Warren Zevon once sang “There’s always room on our team for a goon.” For this year’s edition of the Colorado Avalanche, these words ring true. The team made a series of moves Thursday, finalizing the roster to begin this lockout-shortened campaign.
Stefan Elliott was sent packing for Lake Erie, as was Mike Sgarbossa. David Van der Gulik will soon follow, if he clears waivers. After the dust of a makeshift training camp settled, three men were left standing.
For Tyson Barrie and Mark Olver, making the club was to be expected. Barrie has been tearing up the AHL, currently ranking fourth in defenseman scoring. Coach Joe Sacco had stated previously that the team would most likely keep eight defensemen. Considering Elliot’s struggles both in the AHL and camp, Barrie had the inside track from the get-go. Olver impressed in spot duty with the Avs in the past couple years. In O’Reilly’s absence, the team needed a center; and Olver’s aggressive style made him much more suited for a bottom-six role than Sgarbossa.
The final man to make the team was the biggest surprise (and not just because he is 6’6). Never afraid of a fight, Patrick Bordeleau has trolled the minors for a number of years. Among the last cuts in the previous two camps, the aptly nicknamed “Bordeleau of Blood” finally cracked the roster.
In spite of names like Simon, Parker and Worrell donning the back of the team’s sweaters in the past, the Avalanche had gotten a reputation in recent years for being easy to play against, that might not be the case anymore.
“Now teams won't be able to come in here and push us around,” said O’Brien. “And (he) gives our skills guys more room on the ice.”
That may be put to the test when the Avs open their season on Sunday against the Minnesota Wild. The division rival has big bodies to go with big expectations, and may be looking to make an impression. Bordeleau may have some extra incentive in the game, as the Wild drafted him in 2004, but never signed him.
Luckily the Avs wear burgundy, as Bordeleau could be out for blood.