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You asked the questions, now Avalanche defenseman Scott Hannan provides the answers in the latest edition of "Ask an Av".
My question is a bit technical, but I would like you to explain to us why it is difficult to play for a new team and adapt to the new game system, and if you do special things or "homework" on the new game plan to be as effective as possible. Anyway I wish you the best and hope you will enjoy great seasons for Colorado. Thomas from Anglet, South West, France. SH: I guess the toughest thing is just the systems. You’re coming into a new team and the systems we played in San Jose last year were a lot different than here. Coming here, you try to study and you have the coaches help you, but sometimes it’s just the habits you have. You played in one system for so long, so it’s just the reaction. That’s the hardest thing to overcome, just reacting to certain plays. There’s a different reaction here than there was before and it takes some time to get used to. But I think we’ve accomplished that. Hello Scott. I play defense in a rec league in Colorado and I want to improve my slap shot. What do you do to help improve accuracy and strength for your shot from the blue line? Dave from Colorado Springs, Colorado SH: The biggest thing is just to practice. As far as strength on your shot, a lot of that is in the wrist, the shoulders and the legs. You get a lot of power from down low, but the biggest thing when it comes to accuracy and strength is just shooting pucks every day. What's the toughest part about playing for long stretches on the road? Stephen from Chicago, Illinois SH: When you’re on the road for a long time the biggest thing is just not being at home. You’re eating out all the time, being on the plane, the travel, it can get tiring. You’re playing back-to-back games, you’re playing three in four nights, with travel included. Overall it’s tough mentally and physically to play on the road.
What was the biggest sacrifice you had to make in order to make it to the NHL? Patrick from Laramie, Wyoming SH: The biggest sacrifice would be not growing up at home with the family. I moved away at 16 years old to play junior hockey and pretty much haven’t been home since. Every summer you play hockey. I started playing pro at 19. I didn’t graduate from my home high school. It’s a sacrifice but it’s something that I enjoyed immensely. I had a lot of great times in juniors, making new friends and playing a lot of hockey. It was a great experience.
What does your schedule typically look like on a game day? Derek from Golden, Colorado SH: I wake up and grab something to eat and then get to the rink an hour and a half before the morning skate, do the stretch and get warmed up. I go out there and get in a quick skate before going back home and cooking myself up a meal, usually spaghetti or chicken. I might take a nap, and then get to the rink three hours before the game.
Hey Scott what is it like to have a former teammate in Tony Granato now be one of your coaches? Will from Loveland, Colorado SH: It’s been great. Tony was there my first years playing in San Jose. He was a great veteran guy for me and helped me out a lot. He actually ended up assisting on my first goal. We had some good memories and it’s been great having him here. He’s a great guy, always positive and great with the family. He’s been a big help. What was the biggest factor in making your final decision to sign with the Avalanche over any other team in the league? Clifford from Lisbon, New York SH: First and foremost we saw the team and where it was headed. They had some great young players and a good record at the end of the year. The professionalism was big as well. When I started talking to them on July 1st I was impressed by their focus, their ideas and what they had planned for me. That was big because I knew where I fit in with the team. Obviously Denver is a great place to live and I’d heard that from countless guys that have played here. I talked to Bryan Marchment, Joe Sakic and Tony. Those were things that helped the decision process.
In California, you loved surfing. What is your extra, physical sport in Colorado? Jeanne from Kelowna, British Columbia SH: I have yet to find it. Being from B.C. I was wakeboarding a lot and that kind of thing in the summer. Surfing was kind of the next stage, living in California. I’ll still be able to do that in the summers, but I like the outdoors here. I’ve always liked mountain biking, so I’m sure when the snow leaves I’ll get back into that.
Hello from Italy Scott! What was the biggest adjustment that you had to make when you made the move from San Jose to Denver? Steve from Montereale Valcellina, Italy SH: It was actually a pretty easy transition. I got a lot of help finding a place to live. As far as the weather, I was kind of expecting it, but it was nowhere near as bad as you think. It was actually a lot warmer a lot later than you really expect. Even the snow is kind of nice. I grew up in Vancouver, so the snow is great, but there really hasn’t been a huge adjustment.
If you could play any sport professionally other than hockey what would it be? Allison, Englewood, Colorado SH: Wow, that’s a good one. I grew up playing lacrosse, which I always thoroughly enjoyed, but pretty much any sport. I’d love to play golf as long as you’re at the top, but golf is such a tough game. I got into it a lot when I was younger and ended up getting away from it, but it was always a sport that when you’re good at seemed very enjoyable.
Thanks to everyone who sent in questions! I had a good time hearing from all of you!