Since my last update, things have been rather hectic, but the Colorado page is about to get back on track. Thanks for the patience!
First off all, I would like to point out that Dan Hinote is just what this team has needed. A while back, I pointed out that the Avs needed an aggressive agitator of sorts to go all the way this year; a Tyson Nash-type of player. But, instead of that, the Avs have something a little more respectable and just as productive in Dan Hinote. Hinote’s play on the third and fourth lines have been downright inspirational at best. While such acclaim will not win him any awards in the league, Hinote’s play has earned him the respect and confidence of his teammates, especially Shjon Podein, who is having a career year. In my opinion, the Avs third line hasn’t looked as good as the old Keane, Ricci, and Yelle line of ’96, but it is getting there, thanks to the play of Hinote.
Another more recent surprise has been the play of Hershey call up Rick Berry. Called up as a temporary replacement for the injured Adam Foote, Berry’s play has been solid. In fact, his play has forced Nolan Pratt back to the bench at times. Berry’s game is simple, and his movement hasn’t looked too shaky. Look for Berry to make the most of his callup time, and look for Pratt to be on the way out of Denver around the deadline.
Another surprise has been the play of Jordan Krestanovich, Radim Vrbata, and Branko Radivojevic in the junior ranks. Krestanovich’s play this season has already earned him a three-year contract with the club, which is extremely rare under the circumstances, as the club usually likes to wait until the latter half of the season before dealing with prospect contracts. Vrbata is tearing the Q up, and Radivojevic is showing some major signs of promise after a somewhat disappointing training camp. Its almost painful to think that some of these prospects will have to play out next season in Hershey next season, as the Avs roster is already packed with talent, especially Vrbata, who had an excellent training camp at the beginning on the season.
Vaclav Nedorost had an excellent tourney at the World Juniors, scoring the tourney winning goal. After picking him up with the pick acquired in the Ozolinsh trade, I can recall many fans being disappointed with the picks Colorado took in return. All I can say is that I can’t wait to see this guy make it to Colorado. He is a very complete player, and while he doesn’t have the offensive flash of a Havlat or Vrbata, he makes up for it in solid play. I see him becoming a Lehtinen type of player for Colorado; someone who you can put on any of the top three lines, and never be disappointed with. The question is: Can he make it here next season?
Mikhail Kuleshov…enigma? I am beginning to question if Kuleshov is more suspect than prospect. Word has it that he was in Denver around 2 months ago to be checked out by the team’s physicians, but since that, its been rather difficult to obtain any stats of information on him. When it comes around, I’ll be sure to pass it on. I’d think there would be a good chance that Kuleshov will be in the next training camp this summer.
That about raps it up for this installment. Another one will be coming around shortly, so stay tooned, and thanks for the emails!