Colorado Avalanche: Reflections on a Strange Night in Brooklyn

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 27: Matt Duchene
DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 27: Matt Duchene /

The Colorado Avalanche finally traded Matt Duchene, and it took place in the most unusual of circumstances; a fitting end to the year long melodrama.

I was completely prepared to write an article today about first hand observations from watching the Colorado Avalanche in person for the first time this season. I will still do that later on in this article, but like almost everything else Avs related, the Matt Duchene trade derailed my carefully thought out plans.

When getting ready for the trip to the game yesterday afternoon, I looked into a closet with many options for Avalanche jerseys to wear. I decided to go with my Matt Duchene jersey, as it was the only current player’s jersey I had. I thought to myself, it would probably be the last time I could wear it to a game, while Dutchy was still on the roster. Oh how right I was!

My friend and I arrived to the Barclays Center early enough to watch warmups. I was happy to see Rocco Grimaldi back from illness, and saddened to hear that Anton Lindholm had been lost to injury on the eve of the trip to his native Sweden. I also noted how only Dutchy and Landy didn’t wear helmets during the pregame practice session.

The Game Begins

Before I really had time to get comfortable in my seat after a walk around the largely deserted concourse, the Islanders scored the first of several strange goals they would get on this night.

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Then the wheels fell off, in terms of this being an ordinary hockey game. Blake Comeau took a puck behind his ear, and fell to the ice. The crowd fell silent, as medical staff came out to attend to the fallen Comeau, a former Islander. He was given a nice ovation from the crowd as Carl Soderberg and the trainer eventually helped him off the ice. It was a classy gesture by the Islander fans.

In the midst of all of the craziness, Matt Duchene quietly skated off the ice directly behind Comeau. I was so focused on Blake that I did not even recognize that it happened. Later in the period, following another Islander goal, I looked at Adrian Dater’s Twitter feed (@adater) to try to get a Blake Comeau injury update.

All it told me was that Comeau took a puck to the ear, and needed help off the ice. It also mentioned that Duchene left the ice, and Mr. Dater was going to find out why. Then the news broke. Dutchy had finally been traded from the Colorado Avalanche.

Duchene Trade & Twitter

I spent much of the rest of the game refreshing Twitter pages and reading articles about players rumored to be involved in the Matt Duchene trade. For the life of me, I cannot remember ever being at a hockey game and paying so little attention to the game itself. I didn’t ignore it completely, but I wasn’t fully engaged either.

It soon became clear that Dutchy was going to the Ottawa Senators, who happen to be Colorado’s opponent on their upcoming trip to Sweden. There is a great irony that Duchene’s first two games with a new team will come against the Avalanche. It also strangely means that Duchene will not return to play at the Pepsi Center until the 2018-19 season, barring Stanley Cup Final action.

The details then began to emerge about the return for Matt Duchene. The Colorado Avalanche obtained three highly touted prospects, three draft picks, and a veteran goaltender for slightly less than two years of Matt Duchene’s services. I personally feel that Joe Sakic did extremely well, given the circumstances of trading a player that everyone knew wanted to be traded.

There will be forthcoming articles on this site about the three prospects, which the Colorado Avalanche acquired in this trade. They, along with the draft pick haul, were the reason this trade finally happened. However, the Avs also gained the services of Andrew Hammond in the deal.

Back to the Game

By the way, there was still a hockey game going on in front of me. The game turned out to be as strange as the night was. The Islanders scored 6 goals, and most of them were deflections, or plays that Jonathan Bernier had no chance to stop. The Avalanche never quit, but also were never really in the game. Two late goals by Alexander Kerfoot made the score closer than the game was.

A few observations about a few players:

  • Nathan MacKinnon, Gabe Landeskog, and Mikko Rantanen make for a great line. Mack’s speed meshes really well with Landy and Rants, who have good speed, but also have a knack for getting open.
  • AJ Greer looks like he is trying too hard to be a physical presence. He runs at players, getting himself out of position. Once everyone is healthy, I feel he could use more AHL time.
  • Nikita Zadorov is huge. He also gets out of positon trying to make big hits, some of which are borderline late. He needs to reign it in a bit.
  • Rocco Grimaldi is tiny. He also has great offensive instincts, and I think he can be valuable for this team, especially in light of losing Duchene’s offensive skills.

Next: Colorado Avalanche: Matt Duchene's Final Goal for the Team

That was a strange night for Colorado Avalanche fans and players alike.

Please check beck to this site soon for in depth looks at Samuel Girard, Vladislav Kamenev, and Shane Bowers, as the fallout from the Matt Duchene trade continues to be felt.