Thu, Oct. 7 vs. Chicago (7:35 p.m.) Mon, Oct. 8 @ Philadelphia (5:00 p.m.) Tue, Oct. 12 @ Detroit (5:30 p.m.)
They Said It...
"We're going to come out rocking and rolling. To have those guys in the building puts a lot of pressure on you, but also gives you motivation."
-Defenseman Kyle Quincey, on having the 1996 Stanley Cup team in Pepsi Center on Opening Night
Photo of the Week
Altitude Sports & Entertainment will be running its Avalanche All-Access Season Preview show through Sunday, Oct. 10.
Kyle Keefe, Mike Haynes and Peter McNab are in studio to break down the upcoming Avalanche season. Julie Browman examines the “5 Burning Questions” facing the Avs this season. Also, Marc Moser sits down with head coach Joe Sacco to discuss “Year 2” under the coach. Brian Engblom also stops by the studio to break down the teams to watch in the Western and Eastern Conferences.
I. THE STORYLINE Can you think of a better way to open the season? The Colorado Avalanche will begin the 2010-11 campaign by hosting the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks at Pepsi Center on Thursday. Not only will the Avs be the first team to host the Hawks in a regular season game since Chicago claimed the Stanley Cup title, but the game will also be televised nationally on VERSUS and will feature what’s sure to be a show-stopping reunion of the Avalanche’s 1996 Stanley Cup Championship squad. II. WHAT’S ON TAP As mentioned, the Avalanche will begin the season by hosting Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and the rest of the Blackhawks on Thursday at Pepsi Center (8:00 p.m.). The Blackhawks were in the headlines for a big chunk of the offseason, due in large part to the roster changes they were forced to undergo as a result of salary cap issues. While the club was able to keep its superstars in the fold, it lost much of its supporting cast, including Kris Versteeg, Dustin Byfuglien and Antti Niemi. No small losses, to be sure.
The string of big games continues on Monday, when the Avalanche will travel to Philly to take on the Eastern Conference Champion Flyers. Yes, that means the Avalanche’s first two games of the regular season will come against last year’s Stanley Cup finalists.
One night after playing the Flyers, the Avs will head to Motown for a Tuesday evening tilt against the Detroit Red Wings. Needless to say, the Avalanche won’t exactly be “easing into” the season.
III. NEWS OF THE WEEK Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware that there will be some special visitors at Pepsi Center on Opening Night.
The Avalanche will celebrate the 15-year anniversary of the 1995-96 Stanley Cup championship team with a special two-day reunion, which culminates on Thursday when the coaches and players from that squad will be honored with a pre-game ceremony.
The puck doesn't drop until approximately 8:00 p.m., but be sure to be in your seats at 7:35 p.m. for the pre-game ceremony.
Lest you forget (or if you’re a young Avalanche fan), the 1995-96 season was the Avalanche’s first campaign in Denver after relocating from Quebec. In their first year in the Mile High City, the Avs posted a 47-25-10 regular-season record and then defeated the Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings en route to a berth in the Stanley Cup Final. There, they swept the upstart Florida Panthers in four games to claim Colorado’s first major professional sports championship.
Twenty six players and staff members from that 1996 squad will be in attendance for the Oct. 6-7 reunion.
IV. IN CASE YOU MISSED IT -Joe Sakic and Claude Lemieux were recently on a conference call to talk about the 15-year reunion of the Avalanche’s 1996 Stanley Cup team. Previously, Peter Forsberg was on a conference call to discuss the same subject.