Colorado Avalanche Face Ottawa Senators with Matt Duchene in Sweden

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - NOVEMBER 07: Members of the Colorado Avalanche pose for a team photo prior to the practice at the Ericsson Globe on November 7, 2017 in Stockholm Sweden. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - NOVEMBER 07: Members of the Colorado Avalanche pose for a team photo prior to the practice at the Ericsson Globe on November 7, 2017 in Stockholm Sweden. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Colorado Avalanche are set to face the Ottawa Senators in Sweden as part of the NHL Global Series.

The Colorado Avalanche are participating in the SAP NHL Global Series, taking place at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. Their opponent is the Ottawa Senators.

While no one has said as much, it’s thought the two teams were selected because they both have Swedish captains. Gabriel Landeskog for us, Erik Karlsson for them. They’ve both been teammates in numerous international games, including the 2014 Olympic Games.

The two teams have faced each other 29 times since the Avs’ inaugural season. Colorado has an edge: 15-12-0-2. Last season, though, the Senators took both games against the Avalanche.

These two games herald the only times the teams will meet this season.

How to Enjoy the Games

Game 1:

Game time: November, 10, 1:00 pm MT
TV Networks: Altitude TV (Avs feed), TSN5  (Sens’ feed), NHLN-US, RDS
Radio: Altitude Radio (AM 950)

Game 2:

Game time: November, 11, 11:00 am MT
TV Networks: Altitude TV (Avs feed), TSN5  (Sens’ feed), SN, RDS
Radio: Altitude Radio (AM 950)

There will be a Watch Party for the November 10 game at Blake Street Tavern.

Here are the lineups for the Friday game:

Erik Johnson is Named Condor

Before I get to the elephant in the room and our newest player, let’s revisit defenseman Erik Johnson becoming the Condor. It happened during the July 8, 2015 game, which the Avalanche won by a score of 5-2.

Erik Johnson was having one of his good games, and he was gliding all over the ice with that long, smooth stride of his. At some point during the television broadcast, color analyst Peter McNab observed that Johnson looked like a condor on the ice.

Johnson scored a goal during the second period. So, Altitude TV’s Kyle Keefe interviewed him during the intermission. He told Johnson about McNab’s remark and asked what he thought about it.

Wryly, Johnson admitted, “I don’t know what that is.” Well, he learned eventually, and he’s come to embrace the nickname — we all have.

Related Story: Johnson is Christened the Condor

The Elephant in the Room, Matt Duchene

It’s always awkward when a player gets traded during the season and he has to go back to play against his teammates. It’s especially awkward when it’s the very next game — ask Cody McLeod.

Well, I don’t think center Matt Duchene is going to handle it the way McLeod did, by asking a former teammate to drop the gloves. (Well, unless there’s a Patrik Nemeth situation and some pent-up hostility against a former teammate — it’d be hilarious if it was Tyson Barrie.)

Rather, it’s highly likely Duchene will score against his former team. Maybe a lot. His second career hat trick is not out of the question.

It’s not just that Duchene is that good, though he is. It’s not just the Colorado Avalanche curse — former Avs always seem to score a point against us. Duchene knows these players very well, and the systems, too. He can read the plays better than any of his new teammates.

Related Story: Pragmatic Look at the Duchene Trade

You all know by now that Duchene is a special player to me — I still break up the Avs history as the Golden Years, the Dark Ages, and ADD, After the Duchene Draft. Now, it’s PDT — Post-Duchene Trade. Anyway, I genuinely wish him the best with Ottawa — may he be in the Stanley Cup Finals this year like Cody McLeod was last year.

Two (Out of Four?) Games for Samuel Girard

More from Mile High Sticking

The crown jewel for the Colorado Avalanche in the Duchene trade was defenseman Samuel Girard from the Nashville Predators. He’s one hot ticket — those lucky enough to see him practicing in Sweden with the Avalanche have observed that he’s a crazy good skater and so creative with the puck.

Here’s the thing — Girard is 19 years old. Actually, it’s two things — he has an entry-level contract that states if he plays 10 games in the NHL, it burns a year off said contract. He played five games with Nashville.

Girard is 19, and that’s awful young for a defenseman. Teams usually like to let their defensemen develop in the major juniors or the minors (or college) for a couple years.

Because Girard played those five games with Nashville, the Avalanche have four games to evaluate if he fits into their lineup right now or if they want to preserve a year of his contract by sending him back to his major junior team.

For me, anyway, that means he’s the Colorado Avalanche player I’ll be watching the most closely. If you want to as well, he wears number 49 for the Avs.

Next: Top Stories for the NHL Global Series in Sweden

As stated, these are the only two times the Avalanche and Senators will play this season. That means we’ll have to wait until next year to welcome Duchene back to the Pepsi Center. Just as well — it would sting too much to do it this year.