The Avalanche will conclude their three-game Rookie Showcase today in Scottsdale, Ariz., against the top rookie prospects of the San Jose Sharks. After going the first four periods of their time in the Showcase scoreless, the Avs burst forth with five goals en route to a 5-4 overtime win over the Ducks. Though Bo Byram scored the winner in OT, Shane Bowers was the leading man for the Avs I thought.
Bowers scored two goals in the win, while Matthew Boucher and Denver native Jack O’Brien added the others.
Some personal takeaways:
- No question, Bowers looks bigger and stronger out there. He’s absolutely put on some muscle, as the Avs’ development staff wanted him to do, and it seems to be benefiting him nicely. I’ve seen a lot of guys put on muscle over the summer (or lose weight/bodyfat) and seemingly come into camp with a brand new game. The problem is, it’s usually not that simple. Your lifelong playing habits really don’t change too much, but if you can really add the new physique into said game and give it a new dimension, then you have something. It appears Bowers may be on to something.
- Bo Byram definitely had a strong game. His skating/edges are superb, and he seems to be very confident out there again. Of course, he’s playing against rookies and not NHL veterans, but one thing at a time.
- The really bad part of the game for the Avs was a disastrous final 1:01 of regulation, when the Avs somehow blew a 4-2 lead. Anaheim did pull the goalie, to give up two like that in the final minute? Not good, Bob. Goalie Trent Miner was beaten on the two goals, and had an average showing at best overall. At least, I thought.
- But the Avs got a power play in OT, and Byram won it with a big slapper. Teammate Sampo Ranta gave a nice screen on the shot.
- Alex Newhook probably should have been mentioned by now lol. He had four assists. No question about it, he’s going to score points in this league. Avs just have to find the right role in the lineup for him. To be determined.
Here’s what coach Greg Cronin had to say about things in general:
“First period, it was almost a sleep-in. It was almost like we were intimidated. It was not only sloppy, but there was no pace, no attack mentality. But we just told them, ‘There’s an opportunity here. There’s people here watching from the organization, and you don’t want to be playing hockey on your heels. They got the message, and I liked the way they played in the second period. Third period, they fought back, which they’re gonna do. But when we counter-attacked, got some pucks back, we got some momentum out of it.
“I thought Bo was good, I thought Newhook was good. It was his best game so far. He was good in all three zones. I thought Barron was good.”
In today’s game against the Sharks, Bowers, Newhook and Byram will sit out. Peyton Jones is expected to play in goal.