Adam Foote

And the Colorado Avalanche captain is…

It’s none other than Milan Hejduk.

The Avalanche started the season going without a team captain waiting for the season to flesh out a bit and see how things went. Instead of going for a guy like Paul Stastny or aiming for youth with Matt Duchene, they’ve opted to go with the current longest-standing member of the organization in Hejduk.

Hejduk gets the “C” after Adam Foote wore it last season. Foote, of course, was a long time Avalanche defenseman who returned to Denver after spending time away in Columbus. Hejduk has only worn the “A” in the past but now takes the leadership role but Joe Sacco says that Hejduk is the guy that leads by example on and off the ice for the team.

Now if Hejduk has the skills to help the Avs prevent another early season meltdown that leads the Avs to the bottom of the NHL standings, he’ll be worth his merit. As it is, the Avalanche are giving up their first round pick in 2012 to the Capitals thanks to the Semyon Varlamov trade so failure is not be an option.

With the Avalanche naming a captain finally, that leaves the Florida Panthers as the only captainless team in the league. They should probably just name Jason Garrison’s slap shot the team captain there, that’s a force worth paying attention to.

Avalanche sign restricted free agent Kyle Cumiskey to one-year deal

After a season filled with injury troubles, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Kyle Cumiskey is back in the fold in Denver. Cumiskey, a restricted free agent, signed a one-year deal with the Avalanche to rejoin the team and hope to provide stability to their back line.

Cumiskey played in just 18 games last season scoring one goal and adding seven assists. Cumiskey is an offensively capable defenseman and a guy that could help give Erik Johnson support on the power play as well. Two seasons ago, Cumiskey showed what he’s capable of in 61 games when he scored seven goals and added 20 assists. If Cumiskey can stay healthy, he’ll be able to help the Avalanche generate more offense as he’s a decent puck carrier with a good shot.

Health, however, is the major problem for him and is a serious concern heading into this season for the Avalanche defense in general. Last season, the Avalanche suited up 16 different defensemen throughout the year. Colorado dealt with season-long injuries to Cumiskey and Kyle Quincey while dealing with nagging injuries to Adam Foote. With Foote retired, Cumiskey and Quincey healthy, and the additions of Shane O’Brien and Jan Hejda the Avs hope that their weak defense is a thing of the past.

Veteran defenseman Adam Foote set to announce retirement tomorrow

The Colorado Avalanche’s glory days will be remembered as a time when Patrick Roy was traded to a team that already had two superstars in Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg. People will recall Ray Bourque’s emotional release when he lifted the Stanley Cup, Rob Blake’s booming shot, the steady stream of high profile trade targets and the epic rivalry between the Avs and the Detroit Red Wings.

Some will even fondly remember a young Chris Drury bursting onto the scene.

Yet one guy who gets lost in the shuffle for many casual fans is rugged defenseman Adam Foote. Of course, any forward going into the most dangerous areas of the ice noticed Foote, so they will be glad to hear that he is expected to announce his retirement on Friday.

The 20-year veteran played the vast majority of his career with Colorado, only spending about two and a half seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He might play in one of the team’s final games, but if not, he will finish his career with 66 goals and 242 assists for 308 points, a +99 rating and 1,534 penalty minutes in 1,153 games played. He also won two Stanley Cups with Colorado, playing in 170 playoff games.

Adrian Dater has a nice chronological look at the blueliner’s lengthy career, which you can see here.

Craig Anderson leaves game early with groin injury

Well, good thing Peter Budaj actually did pretty well for himself during his brief run as the Colorado Avalanche starter via injury.

That’s because Craig Anderson seems like he might be banged up again, at least for the time being. After starting what was supposed to be his second game back from a freak knee injury that occurred during the team’s pregame warm-ups on October 26, Anderson reportedly stayed on the bench after one period of play because of a groin injury.

Longtime defenseman Adam Foote also left the game early because of a knee injury sustained from a Jeff Tambellini hit.

It’s unclear if Anderson’s groin injury is anything significant, but if he misses some time, there are some silver linings. Not to be grim about it, but a lesser 2010-11 season would make Anderson easier to retain. More positively, Budaj has been strong this season, as he sports an 8-3-1 record so far.

The Canucks are currently ahead of the Avalanche by a score of 3-1. We’ll have a recap of that game as well as the Chicago Blackhawks-San Jose Sharks contest sometime on Thursday.

Kyle Quincey fourth Avalanche player with a concussion, Avs turn to Boston University for help

I know we’ve all heard about concussions enough to nearly be certified Internet experts about them, but if you’re part of the Colorado Avalanche defense, chances are you know more about them than anyone would ever want to. Avs defenseman Kyle Quincey is out of the lineup indefinitely thanks to a concussion and Adrian Dater of The Denver Post says that things are practically an epidemic now.

The Avs got more bad medical news today when it was learned defenseman Kyle Quincey will be out indefinitely with a concussion. He becomes the fourth Avalanche player to be sidelined with the injury, joining Adam Foote, Kyle Cumiskey and Peter Mueller.

“I can’t put my finger on that injury. It’s just one of those things that’s part of the game,” Avs coach Joe Sacco said. “I can’t put my finger on any reason why they’re happening.”

Obviously concussions aren’t contagious like the flu is but this is a rather remarkable situation in Denver. These injuries coupled with Craig Anderson’s mystery knee ailment as well as David Jones’ nagging health issues  have really put the bite on the Avs early on this season.

To make up for it, the Avalanche are busy turning their team into Boston University’s alumni camp with former Terriers David Van der Gulik, Kevin Shattenkirk, and latest call-up Colby Cohen helping to fill out the roster. Those three along with starter Brandon Yip help to give BU fans a vested rooting interest in the Avalanche that has absolutely nothing to do with Ray Bourque.

With all these injuries to deal with, the Avalanche blue line looks like a rookie camp lineup and with Peter Budaj holding down things in goal for the time being, head coach Joe Sacco’s abilities are being tested big time early on in Denver. So far, so good for Colorado as they hold down a 7-5-1 record and are winners in three of their last four. For now, perhaps the rest of the Avalanche lineup should get familiar with some of the songs made famous by the BU band.