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AJ Haefele

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There are roller coasters and there is tonight’s game. When a game gets billed as a “Stanley Cup preview” type of game, you tend to get a pretty good game, especially in the second half of the season. What the attendees at Pepsi Center got tonight was on another level. While the Tampa Bay Lightning walked out with a 4-3…...

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Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – B- Solid throughout, I didn’t really have any complaints from Bellemare. He won his share of faceoffs (63%), had a shot on goal (more than one would be nice) and was positive in pretty much all of the shot metrics you care about. He was fine. Andre Burakovsky – C- I didn’t notice him a lot offensively…...

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Coming into tonight’s game, it felt like a Stanley Cup preview. Even the fans were unusually amped up, with a verbal fight right below the press box beginning before the anthem and spilling over into the opening minutes of the first period that ended up with security removing some of the parties involved. While fans were fighting throughout the evening,…...

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I’m a sucker for love stories. Movies, songs, and apparently hockey ones, too. I’m all about them. In the last two years, the Avalanche has enjoyed watching the Nathan MacKinnon-Mikko Rantanen connection blossom into something special. It’s been the kind of connection that makes you believe something bigger might be in store down the road. This year, the rosy-cheeked Cale…...

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If there’s one thing the second half of the NHL season regularly produces, it’s desperation. Teams start to realize they only have so many games remaining on the schedule to get the points necessary to make the postseason and turn up the intensity a notch or two. After completing their first comeback win of the season last night in Columbus,…...

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“Goaltending is voodoo.” In the controlled chaos that is hockey, there is one guy whose job it is to make sense of it all, sift through the madness and decipher the future before it happens and react accordingly. Every game is different, every period has its own personality, and the puck is shaped in such a way that it bounces…...

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We knew when the schedule turned over to 2020 that Colorado was facing one of the league’s softest schedules of strength. In the 12 games since the new year began, the Avs have lost five games, just three in regulation, and continue putting themselves in position to challenge for the Central Division title. After a 6-1 beatdown of the Buffalo…...

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I’ve always been a big believer in how you respond to adversity says the most about you. Bad things happen to all of us but how you handle yourself when things are on fire, that’s really what brings out the character. The Avs weren’t anywhere close to “things are on fire” mode yet, but after a frustrating 6-3 loss to…...

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Coming into the post-bye week, Colorado had a few goals to accomplish in the final 33 games of the regular season as they work they way towards a third consecutive playoff appearance. Get some consistency from goaltending, sharpen the special teams, and get the top line playing like the top line again. In a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers,…...

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Every player has a routine when they finish up a practice and get into the locker room. For Ryan Graves, he takes his helmet off and immediately puts on an Avalanche baseball cap, usually backward. He looks at me and flashes the smile that’s made him so popular on Avalanche social media. We sit and talk about a little hockey…...

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With the trade deadline fast approaching, it’s become clear the Colorado Avalanche are among the top contenders to emerge from the west this year and compete for the Stanley Cup. No team is ever built perfectly and the trade deadline is not only the last chance for teams to improve its roster, but it also seems to serve as a…...

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There’s taking care of business and then there’s taking care of business. Colorado came into today’s matinee showdown against former rival (forever rival?) Detroit needing to win to have an eight-point homestand and go into the All-Star break trailing the St. Louis Blues by just six points. Two minutes into the game, Nikita Zadorov turned himself about like he was doing…...

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Style. Systems. Regular season success versus postseason success. Nothing brings these discussions to the forefront of Avalanche hockey quite like matchups against the St. Louis Blues. After the Avs lost both games in St. Louis earlier this year, making it six losses in a row against the Blues, the writing on the wall appeared clear: the Avs were not built…...

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We talked on the podcast this week about how Colorado can turn around this losing skid of theirs. It wasn’t a complicated formula. Don’t lose the special teams battle. Get saves. Win at even strength. We said two of those three would be sufficient to get Colorado over the hump and help them close out an opponent. In a 4-0…...

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Pierre Edouard Bellemare – C I think tonight was a pretty good example of who Bellemare has been most of his career. A solid NHL player with a very limited offensive ceiling and who helps in niche ways, one of which is faceoffs. He got crushed in the FO circle tonight and that’s not great. The rest, though, I think…...

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I don’t even know what to write about this game. I’ve been sitting here for several minutes just kind of lost in thought. It was all just so…familiar. Avs played well? Got an early lead? Check. Avs lost the special teams battle? Check. Avs had a lead going into the third period? Check. Avs blew it thanks to a combination…...

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60 minutes of hockey and the outcome can come down to something as small as one shift, one decision, one save made. Or in Colorado’s case, one save not made. Again. Entering another third period with a lead in front of their home crowd, the Avalanche once again found their way to a loss, this time 4-3 in overtime to…...

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There are losses and then there are losses. Even the best NHL teams lose around  30 games in a season but there are always a few that really stick out. When you have a 2-0 lead six minutes into the first period against a rookie goaltender making his NHL debut, you should be well on your way to securing two…...

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Let’s be real. We all saw this one coming, right? When the NHL schedule was released, we all could look at the Avalanche traveling to New York to take on the Islanders and Semyon Varlamov and expect the curse of the ex-Avs to kick in. Colorado has handled a few of their former players this year but skaters can be…...

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