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Practice Report 10/01/07

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
The preseason is in the books, as the Avalanche finished off an impressive exhibition slate with a 4-0-2 record.

The team tied for first in the Northwest Division with 10 points despite playing the fewest preseason contests of any team in the division. Those 10 points also helped the Avalanche to a third-place tie in the Western Conference despite playing fewer games than any team which finished ahead or on par in points with the team.

In addition, Colorado showed a strong power-play, converting on 26.8% of its chances (11-of-41) to finish fourth in the league during the preseason, with 10 different players contributing goals with a man-advantage.

There were also several strong individual performances by Colorado’s players. Paul Stastny tied for second in the league with five goals and Jaroslav Hlinka tied for second with seven assists. Stastny’s nine preseason points also tied him for second overall.

“It’s been a good preseason, we’ve enjoyed it,” said Avalanche head coach Joel Quenneville. “We wanted to sustain the momentum we had. It’s time to play for keeps now. Our priority and focus is getting off to a strong start.”

Quenneville also said that Tyler Weiman will serve as Peter Budaj’s backup on Wednesday. The team will keep an eye on Jose Theodore, who has been progressing every day and is “very close” to returning to action, according to Quenneville. 

The Avalanche also announced the reassignment of Cody McCormick to its American Hockey League affiliate in Cleveland, bringing the current roster to 24 players. On Sunday the Avalanche reassigned forwards T.J. Hensick and Mark Rycroft to Cleveland.

Click here for the Avalanche's current roster

A Veteran’s Perspective:
Entering his 12th NHL season, Andrew Brunette is no stranger to the grind. caught up with Brunette after Monday’s practice to get his thoughts on the recently completed preseason and the start of the 2007-08 campaign.

On the preseason grind…
“It’s not like it used to be where it was a lot longer; at least it’s shorter now. As you play in this league longer, it becomes a little more of a grind.”

On starting with a clean slate…
“I think it’s really important for us to remember the feeling we had during the final 25 games last year and carry that into this year. We have to be ready for a good start. It’s really imperative to get off on the right foot.”

On the general feeling in the locker room…
“Everybody’s excited. I thought we had a decent preseason; we played pretty well. There are a few new parts we’re trying to get aligned, but overall we’re much deeper than we were last year. There are lots of things going for us offensively and we have to pay attention to the details of the overall game to make sure we start off right.”
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