5 Storylines for the Avalanche-Canadiens Game


“I’ve got extra motivation to play versus the Avalanche.” – PA Parenteau

Well, the double loss to the Anaheim Ducks was not exactly the start to the pre-season that the Colorado Avalanche and the Avs Nation wanted. However, the byword for last season was Cinderella — as in, it all ends at midnight, the high of a win or the low of a loss.

That said, the team has already traveled to Montreal to meet the Canadiens on their home turf. Some of the storylines playing out are the same as the ones with the Ducks, but there are also intriguing additions.

#5: Defensive Pairings Chemistry

During the home game against the Ducks, coach Roy started new acquisition Brad Stuart with cornerstone defenseman Erik Johnson. However, somewhere in the middle of the game, he placed rookie Duncan Siemans as Stuart’s partner, while Johnson paired up with another acquisition, Zach Redmond.

Roy pretty much indicated there’s a battle to see which defensemen will make the regular squad:

"“It’s a pretty good battle on defense right now – it’ll be interesting to see how it’s going to finish.”"

He added that he expects Stuart to take on a leadership role. Stuart seems eager to take up that mantle:

"“As an older veteran guy you can point things out to the younger guys. They’re probably not going to come up to you and ask you a bunch of questions. That’s how it is. I remember being 19 years old, and you’re a little bit intimidated by the older guys that have played awhile.”"

He explained that he felt perfectly comfortable approaching the prospects and helping them with their game.

On the Montreal Canadiens’ side, their cornerstone defenseman, PK Subban, also has a new defensive partner in Andrei Markov. The Canadiens are looking for the pairing to add increased time in the offensive zone.

#4: Colorado Avalanche Leadership Roles

With Paul Stastny’s leaving in free agency, the Colorado Avalanche have an assistant captain position open. Denver Post writer Adrian Dater created a stir at the Anaheim game by tweeting that newly acquired veteran Jarome Iginla was wearing the ‘A.’ He later pointed out that both Matt Duchene and Alex Tanguay had the ‘A’ listed to their names.

During a post-practice press conference, coach Roy cleared up part of the equation, stating Gabriel Landeskog would remain the captain (not that anyone was suggesting otherwise), and Cody McLeod would stay on as an assistant.

When it came to who would be named the other assistant, Roy revealed that he was discussing the situation with Iginla:

"“I already spoke to Jarome about that possibility. I want him to think about it.”"

However, it sounds as if the decision is not made:

"“But there’s also going to be other possibilities. We’ve got great leaders on this team. I don’t want to start putting names here, but it’s clear in my mind that we have great leadership in this group.”"

Dater asked about Erik Johnson and the popular choice, Matt Duchene. Roy got cagey:

"“It would be unfair for me to start naming guys – we’ve got great leadership here. Great leadership.”"

Not that Roy or Joe Sakic are going to take this into consideration, but the Avs Nation overall feels respect for Iginla — but that Duchene should wear the ‘A,” according to a recent Mile High Sticking poll.

#3: Agozzino? Hishon? Rendulic?

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  • Joey Hishon was allowed to skip rookie camp, even though he’s still a rookie. He’s been quietly going about his business during training camp and the pre-season. Roy hasn’t remarked on him, but he’s making a good showing. He might be one of the last guys to get sent back to Lake Erie, if it comes to it.

    Borna Rendulic started very strong with training camp. He’s still holding his own offensively, but he needs a little work defensively. Coach Roy and his system are all about two-way play. So, talented and skilled as Rendulic is, he will likely have to do some time in Lake Erie.

    Andrew Agozzino seems to have come out of left field. The undrafted left wing, though diminutive, has been making a strong impression. Coach Roy said of him:

    "“He’s a player that’s been in our system for a few years, and we believe he’s deserved that chance [to play at the NHL level]. Quite honestly he had a great year last year. We thought that he was one of our good forwards in our home game.”"

    If he keeps it up, he may even see some regular season games.

    #2: Forwards Battle

    The Colorado Avalanche top-six is set, at least for now:

    Gabriel Landeskog-Nathan MacKinnon-Alex Tanguay

    Ryan O’Reilly-Matt Duchene-Jarome Iginla

    However, they certainly have remaining questions about who will play in their bottom-six. Unfortunately, center John Mitchell is still day-to-day with migraines, and Jamie McGinn definitely will not play in the pre-season, according to Roy. Since they’re two-thirds of the F3, questions about the bottom-six won’t be answered any time soon.

    The Canadiens have their own questions concerning forwards. Captain Brian Gionta left with free agency, leaving a hole at right wing. Czech free agent Jiri Sekac is working to fill a top-nine spot with Montreal. While playing on a line with veteran center Tomas Plekanec and prospect Jacon De La Rose, Sekac scored the first goal of the game against the Boston Bruins.

    In typical hockey style, Sekac was humble:

    "“I’m finally getting in the North American style feeling. I’m getting used to the hits and the physical game. The ice is a little bit smaller, but the hits are still the same.”"

    Brendan Gallagher and former Avalanche PA Parenteau are also jockeying for position on Montreal’s top lines.

    And that last name brings us to the most intriguing storyline.

    Something about PA Parenteau didn’t quite mesh with Patrick Roy’s vision. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

    #1: Parenteau and Briere vs the Team That Traded Them

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    During the free agency frenzy, Colorado actually pulled the trigger on a couple trades. One of them sent Parenteau to Montreal in exchange for Daniel Briere. Briere has been humble about the trade. Except for getting lost his first time heading to the practice facility, he’s been fitting in pretty well.

    Parenteau, for his part, stated he was “bitter” about the trade. Not because of where he went — he was delighted to play for Montreal. It was the fact of the trade itself. For whatever reason, he and coach Roy never saw eye to eye. And Colorado isn’t as stupid as Montreal — the Avalanche aren’t giving up Roy for anyone or anything.

    Parenteau said:

    "“I don’t know why it didn’t work, but my relationship with Patrick (Roy) never took off. I wish it were otherwise. It seems that when I was injured [sprained MCL] over the holidays, everything tumbled afterward.”"

    There are a lot of possible explanations. Parenteau’s known for being a jokester — maybe Roy didn’t like his lack of seriousness. Maybe he didn’t see enough work ethic from Parenteau. Maybe he liked the chemistry of other line combinations better. Whatever the reason, Roy was already trying to ship him off at the trade deadline in March. He finally succeeded in July.

    Parenteau, for his part, wants to show his new team that they got the better end of the deal:

    "“I’ve got extra motivation to play versus the Avalanche.”"

    Briere hasn’t said if he feels the same, but the situation does add a little filip to the pre-season game between these two teams.