A NATURAL DISASTER
IF YOU HAVE TO PLAY THEM
My National Team tour leads me to one of the most offensive teams in the league, the Colorado Avalanche. The Av's most potent weapon is obviously the offense, with way too many players to mention who can put the puck in the net. This team has talent good enough to match up with any team in the National Hockey League.
So how do I really decide which players to write about? I thought I would do this blog on two players on this powerful team who make me proud that I am a Canadian. I am not only a fan of these two players for what they have done for this country, but also what they have done for this league. I am also going to write why this team has to be considered a contender.
Now on with the two players which I would like to write about: One is the captain, the other is Captain Canada. So who are the players? Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth.
Mr. Classy has been one of the most talented players in the league. He has been for many years. Why? Joe has averaged over a point per game in his career. Think about it; how many players in their late thirties have a 100 point year. Joe has had six one hundred point seasons. His best year was in 95-96, when he got 51 goals and 69 assists. Joe is one of the most inventive players in the league. He can pass an eye through a needle (yes I know I got that backwards). Joe is not only a great offensive player; he is very responsible in his own zone. He is consistently killing penalties, and of course on the power play.
If you just read his stats, you really don't get the full story. Joe the person is a whole lot more than just a hockey player. He is extremely loyal, staying with the Avalanche his whole career. The main reason I respect Joe Sakic so much is for the simple reason that he has more integrity in his little finger than I do in my whole body. That is not so much a shot at myself as much as it is observation to Joe's character. I have never seen Joe ever go behind a player's back calling them out to the press. Any problem Joe has, he takes care of in person. He simply exemplifies the word Canadian. He makes me proud to be a Canadian.
Nick-named Captain Canada, Ryan in a nut shell is the persona son of a gun. Meaning if there is a puck in the corner, Ryan will get it and go through 6 defensemen to score a goal. Ryan has a heart of champion. What he lacks in skill, he more than makes up for in tenacity. When there is a goal needed, Ryan will be there to score it.
Again, simply put, the ability is not the only thing that makes me like Ryan. Every time that Canada has asked, Ryan was there. He understands the meaning of honesty and integrity, and more importantly, he inspires people around him to be better people.
WHAT MAKES THIS COLORADO TEAM DANGEROUS
Hejduk and Savots have very good offensive skill. Savots, would have won rookie of the year any other year. Hejduk gives the team the secondary scoring that every team needs. The Avs have one of the best young forwards in Paul Statny; this kid is the real one.
Their defense is anchored by Hannon and Clark. They are vastly under-rated and are more than capable of carrying the load. They have Liles, and take my word for it, if Leopold can get healthy, he is a very good young defenseman.
Their goaltending has been much maligned. They don't have to be perfect; just good enough to give the Avs a chance. And most nights, they have been more than adequate. Theo and Budi compliment each other, which means they should be rested for the playoff run.
The Avs should be a playoff contender, if not a Stanley Cup contender. If their goaltending can hold up, there may be some celebration in Denver this season.