Not often during tightly packed NHL season do teams go four whole days without playing a game, but that’s exactly what the Avalanche has experienced lately. The club will host the New Jersey Devils in an afternoon tilt on Saturday at Pepsi Center after last seeing action on Jan. 11 in Calgary.
Discounting the Olympic break in February, the only other hiatus as long on the Avs’ schedule came right at the beginning of the campaign. Colorado played Vancouver at Pepsi Center on Oct. 3 and then traveled to Nashville for an Oct. 8 contest which opened a seven-game road swing.
The biggest downside to having extended time off is that you have no control over the standings when you’re not on the ice. While the Avalanche was alternately resting and practicing, the other Northwest Division contenders were still playing. Other than Edmonton, each team in division now has played as many or more games than the Avalanche, yet Colorado still remains the division leader heading into Friday’s games.
“It’s going to be a dog fight all the way until the end,” said Craig Anderson. “There are some great teams in the West, especially within our division. You never know, one point or two points could be the difference at the end of the year.”
Turning to something they can control, the Avs will face off tomorrow against a New Jersey squad that sits atop the Eastern Conference with 65 points.
For almost two decades now, Martin Brodeur has been the face of the Devils’ franchise. And now, even at the age of 37, the netminder is still one of the league’s elite. The four-time Vezina Trophy winner currently leads the NHL in games played (43), minutes (2,518), wins (29) and shutouts (6) while ranking fifth in goals-against average (2.14).
“I don’t think there’s really any recipe to beat him other than put the rubber on him,” said defenseman Scott Hannan. “If we keep throwing the puck at him, get a few bounces and get traffic in front of him we’ll be alright.”Claude Lemieux Night
The Avalanche Alumni Association will honor for Colorado (and New Jersey) forward Claude Lemieux tomorrow afternoon before the Devils game. Lemieux’s career will be celebrated with a video tribute and ceremonial puck drop. For more on Lemieux’s career, click here
.Kyle Quincey…Movie Star?
If the whole hockey thing doesn’t pan out former defenseman Kyle Quincey (and that’s a long shot), maybe he has a fallback career choice in Hollywood.
This past April, Quincey was on-hand for the shooting of the upcoming 20th Century Fox movie “The Tooth Fairy.” The film, which stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a hard-hitting hockey player who is sentenced to work as a real tooth fairy, opens nationwide on Jan. 22.
“There were only a few guys left in town after the season and they needed some guys to walk with the players onto the bench for one of the scenes,” said Quincey. “If I’m in there, it’ll be about a three second shot. I just walked from the locker room to the bench. Billy Crystal is in the stands and the Rock goes and talks to him.”
And how was it, sharing the screen with someone who was once dubbed “the most electrifying man in sports entertainment”?
“Talking to him in between shoots was good,” said the defenseman. “He played for Calgary in the CFL (Canadian Football League), so we have something in common as athletes. He’s a good guy and down to earth.”