Highs and Lows
The Colorado Avalanche had a rocky time this past week. After solid wins over the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, the tide turned with two barn-burner losses to the St. Louis Blues (4-0) and Nashville Predators (4-1). In the second half of the home-and-home against the Predators, the Avs let a 2-0 lead slip away, losing in OT 3-2. The team came out with something to prove in Dallas on Saturday and beat the Stars 2-1. Colorado finishes the short road today in an afternoon game against the Phoenix Coyotes. Afternoon games have been good for the Avalanche, winning two out of two this season.
Peter Mueller Returns
After a frustrating and long process, forward Peter Mueller returned to the line up on Thursday against the Predators. He had 5 shots on net, 1 hit and over 13 minutes of ice time. In both that game and the win against the Stars on Saturday, he put pressure on the opposing defense and got quality scoring chances. Here he is talking about his return with Marc Moser of Altitude Radio Network. Video courtesy of The Denver Post.
All Star Honors
Gabriel Landeskog was selected to participate in the skills competition prior to the All-Star Game on January 29, 2012. He is one of 12 rookies that will be there. He will be the only Avalanche representative, though, unless injuries necessitate replacements. Many were surprised by the fact Ryan O’Reilly was not included in the All-Star Game. He is currently third in the league in takeaways behind superstar forwards Jonathan Toews and Pavel Datsyuk. He has also carried the Avalanche recently with the loss of Matt Duchene to injury and the lackluster play of Paul Stastny this season. As always, O’Reilly remains humble and appreciative of the praise.
“I was just excited to be just considered for that, because a couple guys had told me I had a chance to go,” O’Reilly said. “It would be a cool thing to be an NHL All-Star, but it’s something I never thought would (happen). It’s amazing to just be considered.”
Both Erik Johnson and Shane O’Brien were injured in their game against St. Louis. Johnson had a hand injury that affected the nerves in his arm. He missed only one game. O’Brien suffered a leg injury after an awkward hit behind the Avalanche net. He was initially said to be day-to-day, with the expectation he’d only miss two games. He has since been put on injured reserve, retroactive to January 7, 2012. Moving him to IR opened up a roster spot for Peter Mueller to return. Ryan Wilson returned on January 10, 2012.
The Avalanche face off against the Coyotes today at 2 pm in Phoenix. The team returns home for one game against the Panthers on Wednesday, January 18, 2012, before heading out to California for back-to-back games against Los Angeles and Anaheim on January 21 and 22, 2012.