I’m just trying to take advantage of it now.”

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