It was fun to converse with many of you today at camp. Saturday is usually always the busiest of the four days of camp, and today was no exception. Pretty much a full house on hand at Family Sports Center. It’s always fun at camp for this reason: you get to be in better contact with the fans and vice-versa.
Anyway, it was a pretty routine day for the Avs. Mostly line rushes and other drills again, but there was a bit of scrimmaging, or what might be better termed: simulated scrimmaging. It would look like a real scrimmage for a couple minutes, but then play would kind of stop and the coaches would set up another scenario and the players would simu-scrimmage off that. Sunday is the day when there will be a lot more scrimmaging.
A couple of site/personal notes before we go down the list of items from Day 2: The podcast will roll out next week. Not sure what day yet, as it depends on the impossibly busy schedule of Jesse Montano, who will serve as podcast producer extraordinaire and my sidekick on the show (not every week, but a lot). It’ll be a weekly podcast, but I have no doubt I’ll throw a bonus episode or two in there.
Also, I’m the new Avalanche Insider on Denver’s biggest sports radio station, 104.3 The Fan. I will be on during many mornings with Sandy Clough and Orlando Franklin, and after most every game on The Fan Late Night, with Shawn Drotar. So, make sure you have your dials (oh that’s right, they aren’t dials anymore) settings set to 104.3 The Fan or 1043thefan.com. On your drives home after the games, you can now have some good Avs talk to tune into.
Here is the audio of my Friday night appearance with Drotar. “Dater and Drotar” – could this become a thing?
OK, Day 2:
- Lots of praise again for Andre Burakovsky, for his work skating at first-line right wing with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabe Landeskog. I talked with “Burkie” today afterward and will have what I hope is a nice feature on him tomorrow. In the audio clips below, you’ll hear Jared Bednar expand more on Burakovsky.
- Here’s some of the risk Rantanen will take if he wants to keep waiting for his exact price: What if Burakovsky lights it up in his place, with MacK and Landy? This kid has some real talent with a puck, and as you’ll learn more tomorrow, he is itching to prove the Washington Capitals messed up, big-time, by trading him. Getting to skate with MacK and Landy is an opportunity any third winger would kill for. Mikko has superb talent and the Avs need him to win a Cup. But it’s funny how fast people can seem expendable in this world.
- I hesitate to say some players “looked good” and others didn’t, in what is mostly a dry chalkboard kind of day, but Conor Timmins looked good again. The Avs are going to have one heck of a smart D-man if he is blessed with good health.
- The Martin Kaut thing from Friday was probably overblown. He was trying to be silly and goofy. He has that kind of personality. But he’ll also never do that again probably. The whole thing in hockey is: “It’s OK to be a star, but don’t make it into a Broadway production, about yourself only.” You don’t want to attract attention to yourself too much in the still very buttoned-up, traditional world of hockey. And, if you’re going to make fun of yourself, don’t do it as a rookie after an endurance drill.
- The whole thing reminded me of Milan Hejduk’s “duck dance” in Dallas many moons ago. Czechs like to ham it up a bit.
- I remember when I did “suicides” as a kid in high-school basketball practices. You truly feel like you’re gonna die. Kaut probably felt that. But you can’t let it show in the pros.
- Mark Barberio is keeping his chin up, despite going into the season as kind of a forgotten guy, a guy who may have trouble cracking the top six on D. I truly think this: the Avs kept him around 1. Because they think he can still contribute as a player, but 2. Because he’s an awesome guy who sets a good example of a person who is appreciative of his station in life and is happy for the success of others, which can only rub off well on younger players down the road. The Avs have talked about wanting to build a culture for a while now. With guys like Barberio sticking around, that is proof positive.
- Bo Byram’s parents will start staying in town in October, at the house of Jeff Sirkka. Who is Jeff Sirkka? He played for the championship 1994-95 Denver Grizzlies team, and now is a police officer in Westminster. Byram’s dad was a teammate with Sirkka in the minors.
- You want to know how Bo Byram described Sirkka to me yesterday: “He’s a beauty.”
- Direct quote.
- I really like the demeanor of Philipp Grubauer. I always liked it last year, but I like it even more now. He’s a very smart dude, who is adaptable. He is what I would call a “learner”, a “seeker”, a “curious” type, who views life, it seems to me, in a more advanced, big-picture way than his still-tender age belies. He is going to be a bigger star in this league, I really feel.
- I always liked the demeanor of Semyon Varlamov too. I hope he kills it with the Islanders. There was always a lot more depth with that guy than people ever really saw. He got so much wiser every year, too, to us media folk. Unfortunately, the injuries kept piling up and it became harder to bounce back from them. I think Varly started out as a wide-eyed innocent in this game, but the sheer cold-heartedness business of the sport started to make him a bit jaded. The 2011 plane crash of his former KHL team, Jaroslavl, also really took a toll on him, that continues to this day. But he’s a solid guy, and I think he’s going to have a good comeback year, especially playing for Barry Trotz.
- Some goalies are kind of off on an island, from the rest of the team, but Grooby is approachable and likable in the room, and I think matters in the sport of hockey.
- I have not heard of any tangible progress in the Altitude/cable TV mess. I hear more and more that this will drag into the regular season. I am a Comcast customer myself. I’ll be at most/all of the games myself, but hell, I still want my Altitude! And no, my cable bill has NOT gone down by four bucks a month (the amount we pay as Comcast customers for the channel) since it got replaced by a test pattern. Shocker, right?
Some audio from the day:
- My talk with Tyson Jost, for a story that posted earlier on the site:
Two minutes with Ryan Graves, who looks much bigger in the upper body, whether he realizes it or not. I really like the kid’s attitude and the way he keeps working. I really think he’s going to be a nice, solid, regular D-man in the NHL before too long.
Jared Bednar’s seven-minute presser from today:
THREE THINGS I LIKE LATELY:
- The documentary on the 1970s musical scene in California, “Echo in the Canyon.”
- The soft chille rellenos at Las Delicias, in Thornton.
- The renovated atmosphere at Bender’s Sports Bar and Grill, in Westminster.