From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.
41-35-6, 88 points; 11th in the Western Conference and third in Northwest Division.
P.A. Parenteau, John Mitchell and Greg Zanon
Peter Mueller, Jay McClement and Kevin Porter
No first-round pick.
The Colorado Avalanche experienced an uneven 2011-12 season, but some in the organization may feel encouraged by the team’s late charge in March. Trade acquisitions Steve Downie and Jamie McGinn made enough of an impact to inspire some added optimism as well.
Semyon Varlamov’s up-and-down year probably had the biggest impact on Colorado’s fortunes, yet the team hopes for more consistency from Matt Duchene, Erik Johnson and Paul Stastny than they showed.
Gabriel Landeskog’s Calder Trophy season ranked among the team’s biggest highlights last season.
The Avalanche boast a young roster that could see quite a bit of improvement from within if the right buttons are pushed. Varlamov, Landeskog, Johnson, Stastny and especially Duchene could conceivably take another step forward next season.
Parenteau represents the biggest addition while the franchise gambled a bit by allowing injury-prone winger Mueller leave for nothing. One might also look at last season’s late arrivals Downie and McGinn as “new” players too, though.
Head coach Joe Sacco enters an important season. A third consecutive failed playoff run might bring his work in Colorado to an end.
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WATCH LIVE: Game 1 for Penguins – Capitals, Rangers – Senators
For all the griping about having the Penguins and Capitals meet in the second round (again), it’s easy to forget the bright side: upsets didn’t dislodge this juicy matchup from taking place.
The West’s duo of Game 1 matchups kicked into gear last night, and now the East provides that battle between Sidney Crosby‘s squad and Alex Ovechkin‘s loaded team. Don’t sleep on Rangers – Senators, either, though; there should be plenty of intrigue in seeing superhuman Swedes Henrik Lundqvist and Erik Karlsson try to one-up each other.
Here’s what you need to know to follow the action:
Given he turns 59 this summer, has won a pair of Stanley Cups and coached over 1,000 NHL games, Darryl Sutter probably could’ve called it a career after getting fired by the Kings earlier this month, and done so comfortably.
But that’s not happening.
In speaking with TSN’s Gary Lawless, Sutter said he has no plans to retire from coaching. What’s more — and, perhaps more interesting — is that Sutter said he wouldn’t limit his next job solely to a contending team.
Sutter says he's willing to go to a rebuild, "if I have comfort with the situation," or to a contender. "I'm interested in both."
Though the Kings have yet to be contacted for an interview request, ex-GM Dean Lombardi has been tied to the Sabres gig. And Lombardi, of course, is forever tied to Sutter — he was the one that hired Sutter after a five-year coaching exodus to join the Kings, and the pair went on to achieve great success together.
That five-year coaching exodus does need to be mentioned, though.
History suggests that Sutter isn’t joking when he says he’ll be picky about the situation and won’t rush to find the right fit. After being dismissed in Calgary in 2006, he returned to work on the family farm in Viking, Alberta and seemed fairly content doing so.
That said, hockey always seems to draw him back.
“The game has given us everything,” Sutter told Lawless. “We still have lots to give.”
The Arizona Coyotes have parted ways with some personnel.
Assistant coach Newell Brown has been fired, along with Doug Soetaert, who was the general manager of their AHL affiliate in Tuscon.
Pro scouts David MacLean and Jim Roque won’t be back either. Their contracts will not be renewed.
“I’d like to thank Newell, Doug, David and Jim for their contributions to the club,” said GM John Chayka. “They are all good people but we believe these changes are necessary in order to improve our organization. We wish them the best in the future.”
A longtime NHL assistant coach, Brown is perhaps the most prominent of the four men. He joined the Coyotes in the summer of 2013 and received high praise for his work with their power play.
But Arizona’s power play slipped to 26th this past season, converting at a rate of just 16.2 percent.
As for Soetaert, he was only named GM of the Roadrunners last summer. The former NHL goalie had previously been a scout.
Plenty of seats available for tonight’s game in Ottawa
Many of the available tickets for Thursday’s game were in the corners of the upper bowl, seats that carry a $96 price tag.
… The Senators sold out all three games in the opening round of the playoffs against Boston. Game 1 drew a crowd of 18,702, while 18,629 showed up for Game 2 and 19,209 were in the seats for Game 5.
Attendance has been an issue in Ottawa — or, more specifically, suburban Kanata — all season, to the point owner Eugene Melnyk expressed great frustration with the lack of sellouts at Canadian Tire Centre.
But regardless of the arena’s location, it won’t be a good look if there are empty seats tonight. This is the playoffs, and the Senators are one of eight remaining teams in the hunt for the Stanley Cup. The building should be full.