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Bob Hartley


C - Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Stephane Yelle, Chris Drury. LW - Valeri Kamensky, Rene Corbet, Milan Hejduk. RW - Claude Lemieux, Adam Deadmarsh, Keith Jones, Jeff Odgers, Shean Donovan, Warren Rychel. D - Sylvain Lefebvre, Adam Foote, Alexei Gusarov, Jon Klemm, Aaron Miller, Eric Messier, Wade Belak, Greg deVries, Ted Crowley, Jeff Buchanan, Cam Russell. G - Patrick Roy, Craig Billington.


Eric Messier, d (broken elbow, mid-January); Adam Foote, d (achy all over, day-to-day); Wade Belak, d (groin, day-to-day); Warren Rychel, rw (back, day-to-day).


Traded third-round draft pick in 1999 to Nashville for Greg deVries, d; traded Eric Lacroix, lw, to Los Angeles for Roman Vopat, lw, and a sixth-round draft pick in 1999; recalled Dan Smith, d, from Hershey (AHL); recalled Jeff Buchanan, d, from Hershey; assigned Smith to Hershey; traded Vopat and a sixth-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for Cam Russell, d.


10/26 Phoenix       L 5-1
10/29 San Jose      W 4-2
10/31 at Nashville  L 3-2
11/02 at Carolina   W 3-2
11/04 at Toronto    L 3-0
11/06 at Edmonton   W 5-2
11/08 at Calgary    L 3-1


Northwest Division  GP   W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA   
  Edmonton          13   8   5   0    16   46   34   
  Vancouver         13   6   6   1    13   40   34   
  Calgary           13   5   6   2    12   34   36   
  Colorado          13   4   8   1     9   32   44


by Greg D'Avis, Colorado Correspondent

As the season entered its second month, the Avalanche were still completely unable to put together anything resembling consistency. Strong games are still followed by weak games; and frighteningly, the team hasn't even hit the tough part of the schedule yet.

With an early season loss to Phoenix, the Avalanche had a chance for some redemption -- coming off their first win of the year, in Colorado, against a backup goalie -- against a team they've perennially manhandled. Instead, they responded with perhaps the worst game of their time in Denver.

Patrick Roy played a lousy game; except for Joe Sakic, the offense didn't show up; the defense didn't give Roy any help; and the power play (still minus Sandis Ozolinsh, who has to find all this pretty funny) was utterly inept. While Jimmy Waite was stopping everything for the Coyotes, every other shot Phoenix got off was going in.

It was an awful, awful performance, and for a change the team rebounded with a solid win over San Jose (with Craig Billington playing instead of the struggling Roy). In the name of consistency, that was followed up with a loss to Nashville -- an expansion team, lest we forget -- and then another win over the kind-of-hot Hurricanes.

Then, back to the doldrums, as they got completely shut down by Toronto and old nemesis Curtis Joseph, who shut the Avs out for the THIRD time in the first month of the season. Not much to say about it, really. Joseph's old team, Edmonton, was up next, and for the second time this season, the Avs took out a lot of frustration on the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year. Struggling Valeri Kamensky got a hat trick, Forsberg ran wild again and all was good.

Until the team traveled next door to Calgary, where the Flames always seem to convince themselves that they're good when it's time to play the Avalanche. Colorado lost again, in a tight, but still boring, game as Flames rookie goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere won his NHL debut.

Bloody Mess

With the Avalanche continuing to (ha ha) slide, fingers started getting pointed, and Eric Lacroix, son of Avs' GM Pierre Lacroix, got a lot of them. Players anonymously said he was a distracting presence in the locker room, and he was the subject of a scathing column in the Denver Post. Lacroix hadn't done much to help himself, with no points, no fights, not much of anything except a minus rating, and given the problems, went to Dad and asked to be traded. He subsequently was, for the Kings' Roman Vopat (best known himself as one of the players in the Blues-Kings Gretzky trade) and a sixth-round pick next year. Vopat has some skills and a modicum of toughness, but hasn't really set the world on fire anyplace he's been, and has yet to see any action for the Avs.

Defensive Shuffle

With the defense continuing to stink, Sandis Ozolinsh continuing to hold out in Latvia, and a slew of injuries to Eric Messier, Adam Foote, Wade Belak and Aaron Miller, there are a number of new faces on the blue line. Dan Smith continues to rack up Frequent Flyer miles between Denver and Hershey; a draft pick went to the Predators for Greg deVries; and Jeff Buchanan is the latest player to get the call up. Since none of these players have a ton of NHL experience, you can probably imagine how hot the Avalanche defense is looking these days.

Obviously Pierre Lacroix knew this, as well. So the GM traded the newly acquired Vopat and a sixth-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Cam Russell. Russell's a solid, stay-at-home defenseman with experience.

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