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.

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

Portzline goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.