Sunday will be the end (thankfully) of the season for the Colorado Avalanche. It could well be the end of an era as well. The Joe Sakic era. If Jakeleg Joe manages to get his body up to par, or even 80%, and decides to hit the ice this weekend, I will be there to see what may be his last NHL game. Last season I disgustedly left the last game of the year, that disastrous performance against the hated Red Wings, in the middle of the game. Never thinking twice that it might be Sakic’s last game. I was horrified to hear the reports that he had asked to be on the ice for the last shift. I realized as everyone did that we might have seen the last of him. Well, I won’t make that mistake this time. Besides, it can’t be worse than that was, even the stupid Wings fans around us felt bad for us, it was such a whipping.
A farewell to Ian Laperriere may be in order as well. He and the Avs management seem to be having some difficulty in agreeing on a salary for next year. Lappy was recently quoted by Aaron Lopez of InDenverTimes.com. Asked if he would take less money to stay in Denver and attempt to help the Avs return to respectability, Laperriere was his usual honest self.
“I think I’ve played all my career on discounts,” he told me after a recent practice. “I’ll leave it at that.”
Now does that mean Lappy is digging his heals in and is tired of playing for a discount? Or is it an acknowledgement that he feels he has to fight this battle every time contract talks start? It’s difficult to know, but being a guy that was drafted in the 7th round; he has been fighting (literally) for a decent salary his whole career. Is Lappy looking for the most bang for the buck on what is likely his last contract in the NHL? The Avs (stupidly) may not be willing to pay him. That may mean “It’s (gonna be) All About Cody”.
Now, the followers.
Tyler Arnason, Andrew Raycroft, and Brian Willsie are just a few of the guys that should not be invited back to this dismal squad. Unfortunately, with the apparent cap space that the Avs don’t have, they may have to shuffle in different, gritty, under-performing, well-traveled guys. That statement isn’t completely hopeless. Chris Stewart appears to have made a very nice transition onto the Avs this season and I fully expect to see him stay in Denver and never go back to Erie. This is a pleasant surprise; I really thought Stewart was going to be a bust. Two years ago he was sent back to Erie before training camp was even wrapped up! Last year he stuck around longer but there sure wasn’t much buzz about our #1 pick from 2006. He looks to be a much better asset than Arny or Willsie.
Now this may or may not be true at the goal position. The guys down in the minors may get a real chance to play in the big leagues. But that may lead to another season like this one in the nets. It’s always a guessing game when it comes to goalies making the transition from the minors to the majors. So do the Avs trust in that transition or go sign a UFA goalie with “potential”?
Posted by: From the Point