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Stewart Stays The Course

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
After three straight days of scrimmages during training camp, followed directly by the Burgundy/White Game and preseason contests against Dallas and St. Louis, the Avalanche hit the ice for practice Saturday morning at South Suburban Family Sports Center.

Colorado (1-1) is preparing for its third preseason contest, a 7:00 p.m. Sunday contest at Pepsi Center against the St. Louis Blues (2-0).

It will be the third of six preseason games for the Avs. After tomorrow’s tilt, Colorado’s next game will be a Sept. 23 matchup with the Los Angeles at Pepsi Center.

Stewart Stays The Course
Don’t expect Avalanche winger Chris Stewart to alter his game much this season. After all, why mess with what’s worked in the past?

Although he concedes that there’s obviously room for growth as he fine-tunes his skill set, the power forward expects to fill the same role with the Avalanche in 2009-10 as he did last season after being recalled from the Lake Erie Monsters.

In 53 NHL games, Stewart finished as the Avs’ top rookie scorer with 19 points (11g/8a) while also racking up 54 penalty minutes and eight fighting majors.

“I think I had a pretty good rookie season, especially considering the state the team was in,” said Stewart. “With all the injuries, I definitely had a chance to step up, and I feel like I did that. I’m looking forward to this season.”

With a solid rookie campaign already in his back pocket, it’s obvious the Toronto native isn’t satisfied with simply holding down a roster spot in the NHL.

As proof, the 21-year-old hired a personal trainer this summer to train with for a few hours each day. He also skated three or four times per week, and did some on-ice work with his older brother, Anthony, who signed a free agent contract with the Atlanta Thrashers during the offseason after skating in 105 NHL games with the Florida Panthers over the past four seasons.

“Every summer me and my brother and another buddy go away to a hockey camp for a week before we come into training camp,” said Stewart. “I definitely think that’s what gets us prepared.”

Roster Reduced
The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced Saturday that it has reduced its 2009 preseason roster to 29 players.

The following players will be reassigned to the club’s American Hockey League training camp: 

Pos.      Player                        Team (League)
C           Philippe Dupuis       Lake Erie (AHL)
D           Brian Fahey               Lake Erie (AHL)
RW       Darren Haydar          Lake Erie (AHL)
C          Justin Mercier            Lake Erie (AHL)
D          Kevin Montgomery    Lake Erie (AHL)
D          Wes O’Neill                Lake Erie (AHL)
C          Marty Sertich              Lake Erie (AHL)
D          Brett Skinner              Lake Erie (AHL)
RW      Brian Willsie               Lake Erie (AHL)
RW      Brandon Yip                Lake Erie (AHL)

Previously, the Avalanche reassigned goaltender Trevor Cann (Lake Erie) and Cameron Gaunce (Mississauga) on Friday.

On Thursday, Colorado reassigned a total of eight players, sending forward Codey Burki, defensemen Matt Clarke and Ray Macias, and goaltender Billy Sauer to the Lake Erie Monsters’ training camp, while also reassigning forward Kelsey Tessier (Quebec) and defensemen Tyson Barrie (Kelowna), Joel Chouinard (Victoriaville) and Stefan Elliott (Saskatoon) to their respective major junior teams.

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