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This Week In Avalanche Hockey - Dec. 1

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche

All Times Mountain

Fri, Dec. 3 @ Carolina (5:00 p.m.)
Sat, Dec. 4 @ Tampa Bay (5:30 p.m.)
Tue, Dec. 7 @ Florida (5:30 p.m.)

They Said It...

 “Other guys are going to have to pick up that slack. It’s hard to have a guy out who is that important to your team, and it’s such a brutal way that it happened.”

-Sophomore center Matt Duchene, discussing the fractured hand that forward Chris Stewart suffered in a fight against Minnesota’s Kyle Brodziak

Photo of the Week

Stat Of The Week

Kevin Shattenkirk finished with 11 points (4g/7a) in 13 games during the month of November.  He was the first rookie defenseman with 11 or more points in November since 1991, when Nicklas Lidstrom (17) and Vladimir Konstantinov (13) accomplished the feat for Detroit.

Avalanche All-Access

This week on Avalanche All Access, Kyle Keefe and Julie Browman shop for holiday gifts at Belmar Shopping Center in Lakewood.  Also, we sit down with David Jones and learn about his path from the Ivy League to the NHL.  Plus, Cody McLeod gives a behind-the-scenes tour of the Avalanche Practice Facility.

It’s time for Colorado to hit the road again. After playing five of their previous eight games at Pepsi Center, the Avs begin a five-game East Coast road swing this week. Each of the five contests on the trip will come against foes from the Eastern Conference.

Colorado’s road trip will begin with a pair of back-to-back games this weekend. First, the Avalanche will face the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night. One player to keep an eye on will be rookie forward Jeff Skinner, who Carolina selected with the seventh overall pick at the 2010 Entry Draft. Through Tuesday’s games, Skinner leads all NHL rookies in assists (12), points (19) and power-play points (8).

The very next night, Colorado will square off with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts are led by Steven Stamkos, whose recent play has sparked debate over whether he should be included in the same breath as superstars Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. Stamkos is currently leading the league in goals (21) while ranking second in points (40) and is tied for fifth in assists (19).

The Avalanche will cap off the week with a Tuesday night contest against the Florida Panthers. Heading into Wednesday night’s games, Florida sits at the bottom of the Southeast Division with a 10-12-0 record (20 points). The Panthers, who are led offensively by Michael Frolik’s 13 points (4g/9a) don’t have any players among the top 100 scorers in the NHL, but they do have one of the League’s most respected netminders in Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun has appeared in 18 of the club’s 22 games, posting a 9-8-0 record with a 2.44 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.

The lineup Colorado will utilize during its upcoming road trip will likely look quite a bit different than the 20 players the club suited up just one week ago on a two-game swing through Vancouver and Edmonton.

The Avs made two trades this week, first acquiring 25-year-old defenseman Matt Hunwick from the Boston Bruins and then adding 26-year-old forward Tomas Fleischmann in a trade with the Washington Capitals. Hunwick made his Avalanche debut Tuesday against the Atlanta Thrashers, while Fleischmann is expected to suit up for Friday’s contest in Carolina.

Along with the new additions, Colorado is expected to get a few key players back from injury this week. Goaltender Craig Anderson, who has missed the team’s last three games with a groin injury, will likely be activated from the injured reserve list in time for this weekend’s road trip. Captain Adam Foote could also be joining the team on the road swing, which would add a stabilizing veteran presence to the Avalanche’s blue line.

-Defenseman Matt Hunwick made his Avalanche debut on Tuesday, one day after being acquired in a trade with the Boston Bruins. Colorado forward Kevin Porter is one player who was thrilled with the move, as he and Hunwick were teammates for three years at the University of Michigan.

-Speaking of Porter, he's one of the nominees for the Top Moment In Michigan Hockey History

-Three Avalanche prospects – Tyson Barrie, Joey Hishon and Calvin Pickard – are in the mix for Team Canada’s entry at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship.

-If you somehow haven’t heard the news by now, Avalanche forward Chris Stewart will be sidelined 4-6 weeks with a fractured hand suffered in a fight with Minnesota Wild forward Kyle Brodziak on Saturday.

-Colorado’s weekly Farm Report focuses on Lake Erie forward Ryan Stoa, who has recorded six goals in his past six games.

-Check out the top goals, hits and saves from around the NHL last week.

-Take a look at this great read by correspondent Arpon Basu, which celebrates the life and legacy of legendary coach Pat Burns.

-Can’t figure out what to get for that hockey fan in your life? has some fantastic – and unique – holiday deals.

-For the sixth year, Colorado Avalanche coaches are serving as Honorary Chairmen of the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign for those in need. 

-Check back to on Thursday, as we’ll be posting the next Colorado Avalanche Mailbag, where Avs players respond to fan questions.

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