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Duchene thinks the Avs are ‘built like Chicago’

Oct 18, 2013, 4:58 PM EST

Matt Duchene Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche finally lost last night, falling 4-2 to Detroit in a game that was most notable for the suspension-worthy hit from behind on Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall by Cody McLeod.

If not for the Kronwall injury, there probably would have been more talk about the Avs putting 40 shots on Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who made 38 saves for his third outstanding performance in four nights. Because if not for Gustavsson, the 6-1-0 Avs may still be undefeated.

So what’s been the key to Colorado’s improved play compared to last season when it was one of the NHL’s worst teams?

Forward Matt Duchene points to the Avs’ aggressive attacking attitude under new head coach Patrick Roy.

“That’s one thing we’ve all talked about in our room the last four years,” Duchene said, per Yahoo! Sports. “Not to knock anybody or anything, but I don’t feel like we’ve played the way that our team is built. I think we’ve played a little bit too stingy and slow, or tried to play that way, and it wasn’t in our makeup, and it backfired, I think. I think we need to play a style like Chicago. We’re built like a Chicago.”

By that, Duchene means the Avs are more of a skill team up front than, say, the Los Angeles Kings or Boston Bruins, two recent Stanley Cup winners who rely more on big, physical forwards than Chicago does.

All that said, one caveat that should be noted about Colorado’s early-season success is the fact they’ve relied heavily on their goaltenders, Semyon Varlamov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who’ve combined for a league-best .958 team save percentage.

History suggests that sort of save percentage is unsustainable, meaning the Avs might need to tone down the running and gunning and take better care of the puck. Because at the risk of criticizing a team that’s only lost once, Colorado is also surrendering 34.3 shots per game, tied for the fourth most in the NHL. And consistently allowing a lot of shots is most definitely not how Chicago plays.

  1. pxland - Oct 18, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Like Chicago, except, you know, without the good defense.

  2. jpat2424 - Oct 18, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    Like Chicago. That’s funny.

  3. sjtorpitt - Oct 18, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Without the defense, obviously.
    Top-9 group is exceptional though…

  4. esracerx46 - Oct 18, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Make the playoffs. We’ll talk then.

    • pxland - Oct 18, 2013 at 6:40 PM

      I’ve no doubt that Matt Duchene has read your reply and I doubt we will hear from him until May.

      • esracerx46 - Oct 18, 2013 at 7:15 PM

        Nah. Me and him are good like that.

  5. canucks30 - Oct 18, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Remind me again where Colorado’s equivalent of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are because I don’t see them.

    For all the press Pat Kane and Jonathan Toews receive, it’s Keith in particular who makes the Blackhawks formidable; a puck moving defenseman who can shut down the best players in the NHL and log a ton of ice time while being equally lethal on the powerplay.

    • jernster21 - Oct 18, 2013 at 7:58 PM

      Reading comprehension is clearly a problem for you. Let me help.

      “By that, Duchene means the Avs are more of a skill team up front than, say, the Los Angeles Kings or Boston Bruins, two recent Stanley Cup winners who rely more on big, physical forwards than Chicago does.”

      • canucks30 - Oct 19, 2013 at 12:58 AM

        Nope.

        “I think we need to play a style like Chicago. We’re built like Chicago”.

        No you’re not. You lack the puck moving defenseman to sustain that type of transition game and consistently generate offence while not giving up 30+ shots per game. The Blackhawks can play that up tempo style because they have a group of mobile defenseman who can move the puck and jump up into the play without compromising their team defense while Colorado doesn’t which will eventually reveal itself when Colorado’s goaltending balances out,”History suggests that sort of save percentage is unsustainable, meaning the Avs might need to tone down the running and gunning and take better care of the puck. Because at the risk of criticizing a team that’s only lost once, Colorado is also surrendering 34.3 shots per game, tied for the fourth most in the NHL. And consistently allowing a lot of shots is most definitely not how Chicago plays.”

      • jernster21 - Oct 22, 2013 at 12:55 AM

        They can give up 50 shots a game for all I care – watch a game (like the one against the Penguins for example) and the majority of shots aren’t quality scoring chances – every goalie should be able to stop shots they see from the perimeter. It’s great that you think the Avs don’t have puck moving defenseman though considering the Avs have a combined 14 points from defenseman and the Hawks have 18. The Avs’ combined +/- for defense is +23 while the Hawks’ is +12. Of course the sample size is small this season and while the goaltending is good, the defense isn’t as bad as you suggest and again, Duchene wasn’t even comparing the defense between the teams.

  6. jernster21 - Oct 18, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    Duchene is comparing the offensive players of the Avs to that of the Blackhawks forwards. And the “not to knock anyone comment” is directed at Joe Sacco whom deserves plenty of blame for the last 4 years. Joe Sacco tried to instill a system that didn’t work for the type of players he had. He wanted to build a Boston Bruins, or more similarly, a LA Kings who have skilled players up front but rely more on winning physical battles in the corners, playing a dump and chase game and wearing out the other teams defense. It’s pretty much the same problem the Rangers are currently having – that team was built under Tortorella’s defensive system – then you bring in a guy who is more offensive minded and now he doesn’t have the personnel that fits his model of play. It’s fine to install whatever system you think works best, but if you don’t take into account the type of players you have at your disposal and their specific skill set, you’re asking for trouble by implementing a system that doesn’t fit the mold of the players you have. Joe Sacco was a 3rd/4th line grind it out type of player, so it’s fine that he thinks that’s the system that works, but it didn’t work on a team full of speed and skill, and that’s the game the Avs should have been playing all along.

  7. blackhawks2010 - Oct 19, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    Slow down there junior….like Chicago? Please

  8. mizbinboston - Oct 19, 2013 at 2:24 AM

    Hahahahahahahahahaha *can’t breathe* ahahhaahhaha
    “like Chicago*” Hahahahhahaha

    Us whiny Detroit fans everywhere, out of sheer curiosity, would love to know how the Avalanche think they’re an Original 6 team like Chicago.

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