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Avalanche primed for visits from Penguins, Wings

Rick Sadowski
Rocky Mountain News
Vail, CO Colorado
Darin McGregor/Rocky Mountain NewsThe Red Wings will make their first visit to the Pepsi Center next season on Dec. 27.
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DENVER, Colorado ” A visit by Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby and two meetings with the Stanley Cup-champion Detroit Red Wings are among the highlights of the Avalanche’s 2008-09 regular-season home schedule.

The Avalanche will start the season Oct. 9 against the Boston Bruins at the Pepsi Center, marking the third straight year the team will begin at home.

The 41-game home schedule also features three contests against each Northwest Division rival (Calgary, Edmonton, Minnesota and Vancouver) and one game apiece against Northeast Division members Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.



The Red Wings’ first visit of the season is Dec. 27, and Crosby and the Eastern Conference champion Penguins will come to town Jan. 10.

Under the NHL’s new scheduling format, Colorado will play every team in the league at least once with home and road games against three Eastern teams – Atlanta, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.

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The Avalanche will have an eight-game homestand from Jan. 16 to Feb. 5, the second-longest since the team has been in Denver. The eight-game stretch wraps around the Jan. 22-26 NHL All-Star break; the midseason game will be played Jan. 25, at the Bell Centre in Montreal, as part of the Canadiens’ 100th anniversary celebration.

The Avalanche will have a six-game trip from Feb. 20 to March 2, matching the longest in team history.

Welcome back



Well, not really. Assuming he isn’t traded before then, Todd Bertuzzi will be playing for his fourth team in three seasons since exiting Vancouver when the Calgary Flames come to Denver on Nov. 20. Steve Moore hasn’t played for any team since he was attacked by Bertuzzi during a game March 8, 2004.

Wings are hot

The Avalanche saw plenty of red, including in the seats, last season when Detroit won all four meetings in Denver, two in its sweep in the Western Conference semifinals. Overall, the newly crowned Stanley Cup champions will be working on an eight-game winning streak against the Avalanche when they return Dec. 27.

No way, Jose

Colorado’s only opportunity to shoot some pucks past former goalie Jose Theodore comes Feb. 20 at the Verizon Center in Washington. Theodore spurned a two-year, $7 million offer to remain with the Avalanche and signed a two-year, $9 million deal to hook up with the Capitals.


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