San Jose Sharks v Colorado Avalanche

Cause for concern in Colorado?


The Colorado Avalanche started the season on fire, racing out to a 14-2-0 record under new coach Patrick Roy, while ostensibly blaming former coach Joe Sacco for much of their past problems.

But while the Avs still boast a respectable record of 26-12-4, good enough for a playoff spot in the tough Western Conference, a 12-10-4 mark in their last 26 games has to be cause for concern.

On Monday, Colorado dropped a 4-3 decision to one of the NHL’s worst teams, the Calgary Flames. For that, Roy chose to blame his goalie, Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

“We may not have had the jump that we should have, but Giggy should have been better,” Roy said. “He hasn’t played well in the past four or five games and he should stand up and say, `I’m not playing up to what I should.’ He needs to be better and we need to have him playing better. Period.”

One of the greatest ever at the position, Roy obviously understands the importance of goaltending, which overall has been excellent in Colorado this season. In fact, the tandem of Semyon Varlamov and Giguere has combined for a team save percentage of .921, the fourth highest in the NHL.

How important has goaltending been for Colorado? Well, it’s helped the Avs win 15 games in which they’ve been outshot. In that category, only Toronto (17) has more.

Of course, we’ve seen how unsustainable the Leafs’ previous winning ways have turned out to be. Along those lines, per Extra Skater, here’s how the Avs’ puck-possession stats have been trending:


That’s not good, unless you’re one of the teams trying to catch the Avs in the standings.

Colorado hosts streaking Ottawa tonight.

Leafs prospects Nylander and Kapanen heading to AHL

William Nylander
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The Toronto Maple Leafs trimmed their training camp roster by 16 players on Sunday.

Two of the Leafs’ top prospects, William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen, are heading to the the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.

For the full list of cuts, click here.

Nylander was Toronto’s first round pick, eighth overall, in 2014.

The 19-year-old scored an impressive 14 goals and 32 points in 37 games with the Marlies in 2014-15.

Kapenen, 19, was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Phil Kessel trade.

He had one goal and one assist in a brief four game stint with Pittsburgh’s farm team last season.

The rebuilding Maple Leafs have no issue being patient with their top young prospects. Both players could make their NHL debut at some point this season, but they may have to wait a little while longer before they become regulars at the next level.

The Leafs now have 24 players on their training camp roster. They have until Tuesday to put the finishing touches on their lineup. Toronto needs to cut at least one more player.

Torres suspended pending hearing

Raffi Torres, Cory Schneider
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According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Raffi Torres has been suspended pending his disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Torres was assessed a match penalty for targeting Silfverberg’s head on Saturday night.

The 33-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury, and it looks like the start of his regular season will be delayed once again.

Head coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have come back into the game, but he was held out for precautionary reasons.

Ducks center Ryan Kesler didn’t hide his feelings after the contest.

“(Torres) is the same player every year,” Kesler told reporters. “He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”