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The Countdown Rolls On

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
The countdown is on and the excitement in the Avalanche’s locker room is growing.

With Tuesday’s skate at the Family Sports Center concluded, the Avalanche has only one more day of practice before opening its 2008-09 campaign on Thursday against the Boston Bruins at Pepsi Center (8:00 p.m.).

From the head coach on down to the players, everyone in the organization is eager to get things rolling.

“When the home opener is a couple days away, it gets you that much more excited about getting it underway,” said Avalanche head coach Tony Granato. “I thought we had a very exciting training camp. We got what we thought we would out of it as far as competition and depth. We had a lot of good things happening, so we should feel pretty good about ourselves heading into the season.”

Even Granato’s veteran players can’t wait for the puck to drop. Assistant captain Ian Laperriere – who is set to embark upon his 15th season in the NHL – insists that he still gets amped up for opening night each year.

“It never gets old,” said Laperriere. “It’s always fun and exciting for everyone. We’re starting at home and want to make sure we start off on a good note.”

Overall, the atmosphere in the locker room heading into Thursday’s opener is one full of optimism following a spirited training camp and a solid preseason.

“We’re here and we’ve had a really good training camp. I thought everybody worked hard,” said Sakic. “We’ve got a lot of speed and a lot of depth on this team. We’ll try to use our speed to our advantage with an up-tempo game.”

Roster Reductions
The Avalanche announced Tuesday that it has reduced its roster to 25 players following the reassignment of right wing Brian Willsie to the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League.

Colorado had previously reassigned defenseman Kyle Cumiskey to Lake Erie on Monday.

The NHL deadline for 23-man rosters is Wednesday (Oct. 8) afternoon.

Take Note
With Ottawa’s season-opening loss to Pittsburgh, the Colorado/Quebec franchise now owns the best winning percentage of any NHL club in season openers. Through the franchises first 28 seasons, the Avalanche/Nordiques have posted a 16-5-7 record in openers (.696). The Senators held the top spot heading into the 2008-09 campaign with a .700 winning percentage (8-2-5), but dropped to .688 following the loss.

Be sure to check back to this site Wednesday, as will provide an in-depth look at the success that both the Avalanche organization and its current players have experienced in season openers.
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