Written by Sean Payton | 24 September 2010

San Jose Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov (20 looks over at fallen Colorado Avalanche center Peter Mueller after Sharks defenseman Rob Blake delivered a hit into the boards during the third period at the Pepsi Center on April 4, 2010 in Denver. Colorado earned two points by beating San Jose in overtime 5-4.  UPI/Gary C. Caskey Photo via Newscom
I’ve given it a few days.  I’m trying not to panic about Mueller’s concussion, but its not helping.
  • The big fact: This was Mueller’s FIRST GAME since Blake ended his season in APRIL (5 months ago!).
  • That means Mueller is either incredibly unlucky or incredibly fragile.
  • Which one do you think is more likely?
  • The part I find really scary: No one attending game can even recall the hit that caused Mueller’s injury, nor as far as I can tell was there any sign that Mueller was injured during the game.
  • Proof?  Dater wrote this after the game: "Mueller didn’t do much. He rarely had the puck on his stick, but at least he’s playing and seemingly healthy."
  • These phantom concussions remind me of the sort of concussions that Steve Young and Troy Aikman suffered at the end of their careers, when it seemed that any seemingly routine hit could knock Young / Aikman out.
  • Given these facts, I can’t imagine we will see Mueller back in the lineup anytime before Christmas.
  • And when he’s back, that Cascade M11 helmet better freaking work.  Otherwise, we're going to remember Peter Mueller as the guy we got 20 good games out of for @WojtekWolski.
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Written by Sean Payton | 21 September 2010

I had a great time at the Burgundy / White game.  I was almost on the glass (technically, row 4, but there were 0 rows - only a handicapped section in front of me.  The B/W game is the only game where I can sit that close without going nuts - any game of consequence and I’m finding a way to move up so I can see what the hell is going on on the other side of the ice.

I’m not going to give you player thoughts - I’ve already given plenty of “expert player analysis” (believe me, I’m using that term very loosely) and I can’t really evaluate very well sitting that close anyway - so I just have a handful of  thoughts for you…
  • This just in: the Avs 2009 Draft > the Avs 2010 Draft.
  • Number of 2010 draft picks left on roster - one.  (Luke Walker - 5th round)
  • Great to see a full building for the Burgundy / White game.
  • What the hell is with the parking / traffic situation at 1st Bank?
  • It shouldn’t take 15min to park at arena that boasts an NBA-D league team.
  • Only players who scored during a scrimmage Saturday and Sunday and scored during the Burgundy / White game? Ryan O’Reilly and Chris Stewart.
  • You can add Duchene if you count his SO goal during the Burgundy / White game.
  • I told my buddy right when they announced Duchene was up for the SO - “no way this isn’t going in”.
  • NHL - What the fuck is this?  Not funny.
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Written by Sean Payton | 19 September 2010

Same setup as day one.  (same 3 teams, 3 scrimmages, 45min each, no special teams)


Game 1 Blue 6, Grey 1
Blue: Yip, Talbot, O’Reilly,  Yip, Bournival, Jones
Grey: Duchene

Game 2: Black 5, Grey 1
Black: Stewart, C Cohen, Stewart, Liles, Stastny
Grey: Z Cohen (PS)

Game 3: Blue 3, Black 0
Blue: Yip, Jones, Talbot
Black: N/A

Only players to score goals on both days: Stewart, O’Reilly, Duchene. (Consistency - that’s why they're NHLers).
  • Avs played on the other ice sheet today, which meant less bleacher seats for fans, so I decided to stand on the glass, just a few steps up from the goalline.  It was fun to see the action so close, but being that close makes it much tougher to do player evaluations.  So take this with a grain of salt, I suppose.
  • Team Grey, which featured Avs regulars Duchene, Mueller, Hejduk, Wilson, Quincey, and McLeod, got outscored a combined 11-2 in their games.  Some of that was some less than stellar play in net from John "Grandpa" Grahame, but definitely not a lot of bright spots from Team Grey.
  • I’ve haven’t been impressed at all with Kyle Quincey.  Made a few bonehead plays today, then got frustrated and ran his stick up on Winnik when Winnik moved in for a check at center ice during game 2.  Kyle ended up fighting #34 and Daniel beat him down quickly.
  • Brandon Yip had 3 goals today.  I’m not sure if anyone is asking anymore, but there is absolutely no question Yip belongs in the NHL.
  • David Jones looked more like himself today.  Still not going to the net, but I’m sure getting on the board twice and winning both scrimmages was nice.
  • Zach Cohen put his head down and went to the net a few times in front of me.  Still doesn’t know what quite to do when he gets there, though.
  • Greg Maudlin - the darling of Day 1 was much less visible, and much more average today.
  • I got great view of Kevin Shattenkirk's play in his own zone during game 1 and I was impressed.  He made some nice, smart plays to get the puck out of dangerous situations.  Really the first time my eyes started to tell me that this kid is special, instead of just reading about it.
  • No Kyle Cumiskey again (groin).
  • Burgundy / White game tomorrow.  Go Team White!
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Written by Sean Payton | 18 September 2010

Check 'em out.  See you at camp tomorrow. no comments

Written by Sean Payton | 13 September 2010

Going with some quick bullet points (aka ABD style)...

  • I'll be Training Camp both Saturday and Sunday (9AM-12PM @ Family Sports) and at the Burgundy / White game in my infamous Payton #81 white unipron jersey.
  • Clearly I'll be rooting for Team White.
  • Come say hi, or at least tell me if Jibbles slaps a "kick me" sign on my back.  God knows my wife won't.
  • Speaking of my wife - an exact quote when I told her Roberto Luongo lost gave up the captaincy:
  • "Now he has something in common with Mike Modano besides being a douchebag."
  • I love my wife.
  • Too bad Ozo isn't coming to the 95-96 Reunion, but I'm pretty much ok with Chris "The Cheapshot" Simon not coming.  You know its bad when you have to decide which one to post.
  • Anyway - back to Training Camp - I read this somewhere, can't figure out where, sorry - the battle to watch for is Shattenkirk, Elliott and Gaunce - which one makes the team?
  • My money is on Shattenkirk.
  • Other things to watch for Sat - Mon:
  • Does Winnik suck or not?
  • Is Duchene clearly the best player on the team yet?
  • Does Hishon look worthy of a 1st round pick?
  • Is Stoa or Mercier ready to make a serious run at making the roster?
  • And if none of that excites you, you can just find me -- I'll be babbling on and on to anyone who will listen about why on earth we would re-sign David Koci.

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Written by Sean Payton | 02 September 2010

2 years / $5.75M. Surprising - no, but its nice to put to bed any worry that we wouldn't see #25 in burgundy and blue beginning next month...

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Written by Sean Payton | 25 August 2010

The Colorado Avalanche announced new number assignments today.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...
































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Written by Sean Payton | 17 July 2010

Since you read my blog, (besides having incredibly good taste) I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume you're a fairly hardcore Avalanche fan.  Assuming that you also live in Colorado, if you're anything like me, you were on Tickethorse.com at 10AM MDT sharp, refreshing the page with credit card in hand, ready to claim the best seats possible for the Sept 20th Burgundy / White game.

Well, unfortunately for us, our promptness was not rewarded.  Instead we were greeted with this:


"This" would be a webpage without a link to actually buy tickets to the event.  And really, that's the most important part.

I quickly confirmed (10:02AM) via Twitter that I wasn't alone in experience.  Without a working website, I was left with two choices: 1. Attempt to order via phone 2. Drive my unshowered behind 20 mins to the nearest Dick's Sporting Goods.

I chose method 1.  This experience wasn't any less frustrating.  After listening to the automated message all but beg me to go to TicketHorse.com to make my purchase, and warn me of "high call volume" and the potential for a "busy signal", I was able to press 1 in order to place my order.  Sure enough, busy signal.

And so I repeatedly refreshed the broken webpage, while my wife and I both repeatedly called TicketHorse -- only pausing to send complaint tweets to @TicketHorse.  And I wasn't alone:

  • @JessicaAvsFan WTF @tickethorse? The tix for the Burgundy/White game should be on sale and you don't answer your phones. Why should I do business with you?
  • @Curucar lame tickethorse, lame. Not putting the Avs' scrimmage game on your website, and your phone lines give me busy signals.
  • @anyonebutDET 40 mins and no communication via website or twitter, @tickethorse. very disappointed.

Thankfullly, right after I sent that last tweet, I refreshed the broken webpage and it was finally fixed - a "buy tickets" button suddenly.  I quickly secured my tickets and went on with my day.

Look, shit happens, websites can get messed up - and the problem was corrected in less than 1 hour, which really isn't too bad.  But I would have appreciated a quick message via Twitter, or maybe a banner on the webpage, anything that acknowledged the problem while it was occurring and / or an apology via Twitter after the fact.  As of 8:50PM MDT, neither have occurred (in fact @TicketHorse hasn't sent a single tweet all day.)

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Written by Sean Payton | 08 July 2010

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 22: Ben Walter #17 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Montreal Canadiens at the Prudential Center on January 22, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Colorado Avalanche signed former Devils forward Ben Walter to a 1 year deal yesterday.

In an Anyone But Detroit exclusive phone interview, Avs GM Greg Sherman had this to say regarding Ben Walter: "Everyone was clambering for us to go after #17 on the Devils.  So we did and we got him.  He's an all world talent who is going to be a big part of the success of this organization next year.  I probably shouldn't be telling you this, but I was really surprised we got him for so cheap.  I was also surprised that his accent wasn't thicker.  That's good news from a marketing standpoint - we're already planning a weekly segment with him and Duchene on Avalanche All Access."

When I mentioned to Sherman that if I didn't know any better, it sounded like he had Walter and Kovalchuk mixed up, he said "...what was that?...can't hear you...phone is connection is bad...heading under a tunnel, might lose connection..."

Walter will be a fine asset in Lake Erie next season.
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Written by Sean Payton | 26 June 2010

WINDSOR, ON - JANUARY 20: Joey Hishon #19 of Team Orr fires a pass during the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game against Team Cherry on January 20, 2010 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario. Team Cherry defeated Team Orr 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Joey Hishon - 1st round, 17th overall
Position: Center
From: Ontario, Canada
Wears: #18
Playing with: Owen Sound Attack (OHL)

Hockey's Future Talent Analysis:  Hishon is a very skilled center lacking ideal size.  He has a good compete level which may help him overcome his lack of stature, but he'll also have to show that he can handle the bigger competition he'll face in the pro game.

My take: Its pretty clear that the Avs feel Hishon projects to an elite player who's stock fell because he was banged up last year -- so much so that they weren't willing to trade down and hope he was still there.  Sure, it's a bit of a gamble, but isn't the whole draft in the first place?

WINDSOR, ON - JANUARY 20: Calvin Pickard #1 of Team Cherry waits for a shot during the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game against Team Orr on January 20, 2010 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario. Team Cherry defeated Team Orr 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Calvin Pickard - 2nd round, 47th overall
Position: Goaltender
From: Manitoba, Canada
Wears: #1
Playing with: Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)

Hockey's Future Talent Analysis:  Pickard is fundamentally sound with very quick reflexes. He handles the puck efficiently and covers the net very well due to excellent balance.

My take: It will be fun to watch a highly talented prospect in goal develop, however, goaltenders take forever.  Even the goalies who are talented enough to play in the NHL early and have success (Steve Mason, Carey Price) seem to go through extended periods of lackluster play.

WINDSOR, ON - JANUARY 20: Michael Bournival #78 of Team Orr skates in the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game against Team Cherry on January 20, 2010 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario. Team Cherry defeated Team Orr 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Michael Bournival - 3rd round, 71th overall
Position: Center / Left Wing
From: Quebec, Canada
Wears: #78
Playing with: Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)

Hockey's Future Talent Analysis:  Possesses the ability to play in all three zones and a no-quit, win at any cost attitude.  Bournival might not be the most talented player available, but his work ethic and dedication will help ensure that he becomes a viable NHL prospect.

My take: Sounds like he's got the right attitude - hopefully he can continue to develop his skills.  If he can make it with the big club, he shouldn't have any trouble getting #78.

WINDSOR, ON - JANUARY 20: Stephen Silas #26 of Team Orr skates with the puck in the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game against Team Cherry on January 20, 2010 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario. Team Cherry defeated Team Orr 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Stephen Silas - 4th round, 95th overall
Position: Defenseman
From: Ontario, Canada
Wears: #26
Playing with: Belleville Bulls (OHL)

Hockey's Future Talent Analysis:  (Not Available)

My take: The Avs must be fairly high on Silas, high enough to move into a high 4th round slot with the Islanders for next year's 3rd round pick in order to take him.  Not much out there on Silas, but he does have a profile on hockeyfights.com.


Sami Aittokallio - 4th round, 107th overall
Position: Goaltender
From: Tampere, Finland
Wears: #1
Playing with: Ilves (Finland - Jr)

Hockey's Future Talent Analysis:  Scout #1: "Aittokallio was circled on most teams' sheets because they wanted to know more about him but since he got hurt most teams are blind to his abilities so he will likely fall in the draft," said the scout. "My opinion is that he's the better goalie [than Iilahti] ...but his development seems to have slowed slightly where as Iilahti is really developing quickly. Aittokallio's biggest strength is his intelligence. He has really good reflexes and athleticism but just seems to really be able to slow the play down and control it when he has to."

My take: Finland has become a goalie factory: Backstrom, Kipprusoff, Renne, Toskala, Niittymaki, Rask, Niemi, etc.  I'm glad the Avs seriously upgraded their goaltending prospects with this draft.  Last year - they drafted Milan and Maxwell in late rounds and both did very little to convince anyone they were serious NHL prospects.  I'll go out on a limb and say that either Aittokallio or Pickard will wear the #1 for the Avs (it might take 10 years, though...).

WINDSOR, ON - JANUARY 20: Troy Rutkowski #2 of Team Cherry defends in the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game against Team Orr on January 20, 2010 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario. Team Cherry defeated Team Orr 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Troy Rutkowski - 5th round, 137th overall
Position: Defenseman
From: Alberta, Canada
Wears: #2
Playing with: Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

Hockey's Future Talent Analysis:  Rutkowski is solid on his skates and protects the puck well. He continues to build confidence in his defensive game, although he always appears to have the green light to jump into the play when opportunities arise.

My take: Sounds like your typical late round project.


Luke Walker - 5th round, 139th overall
Position: Right Wing
From: BC, Canada
Wears: #14
Playing with: Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

Hockey's Future Talent Analysis: (Not Available)

My take: Helped Team USA win goal in the World Juniors last January.  Cool.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Luke Moffatt poses after being drafted in the seventh round by the Colorado Avalanche during day two of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Luke Moffatt - 7th round, 197th overall
Position: Center
From: California, USA
Wears: #7
Playing with: Michigan Wolverines (NCAA)

Hockey's Future Talent Analysis: Does all the little things right and the puck seems to find him. Strong on puck, especially given his average size. Has offensive skills, may just need some more confidence to really shine.

My take: He's another project - but what do you expect with in the 7th round?  Good luck at Ann Arbor, Luke!

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