Avalanche vs Canucks - Game Preview - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Avalanche vs Canucks - Game Preview

It's game day once again and tonight, the Colorado Avalanche are hosting the Vancouver Canucks at the Pepsi Center.

Luongo suits up


This will be Roberto Luongo's second start since returning from a rib injury and he couldn't have come back sooner, with Andrew Raycroft finally showing his true form.

Against the Avalanche though, Luongo is a it less like Darkseid and a bit more like Dr. Horrible with a 2.97 GAA and .898 save percentage in 25 games against. So you'll have to pardon me for feeling a bit cocky about the matchup.

I hope someone catches the connection between the headline and the second paragraph. I bet Jori will...

Jersey foul


The Avalanche's new third jersey is a foul in and of itself. I still don't mind the "uniprons" but I'm with Tapeleg here, these just aren't doing it for me. I know the Avs colors are burgundy and blue, but they shouldn't have barfed blue all over this jersey. It's too much. And where the hell is the yeti foot?

Hejduk Returns


The Avalanche will get Milan Hejduk back and it looks like he'll play with Matt Duchene. Most excellent. This also means that David Jones will stay on the top line and Marek Svatos will get bumped down to the third line. That's a win all the way across the board if you ask me.

Preissing Appears


Tom Preissing will suit up for the first time as a Colorado Avalanche. You know what? I'm excited to see what he'll do for this team. Don't expect a monster game as he'll need to find his groove again,

And note to Joe Sacco: this is so not a must win game. Look, I get what you're trying to do but if the team puts in a valiant effort and loses, that will still be forward progress.

Simon says


Today's game preview is a special edition which includes a Q&A session with Simon from the Canucks blog Dan Cloutier for Vezina, where he also has posted a Q&A session with myself.

With Roberto Luongo on the shelf, Andrew Raycroft helped carry the Canucks with some solid goaltending. Does this mean Vancouver will be more willing to rest Luongo and start Raycroft in hopes of keeping him fresh for a playoff run?

Probably not. Luongo is a guy that, while healthy, pretty much has to play every night. Even when it comes to optional practices during the season, Luongo will show up to work on his game and hates to take any time off. It even came to the point a while ago where the Canucks had to kick him off the ice from an optional skate just he’d take a break. So with all that being considered it seems pretty unlikely that Luongo will be sitting on the bench unless they are playing back-to-back on the road. The long fourteen game round trip surrounding the Olympics and the fact that Luongo will be playing in the Olympics means that Raycroft might get an extra start or two that back-up goalies typically don’t get here but ultimately I don’t see the team sitting down Luongo much at all now that he’s back.

Mikael Samuelsson was thought by many to be a product of a great team. So far, he is on pace to eclipse his season highs in points and goals. Do you think he can keep up this pace?

He probably can, but with that being said, I’d like to see him tidy up his overall game. Too often he is turning the puck over or is a defensive liability. Especially when he plays the point on the power play, if he as much as fumbles the puck, you can expect a great scoring chance for the other team. He’s a minus player on the team right now which is something that I’m sure the coaches would like to see him improve on. With all the injuries the Canucks have right now, they have been playing a defensive style of hockey which means they don’t have the luxury of being allowed to have guys who are frequently -1 or -2.

When the Canucks matched the Flyers offer sheet on Kesler, it appeared to drive up salaries for what would be considered grind-line player. Since then, Kesler has gone on to be a key cog for the Canucks. Does he appear to be future captain material for this team?

He absolutely is future captain material. If he stays in Vancouver then he’ll be waiting a long time for the ‘C’ since Luongo is here for the foreseeable future but Kesler is definitely one of the best leaders on the team. I see him more as a “leader by example” type rather than someone who is outspoken. That’s fine since no one plays harder than Kesler on a shift-to-shift basis than him. He can often go out and dominate a shift and you’ll see the type of potential he has to be a leader.

Looking back I don’t think too many people objected to the Canucks matching the offer sheet that Clarke put out there since Kesler showed a lot of signs for potential. When he first came into the league he had great speed but lacked any kind of finish. He got his game together playing on the checking line with Alex Burrows and I think Burrows and Kesler really fed off each other a few years ago when they were as automatic of a combo as Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Now that Burrows and Kesler are playing bigger and more offensive rolls they both have each other to thank for the chemistry they had on the checking line.

Was sending Cody Hodgson back to Brampton the right move for his future?

Yes, and looking back now Hodgson probably shouldn’t have been playing in the pre-season trying to earn a spot on the team. His back clearly hadn’t fully recovered from injuring it while working out prior to the Canadian World Jr. Camp. There isn’t much for him to accomplish in the OHL anymore and he might even get a little bored but it’s certainly better than having him confidence shattered by poor production in the NHL and losing a year of his entry level contract. I fully expect him to come back to camp next season and be more like the player the Canucks saw two years ago after being drafted and what we saw last December and January at the World Juniors.

Game time


The puck drops at 10:08pm ET and it's on the CBC, home of Don Cherry, Jim Hughson and Shane Giroux.

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