Jan Hejda

Colorado’s Hejda: We’ve lost confidence


Thanks to their current four-game losing streak, the Colorado Avalanche find themselves stuck in the Western Conference  basement, two points back of 14th-place Calgary.

Clearly, the losses are starting to affect the team’s psyche.

That’s what defenseman Jan Hejda told the Denver Post on Monday, saying the team has struggled mentally since losing 4-0 at home to Edmonton on Mar. 12 — a loss that began the current winless streak, during which the Avs have been outscored 20-9.

“Everything starts with that loss to Edmonton,” Hejda explained. “We lost confidence. Everybody is trying (not) to make a mistake.”

As you probably guessed by the 20-9 scoring discrepancy, defense is an issue in Denver.

The Avs have allowed four goals in each of their last four losses and are getting manhandled at even strength (the penalty kill has actually been decent, killing off nine of the last 11.)

Unfortunately for Colorado, Hejda has no answers on how to fix the solution.

“D-zone coverage, we have no rhythm right now,” he said. “Four games in a row we’ve allowed four, five, six goals against. Not acceptable. I don’t know. We have to simplify it, probably.”

Looking for a silver lining, Avs fans? Here’s Mike Chambers of the Post with something…

On a positive note, the Avs are on the road to getting a high percentage on the No. 1 draft pick in June, and bringing projected all-world defenseman Seth Jones back to Colorado.

Seth, Popeye’s kid, grew up playing for the Littleton Hawks and Colorado Thunderbirds until age 12, when he moved back to Dallas, where he was born.

So there’s something, I guess.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

Leave a comment

There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
1 Comment

Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.