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Colorado Avalanche Mailbag - Oct. 14

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
We’re back with the first Colorado Avalanche Mailbag of the 2010-11 season, 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 to the Q&A:

This question is for David Jones. With the unfortunate injury to Peter Mueller, the 2nd line LW spot opened up and you ended up seizing it. And like Mueller, you are a right hand shot, meaning you are playing on your off wing. What kind of adjustment did you have to make to play on the left side? Is your preference still to play on the right side? Here's hoping for a healthy season from you. Good luck!
Patrick from Armstrong, B.C.

It sure looks like David adjusted quickly to his new position, as he scored twice and added an assist during Tuesday’s 5-4 shootout win over the Red Wings. We’ve been in the locker room when different players were asked this question in the past and their answers have varied. Some wingers say it makes no difference which side of the ice they play on, while others feel it can be a pretty big adjustment. This is what David had to say:

“It’s definitely different. You’re looking over your shoulder on everything in your own zone. It’s definitely tougher since you would prefer to be on your forehand because you have a little more control that way. But I get a chance to play with some really good players like Matt Duchene and Milan Hejduk, so I’ll play whatever side they want me to. It’s definitely an adjustment, but it’s not something that’s too difficult to change.”

Here are my questions to Paul Stastny: 1. At what age did you start playing ice hockey? 2. What is your favorite sport besides ice hockey?
Luke from Torun, Poland

“I started skating probably around four years old. I didn’t start playing until I moved to New Jersey and started playing some club hockey, so I was probably five or five and a half.  Besides hockey, tennis and soccer are my favorite sports.”

Chris Stewart: A lot of great lines around the NHL in the past and present have really good nicknames to go along with them. Have you heard any good nicknames for your line of you, T.J. Galiardi and Paul Stastny? Also, do you have either a favorite line that you enjoyed watching when you were a kid, or was there a nickname for a line that you really liked?
Brad from Austin, Texas

“Why, is there something floating around out there? There’s nothing that I’ve heard of. I’ve got nothing for a nickname. As a kid, I really enjoyed watching Mats Sundin and Steve Thomas play together. Watching Stumpy Thomas and Sundin was probably my favorite combination because Mats was so huge and Stumpy was so small, so it was definitely a unique two-some to watch.”

For Matt Duchene: How did you come to get the opportunity to practice with Sidney Crosby and the others up in Vail?
Aaron from Westminster, Colorado

During his time in Vail, Matt was afforded the opportunity to train not only with Crosby, but also fellow NHL players including Jason Spezza, Ryan Malone, Craig Conroy, Steve Montador, John Tavares and Ryan Whitney.

“I’ve gotten to know Sidney over the last couple of years. We were talking over the summer about getting together at some point to train together, whether it was me going to his place in Nova Scotia or something else. The Vail thing was something that was thrown around for a while. They did it a few years ago and Sid’s trainer runs it, so they asked me to do it and I had a great time. It was good to spend time with that group of guys.”

Ryan O’Reilly: What specific activities do you seek to keep yourself conditioned for the regular season?
Vitor from Belem - PA – Brazil

“There are a few things I do. One of the main things that I really try to get in is to do yoga once or twice a week. It just involves your whole body and really gives you a cleansing. Besides that I do a lot of biking when I can and I run also. It’s just about trying to keep active. Stretching is also one of the big things that I do.”

My question is for Matt Duchene. Matt, after growing up as a fan of the Avs, and seeing the reunion of the 1996 Stanley Cup Champions, who is your favorite Avs player of that group?
Tanner from Stillwater, Oklahoma

“It’s probably a toss-up between Roy, Sakic and Forsberg. It’s funny, when I was young I was almost a goalie because of Patrick Roy. He was my first favorite player. Then, through the stages it became Sakic and then it became Forsberg. All of them were my heroes growing up, for sure.”

My questions are to Paul Stastny: 1. How much of a day to day influence does your Dad have on your game? 2. I asked this of Craig Anderson once - does it surprise you that you have such hardcore fans all the way down here in Australia?
Ryan from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

“Not so much day-to-day anymore. Growing up he had a lot of influence, but I think now with him being overseas and me playing almost every other day, he tries to call almost every other day to check in. If he watches a game he’s always got tips for me. He always hears about the games, but anytime he’s able to watch the game – when we have an afternoon game or if they show the replay in Europe – he’ll always give me tips. He was pretty influential growing up and he still is, and he will be throughout my career.”

“Yeah, it absolutely surprises me. I think hockey fans in general down there surprise me. The fact that we have Avalanche fans thousands of miles away is pretty cool and unique.”
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