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AJ Haefele

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In the same way that when a team gets blown out and you don’t want to make too much of how a team looks at its worst, you also have to be careful about making too much of how a team looks at its best. I covered the 2016-17 Avalanche from beginning to end. I was the only local media…...

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It was a good news kind of morning at Ball Arena. The Colorado Avalanche began their day by announcing the return of fans to the arena. 4,050 fans will be allowed back to watch Avalanche and Nuggets games beginning April 2. That particular number represents approximately 22% of the max capacity of Ball Arena and the announcement resulted in the…...

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I’ve been using this space lately to give some shine to what the coaches have to say after games and I think given the…oddities…of tonight’s Avalanche game, it’s another good time to do it. When you have postgame quotes coming from Jared Bednar like: “I just didn’t like some of our habits in the first period when it comes to…...

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Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – C+ I thought Bellemare was thoroughly overshadowed by his linemates today but that is by no means a knock on him. He played a consistent and effective game. He’s an offensive black hole, though, and his one shot on goal was once again a high-danger chance that did not go in. At some point he has to…...

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I don’t want y’all to think I’m getting lazy over here or anything but the Avs just keep playing games that look like the previous ones but they’ve improved the results four straight games. From a regulation loss where they dominated to an overtime win where they dominated, then to essentially a 1-0 shutout win where they dominated, today was…...

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So, here’s the deal. The Avs just played their third straight game that looked exactly the same but with a little variety in the results. They’ve progressively gotten a little better as they went from losing in regulation to the Coyotes, then beating them in overtime, to beating the Los Angeles Kings tonight in regulation. The 2-0 win was Philipp…...

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Remember the game two days ago? The 3-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes despite outplaying them in every facet imaginable? Tonight’s dominant Avalanche effort was essentially a copy and paste repeat, even down to all of Arizona’s goals being deflected off Avalanche players. But when you produce games that look like this: …and that game causes an opposing coach to…...

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Every year, there are games where a team generally just outplays their opposition but either opportunistic play or plain old good luck erases hard work and more effective all-around play. I only bring this up for the obvious: the Avalanche deserved a better fate tonight. There have been plenty of struggles in their recent games and certainly some real questions…...

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There are some game stories I’m just not sure what to say. Every win and loss is a team effort. They don’t just fall out of the sky, you know? Sometimes, though, it’s hard not to go into this wanting to single a player out because one truly abysmal performance stood out among the rest. We’ve seen a bunch of…...

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When the Avalanche originally signed Val Nichushkin after Dallas officially gave up on him and bought him out, I went back and watched the video of his draft day to see what impressions were back when he was still considered a high-end prospect. https://youtu.be/yLSZBJZ8jOo?t=710 Just listen to this conversation. It’s almost spooky how on the nose it ended up being.…...

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Following a brief morning skate at Ball Arena, Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar announced that star forward Nathan MacKinnon was ready to go tonight against the visiting Anaheim Ducks. Having MacKinnon in the lineup is a stroke of good fortune for the club after he was the recipient of a headshot by San Jose rookie Joachim Blichfeld halfway through the…...

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I wrote two days ago that we were going to learn a lot about the Colorado Avalanche tonight. That the loss two days ago was so bad, so inexcusably lazy and self-inflicted, that the Avalanche would show their true colors in how they responded tonight. The team clearly agreed something had to be discussed as they held a meeting to…...

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After their 19th game and still sitting in a playoff spot, it would seem an odd time to push the panic button for the Colorado Avalanche. Just four points behind first-place Vegas, the Avs have started well enough to feel like they’ve weathered the early-season storms that have come their way, from another rash of injuries to a COVID shutdown…...

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In the COVID world, postgame pressers have become an even bigger dumping ground of cliche answers and rinse and repeat questions. When going through what Colorado had to say about tonight’s 6-2 win over Arizona, very little stuck out. There was a lot you expected (Tyson Jost said his first goal “felt awesome”, for example), some was a little nonchalant…...

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Goalies, man. They’re weird, unpredictable creatures even in the best of times. If you look at the numbers right now, goaltenders with a save percentage under .900 include Sergei Bobrovsky, Braden Holtby, Tuukka Rask, Carey Price, Robin Lehner, Carter Hart, and Ilya Sorokin. That’s a lot of hardware and two of the brightest young goaltenders in the game today. Even…...

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9-6-1 through 16 games? Stanley Cup contender? Are we sure? Following an embarrassing 6-2 loss on home ice to the Minnesota Wild, the Avs fell to sixth place in the West Division. The loss was the first time the Avs have lost two straight games this season. Nathan MacKinnon was scoreless for the second straight game and third time in…...

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The four-game series between the two favorites from the West Division finished much as it started – with an opportunistic Vegas team finding enough offense and then turning the keys over to highlight-machine Marc-Andre Fleury. The first game of the series was a 1-0 Vegas win in which the Avs played a sloppy, disjointed game where Fleury made no mistakes…...

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I guess technically I’ve had all day to start writing this piece because the puck dropped right about 12 and a half hours ago to begin Colorado’s third outdoor game experience, this time a Lake Tahoe “home” game against the Vegas Golden Knights. Sam Girard scored just minutes into the contest and the television broadcast worked overtime to prevent gratuitous…...

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In an 82-game season with a normal schedule, there isn’t very much you could do to paint the 13th game of the season as particularly important. You’d still have about 85% of the regular season remaining and most likely would see that team again down the road, especially a division rival. Maybe you’ve noticed but we’re not in a normal…...

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The Avs take on the Vegas Golden Knights in game two of their four-game set tonight. The news of the morning skate was the availability of Cale Makar, who missed Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Vegas. Head coach Jared Bednar said Makar was a game-time decision and if he doesn’t play, the lineup will be the same as Sunday. If Makar…...

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