Monday, September 20, 2010

Avs Training Camp Report

Day two was a far more spirited affair than day one. It was also in the rink with very limited seating. But the advantage to this rink is the access the Avalanche illuminati have to the rink. Their little private perch in the corner, full of Avs brass is enough to make any prospect skate twice as hard and hit and score and do all those things hockey players do. Including running every rookie on the ice, apparently for the hell of it. I’m looking at you Koci. You, the guy that is alienating your already sparse fan base.

Speaking of the training camp experience. It’s cool that the fans get to come in for free and all, but it really is getting pretty crowded. I suggest if you are standing there talking about golf for three hours, hell, for 10 minutes while a scrimmage is on, you should do it some where else and let someone else in to see the Avs camp!

To enforce this the Avs can take a couple of those ticket sales people up front and have them patrol the isles. Anyone not intent on the scrimmage is out! I mean the ticket reps don’t have much else to do!

Cause this year the slogan is “It’s all about the Fans!” 

Well it ought to be...


I admit to watching the defense more closely than the offense, mainly because the offensive prospects haven’t changed much from last year or just don’t have a shot to make it this year.

Training camp flop: Kevin Shattenkirk
Wow, for all the hype surrounding this kid I didn’t see a thing! I picked him out of the crowd on nearly every shift during scrimmage and most of my ratings were OK and one was Bad. I watched him lose the puck at the blue line resulting in a rush to his end and a goal. Later in the day I rated him Good most of the time and Better on a shift where he brought the puck in and shot on goal.

On day 2 Shattenkirk was again up and down. I saw one nice steal and an outlet. But it was mostly a down day. Good players get the puck and make something happen. I noticed Shattenkirk spending a lot of time apparently ensuring that he was in sound positional placement, but doing little else. When he did get the puck, especially late in the day he was sloppy, hesitant and often deferred to his defensive partner, Scott Hannan, allowing him to make the play.

As for the regulars: Ryan Wilson was solid but nothing spectacular, Liles looked sharp and Hannan was playing his usual, unadorned and steady style. Foote looked good. Kyle Cumiskey was reported to be out with a groin injury.

That leaves Quincey. Last year I was thoroughly unimpressed with Kyle Quincey in training camp and yet he had a decent season. However, the fact that Quincey was suddenly in Sacco’s doghouse late last season has me wondering. Then there is this snippet from rookie camp of some interesting occurrences on the ice involving Quincey. On day two Quincey was as interested in dropping the gloves with his future teammate (Winnik) as he was in playing defense. Put it all together and I’m just slightly concerned that the guy might have a bit of an attitude at times. Hopefully it never turns into anything significant.

The top nine on this team is all but set but I expect we will see a lot competition though the year at the wing position for the top lines. Is Galiardi really a first line wing? Yip, Jones and even Mueller are likely to battle for this position and Mueller has the early lead by the looks of it in training camp. But Mueller and Duchene seem to have good chemistry so he may not enter into the fray much.

But I thought Galiardi looked good. Fast skating and quick hands and concentrating a lot on the game with the puck. I like to see that because a lot was made of the game he was playing so well in some opponent’s heads last season. And while that can be valuable, I like to see it on the ice as well.

Ryan O’Reilly was also looking good during camp and the leftovers from the Battle for the top Two Lines will, regardless of the outcome, leave him with some considerably better line mates than what he was working with last season. The Avs should have a third line that will be able to score often enough to make teams pay attention.

All the regulars looked good, except I thought Yip and Jones looked only average on day one, but stronger on day two. Other players that looked good were Greg Mauldin, Matt Ford, Travis Gawryletz and Troy Rutkowski. Too bad none of them have a shot in Hell of making this team on opening day.

So that leaves the 4th line guys. McLeod looked fine and we got a look at the new acquisition, Daniel Winnik. On day one I thought: Winnik is big, looks competent enough to play forth-line time, but does he have heart? Matt Hendricks is the type of player that is easily replaceable on paper but perhaps not so much in the locker room. We’ll see, but the Avs appear to have little room in THEIR hearts or their budget for guys that have won over the fans with heart, note Ian Laperriere and now Hendricks.

On day two I saw a couple things that I saw on day one from Winnik. But on day one I wasn’t sure I wanted to give him credit yet. But as day two rolled along those things were there again. So I hope that the Avs have indeed acquired a defensive forward that is aggressive on the fore check and bonus, effective. He doesn’t just press the defense; he steals the puck or makes them cough it up. Very nice.

Who gets these last two offensive spots (if indeed there are two, I doubt it) is anybody’s guess. No one was particularly outstanding in camp except Greg Mauldin and he doesn’t seem like a good fourth line kind of guy. I saw him lay one hit in two days. I’d say that by the antics David Koci was pulling on day two that he thinks he can earn the job by simply creaming rookies into the boards. Doubt it.

Who gets the call is going to depend on play in the preseason much more than two days in camp.

Goalies, yep there were goalie there. See The Avalanche Guild for some excellent goalie coverage from training camp.

Seen at training camp: a guy with his copy of Eat, Pray, Love.

-From the Point

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