We’re back with another edition of the Colorado Avalanche Mailbag, a bi-weekly feature that lets fans connect with their favorite players and ask them a question.
With so many great questions it was hard to pick out just a few for this week’s Mailbag. Check below to see if your question made the cut this week.
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:Hello! This question is for Matt Duchene: Now that you've secured a position on the team are you disappointed at all that you won't be representing Canada in this year’s World Juniors since you didn't get the opportunity last year?
Voula from Weyburn, SaskatchewanWhile every situation is different, it’s not completely unheard of for NHL teams to allow their young players to take a brief leave from the team to compete in the World Juniors (Kings' forward Oscar Moller is a recent example, as he played for Sweden at the 2009 World Junior Championship). That being said, more often than not NHL teams will hold onto their junior-eligible players through the tournament, feeling it’s better for them (and the team) if they’re playing NHL games. Matt, who couldn’t participate in last year’s tournament due to a shoulder injury, says it hasn’t crossed his mind too often.
“I don’t know. Maybe a little bit. I haven’t thought about it too much since I’ve been here. The ultimate goal has always been to be here in Denver. I haven’t thought too much about World Juniors. Every now and then guys miss out on it like I did last year. Obviously it was disappointing but this is where I want to be and where I want to stay.”To Kyle Cumiskey: It’s really fun watching you fly around on the ice. You have to be one of the fastest skaters in the league. My question is when did you first know your speed could be such an asset? Were you always the fastest player on your team? And what did you work on to become so fast?
Dan from Tempe, Arizona
“I’ve always been a smaller guy, so skating is something I’ve always needed to move on in the game. It’s something that’s helped me through my career, for sure. Every summer I still work on my skating. My technique is the main thing I focus on, along with my leg strength.”I would like to formulate a question to Marek Svatos. I am writing this e-mail from Portugal (a small country in Europe). One of my childhood dreams was to play in the NHL. I would like to ask Marek how hard is it, for a European born player, to reach the NHL. And what are, in your opinion, the main features a player should have to reach the NHL?
Paulo from PortugalMarek says that playing on Under-16 and Under-17 national teams really helped him to gain more exposure, which led to him being drafted by Kootenay of the Western Hockey League. Things took off from there, but that’s essentially how he caught his “big break.”
“It’s a long road. I got a chance to play juniors in North America, so the scouts and the teams get to see you. That’s really important. It’s especially important to play internationally when the scouts are coming. It can be about timing too. Sometimes you need to play the right game at the right time and have a little bit of luck too.”This is for Scott Hannan. Scott, I read that you live in Kelowna during the offseason, which is where I live too. I actually have two questions. What are your favorite things to do in Kelowna during the summer, and how has it been playing with your new defensive partner, Kyle Quincey?
Arin from Kelowna, B.C.
“I’ve lived in Kelowna since 2000. I like to go out on the boat and hang out on the water. I do a lot of wake surfing, basically anything I can do on the water. I try to get out there as much as I can.
“As far as Kyle Quincey, he’s been a great partner. He reads the play very well and has a great shot. I think we’ve really been able to play off each other’s strengths. I can give him the opportunity to jump up into the rush, and he’s great at reading the play. It’s easy to read off him, so I think we work well together.”My question is for Adam Foote and Darcy Tucker. I know that you both have children, but have things at home changed by having teenagers living with you? Has the family adjusted? Thanks, and I hope you both have a great season!
Rebeca from Keenesburg, ColoradoWe didn’t have a chance to ask Adam his thoughts on living with Matt Duchene, but we did catch up with Darcy, who is housing rookie Ryan O’Reilly this year. Here’s Darcy’s response:
“I don’t think it’s much different actually. There’s been no real adjustment. We’ve enjoyed having him and it’s been a pleasure, not only for him to move in with a family where things are stable, but for my kids as well. They’re having a blast playing with Ryan. He’s great with the young boys. He’s got a nice setup downstairs.”This is a question for Matt Duchene. During the draft this summer, I read that one of your favorite players is Sidney Crosby. Are you looking forward to playing against him on December 3rd in Pittsburgh? I hope you have a great season! Keep up the awesome work!
Erin from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
“It’s going to be awesome to play against him in Pittsburgh. He and I know each other a little bit already. He called me the day of the draft and also did a commercial at our rink in Brampton, so I got to know him a little bit. I also met him in Pittsburgh during the Stanley Cup Finals last year. He’s an awesome guy and an unbelievable player. I know that when I play him, or even sitting on the bench and watching him play, I can learn so much from him.”