Aebischer will prevail as long as we just give him some time
DENVER – I have to admit, I was a little bit leary of seeing David Aebischer take over for the departing Patrick Roy this season. After seeing Aebischer perform in person on Sunday night, I’m a little less concerned.
To be honest, I spent most of the summer eagerly prying into each day’s transactions trying to figure out if Pierre Lacroix had landed us a top-notch goalie.
With J.S. Giguere looking at free agency in Anaheim and Curtis Joseph languishing in Detroit behind Dominik Hasek, I figured it was Lacroix’s responsibility to get us a goalie.
Despite only spending a handful of cash on Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya, though, Lacroix pretty much spent everything he had available, so I knew the season was going to open with Aebischer in net.
And true, he did let two slip by on Sunday night in the St. Louis Blues 2-1 victory over the Avalanche; just the same, he didn’t really make any mistakes.
As such, the Blues certainly challenged him. Doug Weight had several strong scoring chances that could have turned the game into a route, but Aebischer was there.
At one point, he stopped a shot that bounced through a melee of St. Louis and Colorado players screening him.
Then, late in the game, St. Louis center Petr Cajanek found himself alone in front of Aebischer in scoring range. The game easily could have finished 3-1, but Aebischer was there, swallowing Cajanek’s shot with his pads.
In all honesty, Keith Tkachuk’s game-winner was an absolute thing of beauty. He took a pass from Pavol Demitra on a lightning fast three-on-one that beat both defenseman Adam Foote and Aebischer.
The SKS line
Speaking of Kariya and Selanne, they, along with Joe Sakic, scored the lone Avalanche goal on Sunday night. It came on a power play initiated when St. Louis captain Al MacInnis lost his temper with Peter Forsberg and went to the box for it.
The puck came in front of the net to Sakic, who stabbed at an unsuccessful shot. Sakic took his own rebound and he pushed it ahead to Kariya who tucked it into the net just over Osgood’s left shoulder. Selanne was credited with an assist as well.
Several times through the night Kariya passed the puck to Sakic between his legs and, at one point, did a fascinating 360-degree spin to get the puck to Sakic in front of the net.
The lack of scoring by the Avs seemed almost to be a direct result of Sakic not being ready for how quickly Kariya could move the puck. The Avs may have had 40 shots on goal in the game, but a lot of them were weak and slow, allowing Osgood plenty of time to react.
Other Avalanche news
Look for Lacroix’s March trade-deadline posturing to continue for some time.
Lacroix and the Avalanche have agreed to terms that, according to them, should keep Lacroix in Denver until he feels like hanging it up.
No word on how much he’s getting paid or how long the agreement is actually for.
And ESPN has apparently noticed that winning two Stanley Cups and nine consecutive division crowns deserves a little extra recognition.
According to a press release from the NHL, the Avalanche will be featured in ESPN’s original series, “The Season.” The coverage comes in two parts, each one-hour long.
The first part will air on Feb. 12 at 8 p.m., featuring everything up to the All-Star break.
The second part will air on May 6 at 5:30 p.m., documenting the rest of the season.
Editor’s note: Richard Chittick will provide a monthly analysis of the Colorado Avalanche and other news in the world of hockey.
Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at email@example.com.
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