Colorado Avalanche Late Night Blog: Cotts Thoughts: March 29, 2015


I’ll be honest. Sometimes a little randomness can be a good thing in life. In the world of sports blogging, we as writers often strive for structure. Game previews, game recaps, player editorials, and statistical analysis dominate the categories in which my fingers type.

I myself tend to have a lot of goofy thoughts running through my head throughout the day. If you go with my college nickname, a barely clever rhyme appears — Cotts Thoughts, if I may.

I also consider myself to be a bit of a night owl, and my mind is often most active several hours after the sun has disappeared below the horizon to check on the other side of the world.

I am compelled to share those thoughts with you, in a format that is unscheduled, unplanned, and hopefully unique and interesting. I plan to sit down and just talk hockey a couple nights a week, primarily about the Avs, but not limited to them.

If this sounds like your sort of thing, welcome aboard. I’m hoping to do this a couple times a week, with the moon and stars to keep me company. Like I said, a little randomness and freedom to just talk hockey is a good thing.

I present to you, the first installment of…

Cotts Thoughts

On Ryan O’Reilly

I myself have only tried yoga on two occasions. It wasn’t pretty.

Now, I consider myself to be an active, athletic person. Yoga spit in my face, made me cry, and laughed while doing it. As I contorted my body into positions that would make the inventor of the pretzel sweat, two questions raced through my mind. How? and why?

Looking at Ryan O’Reilly, it all makes sense.

There is an energy to yoga, and a connection to your body that I can’t deny. I have never done a physical activity that has spoken to me as loudly (through sharp abdominal pain, quivering arms, and sweaty palms) as yoga. Ryan O’Reilly is one cool dude, and he has a swagger about himself that is graspable. I think yoga is one of those things that helps you find out a lot about yourself.

I think the beauty of Ryan O’Reilly the hockey player, is the process by which he arrives at that output. The yoga. The beard. The mindset. The last guy on the ice at practice. The flipping pucks in the bucket. That’s what makes O’Reilly awesome.

O’Reilly isn’t flashy. He isn’t out of control. He just plays his game, knows who he is, and excels while doing it. The almost casual effortlessness, and the ability to play within himself — I bet a lot of that comes from yoga. Those things that define O’Reilly, are what define yoga.

I think it’s really cool, and O’Reilly is on a tear these past few weeks. He has always had solid underlying possession numbers, but now it’s showing up on the scoresheet. Hockey is a funny sport, because you do need that confidence and the stars to align for pucks to go in. That is the immeasurable element of sports.

Fans see the output, and that’s what players get judged by.

I think the beauty of Ryan O’Reilly the hockey player, is the process by which he arrives at that output. The yoga. The beard. The mindset. The last guy on the ice at practice. The flipping pucks in the bucket. That’s what makes O’Reilly awesome.

I sincerely hope the Avalanche sign him to a nice long-term deal this summer. Not only because I love O’Reilly the player, but because of how compelling I find his process for becoming that player is. He’s the most interesting man on the Avalanche, and I want to keep reading his story. I don’t always watch hockey… just kidding yes I do… and when I do, I prefer nueve-cero to be on the Avalanche.

On the Denver Pioneers vs. Providence game

I have been do a few DU hockey games in my day, and even scored an autographed jersey when I was 7 or 8 years old. Former Av/Pioneer Antti Laaksonen is one of the signatures on mini jersey I have packed away in a box of collectibles.

Tonight, DU was looking for their first trip to the Frozen Four since 2005, which was also the year the Pios wrapped up back-to-back National Championships (hey Paul Stastny).

This afternoon’s game wasn’t the most enjoyable hockey game I’ve ever watched. The play was very tight and conservative for the most part. I thought DU actually controlled most of the game, but couldn’t solve Providence goaltender, and Flames prospect, Jon Gillies.

The real sour taste of the game came late in the 3rd period though. DU standout defenseman Joey LaLeggia was given a 5-minute major and tossed from the game for making a hit to the head on a check.

I am 100% on board with protecting a player’s head, but the Providence skater was coming through the neutral zone with a head of steam, and his head down. LaLeggia is in a tough spot, because he has a responsibility to defend the play, but also protect the player he is hitting.

I just think it’s a shame for Providence to get rewarded for having a guy skate through the neutral zone with his head down. That’s not how you should play hockey. It’s hard to lose a game because of that hit. LaLeggia wasn’t malicious, and if Providence’s skater didn’t have his head between his legs, it would have been a totally clean hit.

LaLeggia could have realized that he was likely to make contact to the head, and gone for a risky poke check instead, but hindsight is 20/20. It’s just a frustrating situation. Skate with your head up kids, because the first person responsible for protecting yourself, is yourself.

It’s hard to watch a season come to an end because of a play like that for those DU players, and it’s hard to watch LaLeggia’s career as a Pioneer come to an end in that fashion. Now he’s exiled to Edmonton. Poor dude.

On the bright side, Avalanche prospect Will Butcher had a strong game for the Pios. His composure and ability to do little things to generate offense was noticeable. He also played a strong defensive game, relying on quick feet and positioning to shut-down Providence attackers.

Hope you enjoyed episode one of Cotts Thoughts. If you’re a night owl like me, fly by every once in a while. You never know when I may be hooting next.

Next: Avalanche Prospect Watch: NCAA/Europe

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