All eyes will be on the Game 1 lineup when No. 8 Colorado submits its roster in the first-round series against No. 1 San Jose. Will Peter Mueller
be on that sheet is the question everyone wants answered.
Mueller's status is up in the air after he suffered a concussion last week in a game against, ironically, the San Jose Sharks
. Mueller missed the season's final four games, but coach Joe Sacco is hopeful that Mueller will be back in the lineup later this week.
"He's feeling much better," Sacco said earlier this week. "He's making very good progress."
That's good news for the surprising Avs, because they need Mueller in the worst way.
The 21-year-old has been a revelation since landing in the Mile High City at the NHL trade deadline a little more than a month ago. Mueller, who had fallen out of favor in Phoenix, hit the ground running in Denver and scored 20 points (9 goals, 11 assists) in his first 15 games with the Avs.
"In some situations, a change of scenery is just what players need. He fits well into our system, and he has been put into a situation of opportunity."
-- Colorado GM Greg Sherman
"In some situations, a change of scenery is just what players need," Avalanche general manager Greg Sherman told USA Today. "He fits well into our system, and he has been put into a situation of opportunity."
That is certainly true. It is not unusual for Mueller to get close to 20 minutes a night playing for Sacco after being severely limited under coach Dave Tippett
's system in Phoenix. Mueller even sees time on the point on Colorado's power play. He has delivered with three man-advantage goals during his tenure.
One of the reasons Mueller has fit in so well is because he sees a dressing room full of players just like him.
, the team's leading scorer, is just 24. Chris Stewart
is 22. T. J. Galiardi, 21. Matt Duchene
, a Calder Trophy candidate, is all of 19. This is, without a doubt, a youth movement that invades the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Avs certainly hope they have the services of Mueller from Day 1.