JS Giguere

Varlamov on losing Avs starting gig: “It’s going to be tough”


The Colorado Avalanche acquired two goalies this offseason: Semyon Varlamov and J.S. Giguere. The former cost the Avs a first- and second-round pick (and $8.5 million); the latter cost them no picks and $2.5 million.

So it was no surprise that, heading into the season, Varlamov was the starter and Giguere the backup.

But heading into the All-Star break, it’s Giguere that’s the No. 1 guy…while Varlamov tries to keep a positive frame of mind.

“J.S. is playing well right now, and it’s good for the team,” Varlamov told the Denver Post. “I just have to keep working. I know it’s going to be tough, but I just have to be ready — always.”

Giguere started making headway back in mid-December. His strong play coincided with the Avs emerging from a funk to climb back into playoff positioning — during one especially strong stretch, Giguere ripped off four straight wins against Washington, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Tampa Bay, allowing just six goals.

Varlamov didn’t help his cause any with a string of poor January performances. There was a 4-1 home loss to Nashville and a 6-1 bombing in Phoenix — two stinkers which, coincidentally, were Varlamov’s only two appearances in the last nine games.

“That’s why I’m not playing right now, I think,” Varlamov said of the lopsided losses. “But it’s a long season. We still have 30 games after the break.”

All told, Giguere has been the goalie of record in 13 of Colorado’s last 19 games. His numbers on the year are outstanding — 2.15 GAA (eighth in the NHL), .921 save percentage — and there’s a good chance head coach Joe Sacco will keep riding him down the stretch (gotta be a better way to say that.)

Despite the fact Giguere’s 34 with plenty of tread on his tires, he was tabbed for back-to-back starts last weekend in Los Angeles in Anaheim, then got the nod again on Tuesday as the Avs lost 3-2 to Minnesota.

PHT Morning Skate: Patrick Kane is ready for Lidstrom to retire


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

What could be the greatest compliment for Nicklas Lidstrom? Patrick Kane telling the world that he’s sick of playing him and wish he would just retire because he’s so good. (mlive.com)

Remember the ridiculous Bruins/Stars fight fest in Boston last year? The Razor boy remembers and has a hypothesis why it all went down. The rematch is tonight. (Dallas Morning News)

J.S. Giguere prepares to return to Anaheim to play for the first time since he was traded from the Ducks almost two years ago. “This game has been on my mind all year.” (Avalanche Official)

After missing six straight games with back spasms, the New Jersey Devils will get Henrik Tallinder back for their New Year’s Eve tilt against the Pens. (Star-Ledger)

More good news on the injury front: Andy McDonald is practicing with the Blues again. We all know that concussions take a while, but at least he’s out there with the “no contact” jersey. Baby steps. (Post-Dispatch)

This morning’s history lesson: Rangers fans can thank their own ownership for the formation of the Flyers. (NHL.com)

Coming into the World Junior Championships, Team USA expected to lean on Minnesota Wild prospect Charlie Coyle. So why was he stapled to the bench in a must win game against the Czech Republic? Apparently it’s rather difficult to play with the flu. (Coming Down The Pipe)

The Avalanche prepare for life without Matt Duchene. (Denver Post)

John Tortorella says that sometimes there’s “no honor” in the game; yet when his player pummels an unwilling opponent, it’s just a case of someone who “got what he deserved.” (NY Daily News)

Finally, Daniel Alfredsson shows everyone how to score a 400th goal in style. Yep, an OT game-winner will do just fine. (NHL)


Nose Face Killah is the NHL’s First Star of the Week


After scoring two game-winning goals and notching his first career hat trick, Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand — aka Nose Face, aka Marshmont, aka Honey Badger — was named the NHL’s first star of the week.

The highlight of Marchand’s week was a five-point outing in an 8-0 romp over Florida. In addition to his hat trick, the third-year Bruins forward also chipped in two assists and scored his first shorthanded goal of the year. Marchand now leads the Bs in goalscoring (with 15) and is second on the team in points.

Second star went to New York Rangers RW Marian Gaborik, who scored in all three games last week to move atop the NHL leaderboard with 21 goals. Two of those tallies — against the Devils and Flyers — were of the game-winning variety. As such, Gaborik now sits tied for third in GWG (four). He also eclipsed the 600-point plateau last week.

Third star went to Colorado goalie JS Giguere. He’s currently in the midst of a four-game winning streak — including three wins last week — and moved into the top five in two key statistical categories: GAA (1.79, third in the NHL) and save percentage (.934, fourth). Not bad production from the 40th-lowest cap hit ($1.25 million) amongst all goalies this season, eh?

On the verge of record win streak, Avs roll with Giguere


The Colorado Avalanche are one win away from posting their longest single-season home winning streak since moving to Denver in 1995.

And they’re going to try and get it with Jiggy in goal.

Yes, veteran netminder J.S. Giguere will get his fourth consecutive start tomorrow against Tampa. This is noteworthy for two reasons: One, Giguere’s been playing inspired hockey as of late (1.62 GAA, .949 save percentage over the last three wins) and two, he’s relegated Semyon Varlamov to backup status.

And that’s noteworthy, because Avs GM Greg Sherman paid a small bounty for 23-year-old Russian netminder. It cost a unprotected first round pick (and a second-rounder in 2012 or 2013) to get him, then a three-year, $8.5 million deal to lock him up long-term.

While Varlamov’s $2.8 million annual cap hit isn’t huge, it’s a $2 millon raise from what he was making in Washington. It’s also double what Colorado is paying Giguere annually ($1.25 million) — and based on recent comments by head coach Joe Sacco, the team could have a goaltending controversy on its hands.

“Right now, it’s not too much of decision because Giggy is playing so well,” Sacco told the Denver Post. “We’ve won games, we’re getting results.”

Sacco’s in a precarious spot. His team has rallied to get back to .500 (earlier this month they were 13-16-1) and within spitting distance of a playoff spot, so wins are at a premium. In that light, it makes sense to roll with Giguere — but that only further buries Varlamov, who’s supposed to be Colorado’s No. 1 guy.