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Fighting through ‘ups and downs,’ Ryan Graves is embracing a new role with Avs



Avalanche d-man ryan graves

It echoed through an empty Ball Arena. You could hear it from Club Level all the way on the other side of the ice, where this season’s “press box” is positioned for the media. And according to others watching it live on their televisions, those mics could hear it too.

27, that’s a hook.

Oh, f**k you!

It was his second penalty of the third period of the Avs-Sharks game on Jan. 26 — another pretty blatant hooking call with roughly 90 seconds to go in the game. The hook and the expletive-fueled tantrum was by No. 27 of the Avs, defenseman Ryan Graves, who was just coming off a healthy scratch the game before.

Graves spent all of a handful of seconds in the penalty box late in the third period before being escorted to the locker room. The referee had taken offense to Graves’ foul language, adding a 10-minute unsportsmanlike misconduct to his rapsheet. In total, 14 minutes of penalties came from Graves in the final period of that game against the Sharks, one that the Avs were already well on their way to winning 7-3. 

Graves, who broke into the league last season playing on the top pair with then-rookie phenom Cale Makar, had a rough go at it through his first 10 or so games of this season. The frustration boiled over in the waning seconds against the Sharks, and Graves lashed out. 

“I think he’s fighting it a little bit,” head coach Jared Bednar said of Graves after that game. “I met with him (the day before) and talked to him a little bit about the role I see him playing, because it’s a little bit different than last year…His role has slightly changed a little bit, but his game shouldn’t change from the way it was last year.”

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