Tag: Greg Zanon

Colorado Avalanche v San Jose Sharks

Avs buy out Zanon


The beard is gone.

That’s the story out of Colorado on Thursday as the Avalanche announced they’ve bought out the contract of defenseman Greg Zanon.

The most notable thing about this transaction is that Colorado is conducting a regular buyout on Zanon, not a compliance buyout.


In short, the Avs don’t have any cap concerns for 2013-14 — they’re nearly $12 million under the ceiling — and would prefer to save their compliance buyouts for next season, should they need to use them.

Here’s more, from the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater:

Zanon had one year left on his deal, worth $2.25 million.

By doing a standard buyout, the Avs must give Zanon two-thirds of that remaining salary in a lump sum ($1.5 million). That $1.5 million counts against the Avs’ salary cap, but they can spread it out over two years.

That means Zanon will still cost the Avs a cap hit of $750,000 for this season and next.

Zanon had no goals in 2013 and finished with a minus-16 rating, though to be fair most of the Avs were minus players.

The former Predator, Wild and Bruin will now look for work elsewhere, likely as a bottom-pairing defenseman on a team that needs someone to block shots.

Today’s waivers: Zanon, Hunwick, Gill, and Russell

Colorado Avalanche v San Jose Sharks

The waiver wire picked up a little bit today and the Colorado Avalanche figured heavily into that.

The Avs placed defensemen Greg Zanon and Matt Hunwick on regular waivers. Both players played heavy minutes for Colorado last season and, eerily enough, both finished the year with no goals and six assists.

With these two going on waivers it makes Colorado’s decision to draft Nathan MacKinnon over Seth Jones a bit more intriguing. In truth, Colorado is likely clearing room for youngsters Stefan Elliott and Tyson Barrie to play more next season.

Elsewhere, Nashville placed 6’7″ defenseman Hal Gill on waivers while St. Louis did the same with Kris Russell. Predators GM David Poile said that by drafting Seth Jones they didn’t have room for Gill next season. Russell, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent so any team could grab his rights to sign him to a new deal.

Here are this season’s five scraggliest NHL headshots


Prior to every NHL campaign, teams put their players through a bunch of boring administrative stuff — physicals, paperwork and, most importantly for the purposes of this post, headshots.

The headshot is a curious thing. It’s not often used, so players tend to treat it like high school picture day. Show up in whatever shape you’re in, completely oblivious to the fact someone is going to capture your image, sit down, stare at the camera and hope it turns out, you know, not awful.

Of course, the whole “show up in whatever shape you’re in” part can lead to some, uh, interesting results.

Like in the case of the following five NHLers:

Brent Burns

This one has been making the rounds for a while (see here) so there’s really no need to go into great detail about the bushman of San Jose.

Here he be:


Greg Zanon

I like the juxtaposition at play. How can one man’s head be so immaculately clean, yet his beard look like it was glued on, then sent through a wind tunnel?


Rick DiPietro

He may or may not have spent the lockout following Phish around in an ’83 Volkswagen bus.


Kris Versteeg

The strength of Steeger’s mustache growth seems to be in strips directly below his nostrils, which is weirdly fascinating.


Nikolai Khabibulin

And rounding it out is the ‘Bulin Wall, looking far more disheveled than he did in his infamous 2010 DUI mugshot.


Now, for an entirely different set of headshots, check out this gallery of New Jersey Devils. That is the cleanest-shaven hockey team ever.

We mentioned last year about how Brian Burke waxed poetic over Lou Lamoriello’s strict grooming policies, but just to refresh:

Burke (courtesy the National Post):

“When I played at Providence College, we played West Point, we played the U.S. military academy, at West Point. Now, this is the ’70s, we’re playing teams with guys who have hair down to here [points to shoulders]. Our hair is not allowed to touch our ear.

“Like, I just got a haircut today so that Lou won’t call me and tell me I need a haircut.”

Burke pointed to his freshly trimmed sideburns and continued.

“So we’re playing the cadets. We’re at centre ice and their guys skate over: ‘Hey man, what’s with the hair? We HAVE to do this. What’s with you guys?’

And we’re like, ‘we HAVE to do it, too.”

All of New Jersey’s haircuts are believed to be modeled on this example:


Avs to make O’Brien a healthy scratch — again

Vancouver Canucks v Colorado Avalanche

Colorado coach Joe Sacco has told the Denver Post that defenseman Shane O’Brien would be a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game when the Avs take on Columbus Thursday night in Denver.

O’Brien, 29, hasn’t touched the ice this season, a strange development considering the Avs made him one of their biggest free-agent priorities this summer, inking O’Brien to a three-year, $6 million deal prior to him hitting the open market.

According to Mike Chambers of the Post, O’Brien “does not appear out of shape physically,” and is saying all the right things as he tries to get back in the lineup.

“Obviously, the coaching staff feels like I don’t give the team the best chance to win right now. It’s never fun,” O’Brien explained. “All you can do is continue to work hard, wait for your chance to get back in there, and when you do, you have to play well.”

Sacco has gone with the same six-man defensive rotation in both games this year: Erik Johnson, Ryan Wilson, Ryan O’Byrne, Jan Hejda, Greg Zanon and Tyson Barrie.

That’s left O’Brien in the press box with fellow defenseman Matt Hunwick — but, on Thursday, Hunwik will make his season debut against the Jackets.

Given O’Brien’s notorious party-boy reputation (see here), it’s easy to speculate why things have gone they way they have in Colorado.

But to say he’s reverted to his old ways might not be accurate — last November, he was profiled in a glowing Post article about his maturation into the “ultimate Avs teammate” that included the following from Sacco:

“He’s been a real nice addition to our lineup. He plays hard and plays within himself,” Sacco said. “Shane’s a little bit older now (28), a little bit wiser. I had a good talk with him at the start of the year, and he just wants to play hockey now. Every player at the start of their career probably does something they wish they could take back. I don’t even know all the stuff that happened there, but you hear stuff. He’s been great here, and I see no issues as far as that side.”

It’s a situation worth monitoring moving forward. After Thursday’s game, the Avs head out on a four-game road trip that includes a stop in O’Brien’s old stomping ground — Vancouver — on Jan. 30.

Shane O’Brien among Avs’ healthy scratches

Vancouver Canucks v Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche handed Shane O’Brien a three-year, $6 million contract in June, but he’ll begin this season in street clothes.

Head coach Joe Sacco named O’Brien as one of the team’s healthy scratches on Saturday, according to Adrian Dater of the Denver Post. Dater expected Greg Zanon and Tyson Barrie to be the blueline scratches, but instead he thinks Matt Hunwick will be benched alongside O’Brien.

Sacco’s explanation for the move was sharp and simple: he’s going with the lineup that gives Colorado the “best chance to win.”

The hard-hitting defenseman scored 20 points with Colorado in 2010-11, the second-best output of his NHL career. His average of 19:13 minutes per game was also the second most he’s managed in a season.

Those numbers – and that whole $2 million per year thing – make it surprising that O’Brien is on the bench. We’ll see if this becomes a regular thing or just a bit of opening night message-sending for the Avs.