At last... the hockey season is upon us and almost a month over already. The Avalanche have acquired some new talent in the form of Ryan Smyth, Scott Hannan, Jaroslav Hlinka, Kyle Cumiskey, and Wyatt Smith.
Cumiskey, although showing exceptional talent in my opinion, was sent to the minors. However with recent injuries plaguing our team, he has been brought up and will hopefully be able to make a name for himself during his time on the ice; after all, he had 4 points in 3 games in the preseason, not too bad for a defense-man.
Paul Stastny, following in the footsteps of his father once again, tallied a hat trick in our opening game, leading us to our first opening night victory against the Stars in franchise history. Yet just like last year, there was hardly any mention of it in the media. Nor was there but a couple words uttered about him leading the league in points for the first 2 ½ weeks of the season or coming out of preseason leading the league with 5 goals. It's ok Stastny, the press may not acknowledge you, but rest assured us Avs fans will remember you now and forever.
Brunette has been steadily building up to a NHL career high 83 points last season. With 9 points since the start of the regular season and his ability to create multi point games I can only foresee the best from him this year.
Wolski helped with the win on our opening night by scoring the game winning goal. He remained stagnant the next 3 games until exploding on the ice scoring 6 points in the last 5 games including what came to be the game winning tip in 18:43 into the 1st period during our last game. He is slowly but surely proving his play-making ability.
Smyth came out of preseason with 3 points but began the regular season anonymously without tallying a point until the 3rd game, accruing 2 points that game and 4 more within the next 5. Sadly he has been MIA in the points department in the last 2 games, although his play is becoming more noticeable. I didn't see much from him in the preseason either and, while I'm sure many may disagree, I have yet to see talent worthy of his contract terms.
Arnason has been making his presence known on the ice scoring 2 goals and receiving an assist in the last 2 games, although those 3 points are the only ones we've seen from him since playing the Sharks on the 7th. He does seem to be following his normal route of play though being only 3 points behind where he was at this point last season.
Hlinka came into the regular season looking quite good, acquiring 2 assists the first game but sadly trailed off scoring only 1 more point in the next 8 games. His play on the ice is definitely noticeable but unfortunately significant point scoring has yet to be seen from him, puzzling since he was second in the NHL at the end of the preseason with seven assists.
With the likes of Finger, Clark, and Liles and the addition of Hannan to the roster comes the hope of a dominating defense, something we were in sore need of last season. Clark's shot blocking ability has not only been a tremendous improvement from last year but a great asset to the team as well. Our defense seems to have come alive this year and our physical presence on the ice has been exceptional to say the least.
As for our chances this year.... our start to the season has been average, but considering the new talent we've picked up and the veteran talent we already had there is no reason to think a playoff position is out of reach. We have the heart, the determination and the ability this year and watching the playoffs from the sidelines last season has given us the motivation. Motivation to proudly hang 2 more of those beautiful banners atop the arena and rightfully bring Stanley back to Denver. As the Rockies have proven this year; with determination and motivation anything is possible.