John Mitchell

Video: Lindholm’s shootout goal helps the Canes edge the Avs

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Elias Lindholm showed off his sweet hands in the shootout helping the Carolina Hurricanes edge the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 Tuesday night.

Victor Rask also scored in the shootout while Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon were stopped by Anton Khudobin.

The Canes have now won two of three.

Jordan Staal scored his first of the season to open the scoring and Patrick Dwyer had the other Hurricanes regulation goal.

Khudobin made 28 saves to improve to 3-8-2.

Duchene and John Mitchell had the Avs’ regulation goals while Calvin Pickard made 44 saves in the loss.

Roy preaches patience, bumps MacKinnon to Avs’ third line


There are a lot of words that come to mind when you think about Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy. “Patient” probably isn’t high on that list.

Still, the beleaguered head coach took that approach on Thursday morning, telling the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater that “it’s a process.”

Sometimes that process involves tweaking line combinations, and in this latest instance, the most interesting change drops Nathan MacKinnon out of Colorado’s top two trios. Dater reports that John Mitchell will take MacKinnon’s spot between Gabriel Landeskog and Jarome Iginla while Alex Tanguay will play right wing with Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly. MacKinnon, meanwhile, will center a line with Jamie McGinn and Daniel Briere (replacing Dennis Everberg in the lineup).

Increasing depth?

On face value, moving the rising 19-year-old off the top two lines seems like a clear case of lost patience, but there are some reasons to defend the decision.

For one thing, MacKinnon’s offense dried up recently; the sophomore only has an assist in four games after a mini-burst in which he collected six points in three games from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2.

Beyond that, when you look at Colorado’s top three combinations under this amalgamation, it could conceivably be a varied attack. Much of that would depend upon Mitchell playing at the level of a second-line center, though, of course.

Sending a message

Lines change a lot in the modern NHL, so maybe this sends a message more than anything else.

While Roy’s patience seems like a breath of fresh air, his ultimate pleading remains the same: work harder.

“We’ve got to realize that it doesn’t have to be a perfect goal to count,” Roy said. “It can go off your butt, or your leg or your arm. Maybe if we can get a couple of ugly ones, it will loosen everything up.”

“But you have to work hard at going to the net to make those kinds of goals happen.”

We’ll see if the Avalanche can start turning things around tonight, as they face the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Jets’ Dustin Byfuglien throws his weight around against Avs


Winnipeg Jets’ forward Dustin Byfuglien was throwing his weight around during the second period against the Colorado Avalanche.

First he hits Avs’ defenseman Tyson Barrie, then with John Mitchell coming in to defend his teammate, Byfuglien takes him down too.

Byfuglien got a minor for roughing while Mitchell picked up a double-minor on the play.

Barrie, who was not hurt on the play, joined the Avalanche broadcast during the intermission and described what it’s like to take a hit from Byfuglien:

Bordeleau (back) out about three months, others Avs limp into camp

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NHL training camps are rapidly approaching, yet the Colorado Avalanche already come in a little banged up.

The Denver Post reports that head coach Patrick Roy was nearly having a difficult time keeping track of their injuries. Let’s take a look at the slew of injury notes from that article:

  • Patrick Bordeleau underwent offseason back surgery and is expected to miss the first three months (give or take) of the 2014-15 season.
  • Jamie McGinn is also dealing with a bad back that might sideline him for part of training camp.
  • John Mitchell is struggling with migraines.
  • The following players are dealing with what the Denver Post describes as “minor and undisclosed injuries”: Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan O’Reilly, Jan Hejda and Max Talbot. On the bright side, many of those players were involved in scrimmages this week, so it doesn’t sound like these are serious issues.

Avs exec Joe Sakic expressed his belief that the team added valuable depth during this offseason, so perhaps they’ll be able to weather this early storm quite well?

More than a few people look at how savagely Colorado was often out-chanced last season and believe that the team will take a big tumble down the standings even at full strength, so it’s not ideal to see such health issues cropping up. Sakic and Roy seem pretty confident in their ability to keep things going, though.

Stastny’s agent says ‘nothing imminent’ on new deal with Avs


One of the big potential free agent prizes of the summer doesn’t appear close to re-upping with his current club.

Paul Stastny, the U.S. Olympian that scored 60 points in 71 games for Colorado this season, has “nothing imminent” regarding a new deal with the Avs, agent Matt Keator told the Denver Post.

“I talked to Keator, and he said nothing is ‘imminent’ yet on this signing,” the Post’s Adrian Dater explained on his Hockey Talk podcast. “I think the Avalanche are interested in re-signing him, but I think it’s really touchy right now.”

Stastny, 28, just wrapped the last of a five-year, $33 million deal that carried a $6.6 million cap hit. He’s spent his entire seven-year career in Colorado and has been a pretty productive player — 458 points in 538 games, including a career-high 79 points during the 2009-10 campaign — and has twice represented the U.S. at the Olympics, including the silver medal-winning side at the ’10 Games in Vancouver.

On most teams, Stastny’s a top two center — but the Avs have an abundance of young talent able to play the middle, most notably in Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly and Nathan MacKinnon. The latter two have been moved to the wing on a number of occasion to balance things out (the Avs also have a pretty solid 3rd-line center in John Mitchell) but could easily make the move back to the middle, especially if Colorado wants to target some wingers in free agency — rather than spend big on Stastny.

And big is the key word there. Stastny’s made quite a bit or money on his last deal and has done enough to at least warrant a similar payday this summer, and there are a number of teams looking to upgrade their offensive abilities at center. The St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks have been rumored to want depth down the middle, and a team like Nashville — which looks to be more offensively-inclined under new head coach Peter Laviolette — could certainly use a playmaking center.