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AJ Haefele

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There are so many angles to Colorado’s 4-1 win in Game 6 that I could take here but I’d be lying if I tried to say the story was anything but Michael Hutchinson. It was one thing for him to get the surprise start in Game 5 and get the win. He was spotted five goals in a first period…...

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Gamesmanship is always one of the more interesting subplots to follow during any playoff cycle. Coaches not tipping their hand about lineups, player injuries being kept secret, it’s all a game organizations love to play in the effort to protect what they view as vital information for as long as possible. In the bubble environment where media is not allowed…...

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One of those hockey sayings you hear all the time is that you can’t win a game in the first period but you can certainly lose one. Tonight was the obvious night to apply that to as the Dallas Stars came out smelling blood with their 2-1 series lead and not wanting a repeat of Game 3 where they had…...

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On a day where the sports world largely pressed pause on itself beginning with the Milwaukee Bucks deciding not to play their postseason game and focus on issues back in Wisconsin, the NHL and its players largely decided to play on. “I don’t think I’d call those distractions,” Cale Makar said after the game when asked about his approach to…...

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I don’t even know what to say. Colorado had complete control of Game 2. They were leading 2-0 and controlling play. They were in a rhythm and playing well. There was intensity, effort, everything you wanted after a team played a bad Game 1. One extremely weak slashing call on Sam Girard, followed seconds later by Corey Perry freely slashing…...

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In sports, as in life, when things are going well, it’s easy to imagine all the ways in which that can turn and all your good vibes and fortune disappear. The fear is not knowing at which angle the universe will attack you. Enter the Avalanche, a team that entered Game 1 of their series against the Dallas Stars having…...

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The Arizona Coyotes represented the exact archetype that unconvinced Avalanche fans had come to worry about time and time again. They had a great goaltender, a low-scoring reputation and a gritty approach to the game. For years, the Avalanche were seen as the highly-skilled team that could get pushed around physically. Anytime a team punished them with consistent physicality, Colorado…...

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With the Avalanche wrapping up their series against with a win over the Arizona Coyotes, instead of game grades, I’m doing series grades as the Avs are on to Round 2. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – B This was a solid series for Bellemare. The offense isn’t really there but that isn’t why they got him. He did his job well in…...

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“You got me all fired up, Calvy.” Sitting in the middle of the table at the postgame presser, Nathan MacKinnon added a little extra after Matt Calvert talked up MacKinnon’s one-sided fight with Christian Fischer in the third period of Colorado’s 7-1 decimation of the Arizona Coyotes. Why was MacKinnon fighting in a game that had already been decided? Because…...

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The vast majority of games, there’s plenty of stuff for me to talk about. I can get into systems breakdowns and the different matchups that worked or didn’t work and all of the work that goes into line matching and the randomness of special teams on any given day. Today, though, Colorado lost their first game of the series 4-2…...

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It takes a village, right? While there are plenty of playoff heroics from the superstars who end up in the Hall of Fame, no team works their way through the gauntlet that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs without contributions from players further down in the lineup. Today was a perfect example of that as the Avalanche took a 2-0 series…...

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“Well they won the one game but you’ve got to win four.” Arizona head coach Rick Tocchet was pretty blunt (in hockey terms, anyway) during his postgame presser after his team got bodied in a 3-0 Game 1 loss to the Avalanche. He had previously ripped his team for what he deemed a “terrible” practice yesterday and it continued into…...

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The Colorado Avalanche open their Quest for the Asterisk this afternoon against the surprising Arizona Coyotes. The Avs are considered heavy favorites and sit as the odds-on favorites to win the Stanley Cup based on the betting lines. We’ve talked about Arizona a bit as a team led by elite goaltending from Darcy Kuemper but before the puck even reaches…...

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There’s a sweet spot in the life of every sports team where the fun far exceeds expectations and there’s really no downside when that club finally ends up losing. For the Avalanche, that sweet spot was last season. Making the postseason for the second straight year but just barely sneaking in again and being the eighth seed with just 90…...

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With no crowd on hand to constantly urge players to shoot every time they touch the puck, the Avalanche seemed to use their final round-robin game against Vegas to practice their passing. Or, overpassing, as the case might have been. “Yeah,” Nathan MacKinnon said after being asked during his postgame presser if the Avs should have shot the puck more.…...

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There are lots of ways I could start this postgame piece off. Puns, alliteration, dramatic flair, making fun of Texas (a Colorado favorite). Instead, let’s just be real about what we saw on the ice Wednesday in Edmonton. That was an ass-kicking. The Avs took the last vestiges of shine off the Dallas Stars on Wednesday evening in a 4-0…...

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It’s hard to say in a season where the Colorado Avalanche finished with 92 points in just 70 games (a 107-point pace across an 82-game season) and led the NHL with 24 road wins that they left many demons behind. Enter the Dallas Stars, however, and you have the only real pockmark on Colorado’s year. The Stars finished 4-0-0 against…...

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Welcome back, hockey! And I don’t mean that weird exhibition game against Minnesota that was like snacking on kettle chips while waiting for Thanksgiving dinner to finally hit the table. This was the real thing. Hockey that meant something, that actually counted. The Avs used all 59 minutes and 59.9 seconds available to them to top the St. Louis Blues…...

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“The puck stops here.” That’s the quote, right? No? Well for our purposes here today we’re going to pretend it is as we look at our final position preview before the Avalanche play their first round-robin game this afternoon against the St. Louis Blues. We’re looking at the goaltenders, of which the Avs have two who had solid (or better)…...

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There’s almost nothing in hockey more romanticized than the fourth line. Made up of a healthy mixture of youth and experience, the same barrier is true for almost all guys on the fourth line: they simply aren’t good enough to play higher in the lineup. Because of this, you typically find defensive specialists on fourth lines around the league as…...

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