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Injured Colorado Avalanche forwards Nazem Kadri and Andrew Cogliano are showing progress

Injured Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri Andrew Cogliano went ice skating with an assistant coach Thursday after missing Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. (Author: Gardener)

Andrew CoglianoDENVER — Injured Colorado Avalanche forwards Nazem Kadri and Andrew Cogliano went ice skating with an assistant coach Thursday after missing Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Kadri ran with a stick in hand for the first time since injuring his right thumb when he hit the boards on the last lap. Cogliano took a puck to the right hand in Colorado's series bracket in the Western Conference Finals against Edmonton. Still, Cogliano appears more ready to face the Tampa Bay Lightning than Kadri, who was injured in a hit by Evander Kane that resulted in a one-game suspension. The Avalanche lead the series 1-0 with Game 2 scheduled for Saturday night. A day after saying that he and his Colorado Avalanche goalie partner Pavel Francouz usually get a text message the night before a game telling them who's starting, Darcy Kuemper finally admitted it wasn't such a big secret, to go to the Stanley Cup finals. There was no goaltender controversy then, and there is no goaltender controversy for the Avalanche now after Kuemper made 20 saves on 23 shots in an overtime win to open the streak. Kuemper has coach Jared Bednar's confidence in Game 2. The Avalanche played it like it was some sort of debate between Kuemper, their all-season starter who has missed time in this playoff through injury, and Francouz, who is 6-0 subbed. They know they are one of only five teams in NHL history to have two different goaltenders win at least five games each during a playoff run. But most teams would like to lean on one man, and Kuemper, accidentally smacking a stick in the right eye through a hole in his mask in the first round, is the only thing stopping him from playing every game. Kuemper insists he is now fully healthy. That was evident in a couple of key stops he made on three successful penalty kills in Colorado in Game 1, which was another step for him to make the eye injury a thing of the past. "It was an unfortunate incident on the first lap," he said. It's not easy to watch some of those games but the team was so great that I was just worried about getting fit and getting healthy. Lightning star Brayden Point got off to a slightly slow start in Game 1 but that's understandable given he hadn't played in a month due to a right leg injury. Despite the long break, Point skated for nearly 18 minutes, assisting Nick Paul's goal and drawing a penalty. Having started the series in Tampa Bay's third row, Point is now a candidate to move closer to his usual front row role. "It's not per se where I'm going to place Brayden Point," trainer Jon Cooper said Thursday. "That's what's best for our team, and it's usually good for us when he's in the lineup." Cooper liked what he saw in Point in the first set, although it's clear that the Lightning's leading scorer in the latter hasn't returned to that form in both playoffs. "He handled it pretty well," Cooper said. I can expect he'll get more ice time as he gets better.” Neither team trained with an extra day between Games 1 and 2 on Thursday. Some Avalanche players have been training at the rink, but the priority is rest as almost all expect a long streak. "In a seven-game streak, you can't be caught admiring a win, or whatever you want to call it," said Colorado defenseman Bowen Byram. The extra rest day can only help the Lightning. Beyond Point, Lightning's injury front is affecting forward Brandon Hagel, who has skipped some practice but continues to play through an undisclosed illness. "The Brayden Points could use that extra day, the Brandon Hagels could use that extra day," Cooper said.

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Colorado Avalanche is sky high in confidence as they win Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals

These Avalanche may be the newcomers, but they are undeterred by the prospect of having to dethrone the two-time defending champion to win the Lord Stanley's Cup. (Author: Gardener)

ColoradoWyoming family killed in crash on I-25 identified, ages range from 51 years to 3 months old The five family members killed in a crash on Interstate 25 earlier this week have been identified by the Weld County Coroner. Greenwood Village police help rescue person in crisis from I-25 overpass Greenwood Village police rescued a person in crisis on an Interstate 25 overpass Thursday afternoon. Colorado Rapids fans can watch MLS games on Apple TVApple and Major League Soccer have announced a deal to broadcast all MLS games on Apple TV starting next year. Summer is in full swing In VailVail celebrated the last day of the ski season on May 1st and now Summer activities are in full swing. Nebraska man pleads guilty to threatening poll officials with your prognosis. Gateway Towns to Yellowstone become dead ends after flood Search continues in Pitkin County's Roaring Fork River for man who fell in. A search is underway in Colorado for a man who reportedly fell into the Roaring Fork River Cloudy and hot weekend wildfire smoke from New Mexico and Arizona will stream back into Colorado Thursday night and Friday. The smoke will combine with intense heat to create a hazy start to the weekend. Flooding leaves a dramatic change in the Yellowstone landscape and communities that have grown around it. Colorado Rapids fans can watch MLS games on Apple TVApple and Major League Soccer announced a deal to broadcast all MLS games on AppleTV starting next year Assistant coach on Thursday after winning Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals missed against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Kadri ran with a stick in hand for the first time since injuring his right thumb when he hit the boards on the last lap. Scoliosis Awareness Month: Early Detection is Key June is Scoliosis Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and education about the disease. Wyoming family killed in crash on I-25 identified, ages 51 years to 3 months The five family members killed in a crash on Interstate 25 earlier this week have been identified by the Weld County coroner's office at the Overpass Crisis I-25 Greenwood Village police rescued a person who was in crisis on an Interstate 25 overpass Thursday afternoon. Colorado Rapids fans can watch MLS games on Apple TV starting next year.Summer is in full swing In VailVail celebrated the last day of ski season on May 1st and now summer activities are in full swing.Scoliosis Awareness Month: Early Detection is June is Scoliosis Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and education about the disease. Floods that forced Yellowstone to close are now causing severe damage in Montana. The National Guard had to rescue 90 people from the Red Lodge area.

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Lightning outperforms Avalanche in the Stanley Cup finals

By STEPHEN WHYNO AP Hockey Author DENVER (AP) — Minutes after losing Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals in overtime, Patrick Maroon scoffed at the idea that it was some kind of gut punch against the Tampa Bay Lightning. “This is Game 1. We just got (Author: Gardener)

AvalancheDENVER (AP) -- Minutes after losing Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals in overtime, Patrick Maroon scoffed at the idea that it was some kind of gut punch against the Tampa Bay Lightning. "Two really good teams are going to work," he said. “This is Game 1. Few teams in recent NHL history do it better, which is why the Lightning are unfazed by chasing the Colorado Avalanche. The two-time defending champions have won 11 consecutive series since the start of their remarkable post-season run in 2020; Tampa has lost openers in five of them — including twice this postseason — and the experience has steeled them for situations like this. "It's not about riding the wave of a game," coach Jon Cooper said Thursday. It is understandable that we are playing against another team. We can't win the series in one game, and (the players were) really good at it.” The players wasted no time moving on to Game 2 on Saturday night. After all, Tampa Bay had roared back from a 3-1 deficit in the first half to level the opener ahead of Andre Burakovsky's overtime winner. Elements from successful sections of Game 1 can feed into the team's future tweaks and changes. "We've done a great job of making adjustments after losses so we'll try to do that," said captain Steven Stamkos. "The mindset is we're here to win a series and you don't know when that's going to come: four games, five, six, seven. The Lightning have won streaks in all of these combinations for the past three postseasons. It's hard to forget that Tampa Bay was defeated by Columbus in the first round in 2019 after rolling through the rest of the league all season and winning the Presidents' Trophy with the best overall record. The adjustments, with no panic moves like firing Cooper or breaking the core, paved the way for this run. The memory of that series and the 11 since that ended with them on the smiling side of the handshake line combine to give the Lightning the perspective they have today. "That's the great thing about our group, there aren't many situations we haven't been in," said longtime winger Alex Killorn. We move forward with confidence. That includes figuring out how to slow down the fast-paced Avalanche, who wants to turn games into track meetings and use their offensive talent to score goals. Though Colorado hasn't progressed past the second round in the past four years, he also has plenty of playoff experience and knows he can expect a big pushback from the champions in Game 2. Coach Jared Bednar believes the best way to deal with this is for his team to keep playing his style. "Regardless of how Tampa plays, we have a specific identity that we must play in order to be successful," Bednar said. Tampa Bay is the first team since Wayne Gretzky's Edmonton Oilers in the mid-1980s to reach the Finals three straight years and is four wins away from the league's first three-pointer since the New York Islanders dynasty in the early '80s. As unusual as it was for Tampa Bay to trail 2-0 to the New York Rangers in the last round, the Avalanche present a different challenge behind their high-end talent. While the Lightning need to improve their game, ahead Whatever the way they start, their mentality is now their biggest asset. "It took us a while to get into that mindset, but we've really evolved that over the years," Cooper said. "Hopefully we can do that in another series and take another step forward."

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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche tips, odds

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche face off in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals Saturday at the Ball Arena in Denver. (Author: Gardener)

Colorado AvalancheThe Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche meet Saturday at the Ball Arena in Denver in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. According to Tipico Sportsbook, the Avalanche are the favorites in the game with 1.5 goals. Colorado is on the money line at -155 and Tampa Bay is +125. More: Stanley Cup Finals Preview: What you need to know about Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Kevin Hansen writes, "Based on high-tech machine learning and data, Dimers.com simulated Saturday's Lightning Avalanche NHL Stanley Cup Finals 10,000 times. DimersBOT, Dimers' popular predictive analytics model, gives the Avalanche a 57% chance of defeating the Lightning in Game 2 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals." It states, "It was a heartbreaking loss for the two-time defending champion of the Stanley Cup in Game 1, but missing out on a series in this playoff is nothing new for the Lightning.” After defeating the Florida Panthers in the second round, Tampa Bay lost the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals vs. the New York Rangers.Lightning head coach Jon Cooper didn't like Wednesday night's effort against the Avalanche, and that was reflected in the Lightning shooting at goal by a wide margin, 38-23 Losing a goal says a lot about the quality of Andre Vasilevskiy's goalie. Tampa Bay still has the best goalie in the series." Vincent Senick writes, “Last time out, Colorado won the opener of the Stanley Cup with a 4-3 win in overtime on Wednesday night. The Avs controlled this game and led 3-1 after the first, but the Lightning didn't give up. The game ended with two goals in 43 seconds of the second period. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 34 of the 28 shots he faced and Tampa killed two of the three Colorado power plays. Darcy Kuemper kept 20 of the 23 shots in his net. and the Avs killed all three Lightning power plays on the night." More: Andre Burakovsky gives Avalanche a thrilling overtime win over Lightning in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The side have Colorado favorites over Tampa Bay Saturday in Denver The website predicts that Tampa Bay will win Saturday's Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals and that the total will increase The website's formula predicts that Colorado will beat the Lightning in Saturday's Game 2 at the Ball Arena in Denver It gives the Avalanche a 58.1% chance of winning the game and it gives the Lightning a 41.9% chance of achieving the win Gannett may earn revenue from Tipico for viewer referrals to betting services Tipico has neither influence nor are such earnings in any way dependent on or connected to newsrooms or coverage This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Stanley Cup Gam e 2 picks: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche Colorado Avalanche

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Avalanche hero Valeri Nichushkin could be the best $850,000 Joe Sakic has ever spent. During the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals, he reminded everyone why.

A tip on the $850,000 salary cap given by Avalanche general manager Valeri Nichushkin three summers ago, a deal that's aged like the finest wines. And that pays off in the finals of the Stanley Cup. (Author: Gardener)

Valeri NichushkinPicking a favorite Joe Sakic steal is like picking a favorite kid. But a $850,000 salary cap tip given three summers ago by Avalanche general manager Valeri Nichushkin, a deal that has aged like the finest wines. "You know, I think about that (sometimes)," reflected Nichushkin, the two-way forward - whose kissing court set up Burakovsky's game-winning overtime laser for Andrew Burakovsky in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals - earlier this week. “Like what I was like three years ago and where I am now. Feels good, you know?” “He was great,” defender Bo Byram said of his Russia teammate, who had a goal and an assist with six team-high shots in Game 1. "[Nichushkin] is a playoff player." On the NHL's deepest list, the 27-year-old winger keeps finding ways to stand out — and it's not just because he's 6-foot-4 in flip-flops. Once the Stanley Cup turns on that spotlight, there's nowhere to hide. The moment finds you. Only Nathan MacKinnon (11 goals), Gabe Landeskog (nine) and Artturi Lehkonen (seven) have lit the lamp more times in this playoff run than the No. 13 with six goals. The Peanut Gallery on Twitter will tell you that any schmo would look salty on a line that also has MacKinnon and Landeskog alongside it. But coach Jared Bednar's move to keep Nichushkin as the right wing of that top flight has seen aces on at least two fronts. While Rantanen and center Nazem Kadri have forged a relationship that has seemed almost telepathic at times, Nichushkin has improved nearly every combination he's been involved with on the ice over the past six weeks. "He's a huge X-Factor," Bednar said of Nichushkin after Game 1. "He's been doing things (like that) for us for a couple of years now. (What) an incredible season he's had so far. He was a difference maker for us almost every night.” Big Val has always had the physical attributes – size, speed, vision, defensive ability, soft hands – to turn the script around in a snap. Even for the two-time defending champion of the Stanley Cup. He is tall. He's physically fit," Byram said of Nichushkin, who netted a career-high 25 goals in the regular season. "He was definitely one of our best players for the playoffs. Nichushkin, like Kadri, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent after the end of that magic carpet ride. And like Kadri, it's hard to imagine the Avs dancing this far without him. "It was amazing," Nichuskin said of Avs fans. "I like to go for walks a lot. And when I go outside I feel like everyone knows me... it feels good.” It feels like home. A guy the Dallas Stars once left on the street like an old sofa has since proven to be a trusted, integral piece of furniture here. "(He) had some really good chances for himself." And set up a scoring chance for Burakowski. Of course, keeping Big Val in Burgundy will cost a lot more. Although after Wednesday night it's hard to argue that it wouldn't be worth every penny.

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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche TV Information

Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche face off in the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals. Here's how to watch the series. (Author: Gardener)

Bay LightningTampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche face off in the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals. Here's how to watch the best-of-seven NHL Playoff Finals series where Colorado has home field advantage. Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Corey Perry (10) and Colorado Avalanche left wing J. More: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche Tips, Odds: Who Will Win Stanley Cup Final Game 2? More:Stanley Cup Finals Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche Things to Know More:Stanley Cup Finals Tips, Odds: Who Will Win the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche Series? VOTING: What's your prediction for the #StanleyCup final between #Lightning and #Avalanche? #GoAvsGo #GoBolts (Series odds, tips: https://t.co/tTZBVdA7Cq) @azcentral – azcentral sports (@azcsports) June 14, 2022 This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Stanley Cup Final Schedule: Tampa Bay Lightning vs .

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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche tips, odds

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche face off in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals Saturday at the Ball Arena in Denver. (Author: Gardener)

Colorado AvalancheThe Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche meet Saturday at the Ball Arena in Denver in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. According to Tipico Sportsbook, the Avalanche are the favorites in the game with 1.5 goals. Colorado is on the money line at -155 and Tampa Bay is +125. The over/under for the game is set at 6.5 goals. More:Stanley Cup Finals Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche Things to Know More:Stanley Cup Finals Tips, Odds: Who Will Win the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche Series? Kevin Hansen writes, "Based on high-tech machine learning and data, Dimers.com simulated Saturday's Lightning-Avalanche NHL-Stanley Cup final 10,000 times. DimersBOT, Dimers' popular predictive analytics model, gives the Avalanche a 57% chance of defeating the Lightning in Game 2 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals." It states, "It was a heartbreaking loss for the two-time defending champion of the Stanley Cup in Game 1, but falling out in a series in this playoff is nothing new for the Lightning.In the first round, the Lightning lost the series opener to the Toronto Maple Leafs after Tampa Bay defeated the Florida Panthers in the second round Tampa Bay lost the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals to the New York Rangers Lightning head coach Jon Cooper didn't like Wednesday night's performance against the Avalanche, and that was reflected in the Lightning winning by a large margin over the Scored a goal, 38: 23. The fact that the Lightning only lost by one goal, although they were overwhelmed in the possession battle, says a lot about the quality ät from Andre Vasilevskiy's goalie.Tampa Bay still has the best goalie of the series." Vincent Senick writes, “Last time out, Colorado won the opener of the Stanley Cup with a 4-3 win in overtime on Wednesday night. The Avs controlled this game and led 3-1 after the first, but the Lightning didn't give up. The game ended with two goals in 43 seconds of the second period. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 34 of the 28 shots he faced and Tampa killed two of the three Colorado power plays. Darcy Kuemper kept 20 of the 23 shots in his net. and the Avs killed all three Lightning power plays on the night." More: Andre Burakovsky gives Avalanche a thrilling overtime win over Lightning in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The side have Colorado favorites over Tampa Bay Saturday in Denver The website predicts that Tampa Bay will win Saturday's Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals and that the total will increase The website's formula predicts that Colorado will beat the Lightning in Saturday's Game 2 at the Ball Arena in Denver It gives the Avalanche a 58.1% chance of winning the game and it gives the Lightning a 41.9% chance of achieving the win Gannett may earn revenue from Tipico for viewer referrals to betting services Tipico has neither Influence, nor is such revenue in any way dependent on or connected with newsrooms or reporting This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Tampa Bay Light ning vs. Colorado Avalanche Tips, Odds: Who Will Win Stanley Cup Final Game 2?

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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche tips, odds

The\u00a0Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche\u00a0 meet Saturday at the Ball Arena in Denver in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. (Author: Gardener)

Bay LightningThe Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche meet Saturday at the Ball Arena in Denver in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. According to Tipico Sportsbook, the Avalanche are the favorites in the game with 1.5 goals. Colorado is on the money line at -155 and Tampa Bay is +125. The over/under for the game is set at 6.5 goals. More:Stanley Cup Finals Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche Things to Know More:Stanley Cup Finals Tips, Odds: Who Will Win the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche Series? Kevin Hansen writes, "Based on high-tech machine learning and data, Dimers.com simulated Saturday's Lightning-Avalanche NHL-Stanley Cup final 10,000 times. DimersBOT, Dimers' popular predictive analytics model, gives the Avalanche a 57% chance of defeating the Lightning in Game 2 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals." It states, "It was a heartbreaking loss for the two-time defending champion of the Stanley Cup in Game 1, but missing out on a series in this playoff is nothing new for the Lightning.” After defeating the Florida Panthers in the second round, Tampa Bay lost the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals vs. the New York Rangers.Lightning head coach Jon Cooper didn't like Wednesday night's effort against the Avalanche, and that was reflected in the Lightning shooting at goal by a wide margin, 38-23 Losing a goal says a lot about the quality of Andre Vasilevskiy's goalie. Tampa Bay still has the best goalie in the series." Vincent Senick writes, “Last time out, Colorado won the opener of the Stanley Cup with a 4-3 win in overtime on Wednesday night. The Avs controlled this game and led 3-1 after the first, but the Lightning didn't give up. The game ended with two goals in 43 seconds of the second period. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 34 of the 28 shots he faced and Tampa killed two of the three Colorado power plays. Darcy Kuemper kept 20 of the 23 shots in his net. and the Avs killed all three Lightning power plays on the night." More: Andre Burakovsky gives Avalanche a thrilling overtime win over Lightning in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The side have Colorado favorites over Tampa Bay Saturday in Denver The website predicts that Tampa Bay will win Saturday's Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals and that the total will increase The website's formula predicts that Colorado will beat the Lightning in Saturday's Game 2 at the Ball Arena in Denver It gives the Avalanche a 58.1% chance of winning the game and it gives the Lightning a 41.9% chance of achieving the win Gannett may earn revenue from Tipico for viewer referrals to betting services Tipico has neither influence nor is such revenue in any way dependent on or connected to the newsrooms or reporting.

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The nine critical decisions that made the Avalanche a juggernaut

Joe Sakic was Colorado's captain the last time the franchise won the Stanley Cup. As GM, he's finally brought them back onto the NHL's biggest stage. (Author: Gardener)

AvalancheDENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche is not an overnight success. Joe Sakic knows this better than anyone. He was Colorado's captain when the franchise last won a Stanley Cup in 2001. Now, 21 years later, Sakic is the architect behind the Avalanche's return to a finals opening Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning (8 ET, ABC and ESPN+). Sakic took the reins as executive vice president of hockey operations in Colorado in 2013, having served as a consultant since 2011. He turned the Avalanche into a beast, but it wasn't easy. Along the way there were tough decisions, lost seasons, coaching changes, heartbreaking losses, crippling disappointments, and aching doubts about whether Colorado would ever reach its potential. When Colorado was the league's worst team in 2016-17, Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog wasn't sure his team would ever step onto hockey's biggest stage. Colorado had the talent to get there last season when it won the NHL's Presidents' Trophy only to fall in the second round of the playoffs. Just like they had done the year before. Colorado has gotten over its second-round malaise. And today, as he looks at the 2022 version of his Avalanche, there are obvious parallels to the championship team he led over two decades ago. "[We had] depth," Sakic said. “We had a lot of star players, a deep lineup, guys who played their role, who knew their role and accepted their role. This year we were really focused on losing two conference finals in Game 7 and we had our mission from the Here's a look at Colorado's road to the finals punctuated by a lot of right decisions Sakic made along the way. But for Colorado there was only one first choice: Nathan MacKinnon. Sakic Selected The Halifax Mooseheads are putting the rest of this talented class front and center, and it was a franchise-defining move. MacKinnon made his NHL debut on October 2, 2013. At just under 18, he became the youngest skater to ever play an Avalanche jersey. He has since become Colorado's most prolific player, appearing in 638 regular-season games with 242 goals and 648 points. He has an additional 39 goals and 87 points in 64 playoff tilts. It didn't need to be a hockey expert to know MacKinnon would be special, but Sakic still deserves edit cr for not only making the call but also brokering MacKinnon's first major contract, which was tremendously team-friendly. MacKinnon became a restricted free agent in 2016 and Sakic signed a seven-year, $44.1 million contract. That's $6.3 million per season for a player who scored 20+ goals in two of his first three NHL seasons and won the 2013-14 Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie. He is the league's fifth-highest goalscorer (183 goals and 495 points in 420 games) since agreeing to that deal - and is currently the 94th highest-paid player, just above Montreal's Jeff Petry. If MacKinnon becomes an unrestricted free agent after next season, he will be in the market for a raise. But signing a seven-year deal for your best player at that price gave Colorado ample opportunity to fill out the list elsewhere. Sakic matched the Avalanche in picking an almost generational talent like MacKinnon to essentially become the face of the franchise -- and then showed his mettle as a GM at the negotiating table. Sakic never saw it coming. Sakic said he asked Roy to think about it further. In the blink of an eye, Colorado was coachless a month after training camp. Sakic had to fight back. Two weeks later, Sakic hired Jared Bednar to replace Roy. Bednar has never been an NHL head coach. And with Roy's unexpectedly quick departure, Bednar didn't have time to bring in his own staff. He didn't know the Avalanche players. It's no wonder Colorado was last dead in Bednar's debut campaign in 2016-17. However, Sakic believed in Bednar's long-term potential. The following 2017-18 season, the Avalanche improved 47 points to make the playoffs for the first time in four years, and Bednar was a finalist for the Jack Adams. In 2018-19, Bednar led Colorado back into the postseason in what was the organization's first consecutive playoff tie since 2005-06. Taking over from a franchise legend like Roy could have intimidated Bednar. Sakic was confident in Bednar's behavior to deal with it. He immediately described a "connection" with Bednar and had a gut feeling that Bednar belonged behind Colorado's bench. Colorado had to keep in mind that last place in 2016-17 would be the low point of the season with a measly 48 points. The Avalanche suffered the humiliation of that 22-56-4 campaign, only to then not only lose the NHL draft lottery, but ended up 4th at their worst possible pick position. Sakic & Co. would miss out on real top talent. Five years later we can say that the Avs were the lucky ones. Sakic announced the pick of number 4: Cale Makar, a defenseman for the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Sakic had just changed the course of Colorado's future, whether he knew it well or not. Makar did not immediately join the Avalanche. He held onto previous college hockey commitments by playing two seasons at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and won the 2019 Hobey Baker Award for the NCAA's Best Player. In April 2019, Makar signed his entry-level NHL contract and scored on his first shot in his NHL debut - a playoff game against the Calgary Flames. Since moving up to the league, Makar has exceeded all expectations as the dominant force on Colorado's blue line. The 23-year-old is an elite defenseman with a dangerous offensive flair who has 48 goals and 180 points in 178 games (fifth overall among NHL defensemen since 2019-20). Without him, Colorado wouldn't be close to a Stanley Cup. From the ashes of Sakic's draft disappointment emerged one of his most critical decisions to date. Matt Duchene wanted out of Colorado. Sakic took his time. As Colorado struggled through the 2016-17 abyss, Duchene reached out to Sakic and asked for a trade. Drafted third overall by Colorado in 2009, Duchene was one of their best-performing forwards. Sakic had a high asking price for the then 26-year-old and wasn't about to budge. It was a three-team deal with the Ottawa Senators and Nashville Predators: Duchene went to the Senators for Andrew Hammond, a 2018 or 2019 first-round pick and a 2019 third-round pick, plus forward Shane Bowers. Kyle Turris went to Nashville from Ottawa, and the Predators sent Samuel Girard, a 2018 second-round pick, and forward Vladislav Kamenev to Colorado. Let's just say Sakic won that easily. This Ottawa first-round pick could have been for 2018 or 2019. They drafted Brady Tkachuk seventh overall in 2018 and rolled the dice by delivering their 2019 pick to the Avs. Just before the start of the regular season, Ottawa also traded top defenseman Erik Karlsson to San Jose. They didn't want to re-sign Duchene and sell him to Columbus before the deadline. And Colorado finished fourth overall in 2019. Sakic got poetic about Byram before and after the defender selection. And despite struggling with some scary concussion issues early in his young career, Byram is 21 and plans to be one of the top four contributors on Colorado's blue line for years to come. Advantage: Sakic. It was a blow to the Avalanche's back end when Girard suffered a fractured sternum in Game 3 against St. Louis that forced him out of the remainder of that Cup run. But Girard was a key factor in getting Colorado to this point. He has played 335 games since trading, scoring 21 goals and 141 points while averaging 20:34 ice time per game. Also, Sakic was able to turn one of Colorado's acquired second-round picks into Justus Annunen, who could be a future goaltender in the organization. Barrie was a beloved member of the Avalanche. From 2011-12 to 2018-19, he was a prolific attacking defender and led all Colorado Blueliners with 75 goals and 307 points in 484 games. Barrie was the Avalanche's power play quarterback, a dynamic contributor and all-around talent. Then Sakic called. On July 1, 2019, he traded Barrie and Alexander Kerfoot to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Nazem Kadri and Calle Rosen. Barrie had a year left on his contract at this point. Sakic knew Makar was in the pipeline, which would change the complexion of Colorado's defense. Kadri would shore up the Avalanche at second-line center and was signed for a team-friendly $4.1 million a year through 2021-22. But the trade wasn't immediately well received in Colorado. Kadri came off another post-season suspension, his second in as many years. He was also a third-line center at Toronto who wasn't the most noticeable signing despite last season's 30 goals. Then his first regular season with the Avalanche was unremarkable (11 goals and 32 points in 56 games). He quickly earned an eight-game suspension for a headshot against St. Louis' Justin Faulk during Colorado's first-round series. It could have been an "I told you so" moment for Colorado fans who didn't have their beloved Barrie watching Kadri work his way out of yet another postseason. A year can make all the difference. Kadri catapulted this season with a career-best 28 goals and 87 points in 71 games. He was a beacon of consistency for the injury-strewn Avs. Kadri also had a sensational playoff run (14 points in 13 games) before breaking his thumb in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. The outcry over his loss only proves how far Kadri has come and how much the narrative of this Barrie trade has changed as well. Things might not have gone so well two years ago, but looking back, Sakic seemed to know it was what Colorado needed to achieve its long-term goals. Colorado acquired one of its best defensemen without giving up a first-round pick. In that case, in October 2020, the GM traded Devon Toews from the New York Islanders for second-round picks in 2021 and 2022. It was a smart move by Sakic, taking advantage of the Islanders' salary constraints amid the ongoing Covid19 pandemic. Toews was (and is) a talented defender who was an integral part of the Islanders blue line. A week after Sakic orchestrated the trade, he signed Toews to a four-year, $16.4 million deal. It was a sensible deal after an exceptionally sensible trade for the Avalanche. Toews was a dynamite addition to Colorado's back end, standing alongside Makar and playing over 25 minutes per game while scoring 22 goals and 88 points in 119 games. Like Makar, Toews is versatile enough to contribute in either Special Teams unit and is the perfect complement to Makar's more aggressive offensive team. In this cup final, Toews has continued to improve his game, trailing only Makar (25-50 a game) for the team in the Ice Age and scoring 13 points in 14 games. Toews may not garner the same headlines as Makar, but his contributions have been incredibly important to the Avalanche. For a moment last summer, it looked like Colorado might need a new captain. Until Sakic came through again. He had a limited window in which to sign the free agent Landeskog for a maximum eight-year term extension, or limit it to a pact of just seven years. Just an hour before the deadline, Sakic signed Landeskog to an eight-year deal worth $7 million a year. It was less money than Landeskog could have asked from any other team, and it meant Sakic had to pocket the extra year of tenure for a then 28-year-old skater. Ultimately, it was what was best for Colorado. Landeskog wore the Avalanche "C" for nine seasons. He was a man of heart and soul who didn't shy away when Colorado struggled. And Landeskog proved his worth again last season, scoring 30 goals and 59 points in 51 games while struggling with injury woes. He's also had a brilliant postseason so far, with eight goals and 17 points in 14 games. Colorado could have survived without a Landeskog. Sakic could see this potential. Meeting in the middle and keeping the core of the Avalanche intact is a testament to Sakic's negotiating tactics and Landeskog's loyalty. Last summer, the Avalanche found itself at a crossroads on the web. Sakic had to make a choice. Colorado's reigning starter Philipp Grubauer became an unrestricted free agent. Grubauer had a great season, going 30-9-1 with a .922 save and 1.95 goals against average, making him a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. The Avalanche chose not to re-sign him. He then signed a six-year, $35.4 million deal with the Seattle Kraken expansion. Meanwhile, Sakic traded with the Arizona Coyotes for Darcy Kuemper in exchange for Conor Timmins, a 2022 first-round pick and a 2024 conditional third-round pick. Kuemper started slow but went on to become one of the NHL's top goalies in 2021-22. goes 37-12-4 with a .921 SV% and 2.54 GAA. Granted, Colorado is a better team overall than Seattle. But Kuemper has a big part in what made them great and he was also a key figure in the cup run. Sakic obviously had reasons not to go all-in with Grubauer. In Kümper he found an excellent goalkeeper who ticked all the boxes for the Avalanche in a key position. Sakic previously signed Pavel Francouz to a two-year, $4 million deal in February 2020. Sakic went low at this year's trading deadline. Colorado needed a little something up front. Colorado sent prospect Justin Barron and a second-round pick to Montreal in 2024 for Lehkonen. Lehkonen will be an unrestricted free agent after this season and the Avalanche don't know if he wants to re-sign. Lehkonen is everything Colorado needs in the present. So far, Lehkonen has six goals and 11 points in 14 postseason games. He leads the Avalanche in game-winning postseason goals, none better than his overtime score in Game 4 against Edmonton, which sent Colorado to the Cup Final. Lehkonen's reputation is based on his defensive play. But it was in these playoffs that he showed just how well-rounded his offensive qualities are. When Kadri was lost to injury, Lehkonen took his place on the Avalanche's power play for Game 4; The team went 2-for-2. Sakic has cited the depth of his team when it comes to Colorado's success this season. Lehkonen is the perfect example of why it's so important. Getting past Tampa Bay takes superstar performances and players like Lehkonen who can tip the ice with their versatility. Regardless of whether he signs for Colorado after this run, Lehkonen will play a key role in whether the Avalanche hoist another banner.

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Why Colorado Avalanche fans are singing Blink-182's "All the Small Things" in the third period

To sing \ (Author: Gardener)

Colorado AvalancheNow it's the Colorado Avalanche and... Blink-182's "All the Small Things"? You may have noticed a well-known song from the late 1990's and early 2000's sung by Avalanche fans at home games at Denver's Ball Arena. It's now become a tradition for Avalanche fans to sing "All the Small Things," a celebration song during the third period when Colorado is clearly ahead in the games. The tradition will certainly be on display when the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals begin on Wednesday. But how did this fun tradition start? It dates back to 2019 when in-house Avalanche DJ Craig Turney — known as DJ Triple T — was looking for a way to wow fans during games. Turney performed the song during a game in break one, and the fans loved it so much that the Avalanche game presentation team looked for a way to incorporate it into a big moment. During the third period when the Avalanche had a comfortable lead, or just during a stoppage in play! Because Turney heard the song on a throwback station in his car one day and it really clicked! "What a song, isn't it?" Turney told ColoradoAvalanche.com's Sasha Kandrach. "You don't even have to like rock, this song is just one of those universal feel-good tunes that you can just sing along to." Mark Hoppus - bassist and co-lead singer of Blink-182 - continued the Avalanche tradition fans on Twitter. Not only that, but Avalanche players have joined in the fun, from Nicolas Aube-Kubel singing along to the song on the bench... to Captain Gabriel Landeskog declaring that the song has now become a team anthem. "After COVID it was electric and this season in particular has been great," said Landeskog. It seems like they'll almost finish the entire song if they can. I noticed that even in the playoffs, many other teams picked up the same thing, playing popular songs and letting the crowd fade out. It's like our song now. It's pretty electric when they do it.” Who Will Win the Stanley Cup: Colorado Avalanche or Tampa Bay Lightning? Signs of Greatness: Professional sports teams who have scored three goals in the past 50 years More: 20 players to watch as the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning play for the Stanley Cup

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