Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mr. Gretzky holds one less record

Thanks to a great coaching call by Patrick Roy, Nathan Mackinnon was given one last chance to break Wayne Gretzky's record for consecutive games with a point by an 18 year old rookie. To this point in the season Roy had decided not to play Mackinnon in over time at all. Yet, for some reason he felt like with about a minuet left until the game would go to a shoot out that it was the right time to throw his prized rookie out there into the over time spotlight.

What happened next was a played by Erik Johnson that kept the play alive in the offensive zone by jumping up into the play. He got the puck down to Mackinnon behind the net, and the kid took care of the rest. He picked up the puck, looked over where his teammates were and fired a pass right to the stick of crashing Benoit who finished off the play with 30 seconds left in overtime.

Is this just the first of many records for Mackinnon to break, or is this just luck? Personally I think that this is just the start of the career for a very special player. Very excited to see what the rest of the season and play offs will hold for this team. They are building something special in Colorado.

Record set, and the deadline has passed

When the Colorado Avalanche National Hockey League team took the ice on Thursday night they had a chance to do something that no Avalanche or Nordique team had ever accomplished. If they won the game they would get to 40 wins in just 62 games. Not only did they accomplish this feat in Chicago against the defending Stanley Cup champion, but they did it in regulation.

What can not be lost in all of this excitement with the win is that Calder front runner Nathan Mackinnon got another point in the game witch tied him with non other then the great one, Wayne Gretzky for longest consecutive scoring streak as an 18 year old rookie.  With all the hype that he had coming out of the draft first overall, he is sure showing that there was legitimate reason for that hype.

The Colorado Avalanche now currently sit in 4th place in the NHL's Western conference with a real shot at continuing to climb before the end of the season. The team that finished 29th in the NHL last season could potentially finish up at 1st place in arguably the NHL's toughest division.

Yesterday was the trade deadline, and the Avalanche made one small move, that to be honest when i first saw it I was not happy at all. They gave up a 2nd round draft pick for 27 year old goalie Reto Berra of the Calgary Flames.  My displeasure with the move stemmed from the fact that he is a 27 year old goalie, with really uninspiring numbers this season. almost 3.00 GAA, and a sub .900 save percentage.

I only started to change my mind after reading that this was the top of the list of goalies that legendary goaltender coach Francous Allaire wanted. If he thinks this kid is the best out there, and that he can turn him into something special I have trust in that. Also if you look at some of his hilights this season some are very impressive. Still hoping that the 2nd rounder was not too much to pay for him.

The team will keep all 3 goalies with the team through the end of the season. With Jiggys frequent back injurys the team felt like they needed a little insurance in case Varlamov went down.

here are some notable saves this season by Berra.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Keep HOLDEN on..

At the start of training camp this year the Avalanche had a few players on the roster who you knew would not make the team. No name players that were just there to fill a spot so the top players had a team to play against right? Well that's what most people thought, but not Nick Holden.

Holden, 26 saw his chance and he showed in camp why the Colorado Avalanche should keep their eyes on him. As camp concluded surprisingly he was still with the club.

A hot start by the team seemed to keep new head coach Patrick Roy from wanting to play with the line up too much, but when injures came and a shake up was needed Holden got his chance, and he has not looked back. Holden is now a staple on the second power play unit. A unit that has scored 6 power played goals in the last two games.

Last nights game Holden snuck in from the point and got a great pass from Ryan O'Rielly that he hammered in. Holden also made a great play at the end of the game to seal the victory by sending the puck from his own ends face off circle high into the air and down the ice into the empty net.

Holden is showing what having patients, and working hard can do when you finally get your chance to show what you are capable of. I think that we could all learn a thing or two from the example of Holden.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Not your every day NHLer

Colorado Avalanche rookie sensation Nathan MacKinnon continues to show why he was the number one selection in the 2013 National Hockey League draft. With his two assists in last nights game against the Phoenix Coyotes he is now on an active 10 game point streak. The last NHL rookie to achieve such a feat was Jonathan Toews in 2007.

Obviously the first thing you notice when watching a game that MacKinnon is playing in is that he is fast. okay, maybe that is not true, the kid is lightning on ice. But that alone is not enough to be great in the NHL. We have seen many players in the past who could skate, or who were fast, and still didn't cut it in the big leagues. Kyle Cumisky comes to mind as a recent example.

Right now MacKinnon is a sponge. He is absorbing, learning, growing, and expanding his game every single day. You can actually see it happening. Each game he has been better then the last ever since about 12 games into the season.

When he was drafted most people probably like myself just knew that he could score goals, and that he could skate ok. But what I am seeing more and more that has been overlooked by some is the way that he sees the game. The pass in last nights game to set up Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog was a thing of beauty. He flys deep into the zone on the left side of the ice, then stops on a dime and somehow sees Landeskog coming in way late on the play. He sends the pass back across the ice and right onto the blade of Gabes stick for the goal.

This kid has a shot at being something very special in the NHL. Don't forget about him in the future, or you will be down 3-0 against the Avalanche and not even know how it happened.