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Old 10-26-2006, 03:11 PM   #330
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Brisebois gets bum rap
Patrik from Sweden: What's not to like about No. 71?
By Adrian Dater
Denver Post Staff Writer
Article Last Updated:10/26/2006 10:06:52 AM MDT

Denver Post sports writer Adrian Dater posts his Avs Mailbag each Wednesday during the 2006-07 NHL season on DenverPost.com, which earned distinction for its online-exclusive series of Mailbags at this year's Colorado AP Reporters and Editors Awards.

To drop a question into the Avs Mailbag click here or visit DenverPost.com's Avalanche Page.

Hi, Adrian. I have a question about Patrice Brisebois. Every day I'm reading on the Avs official forum, and there are entire threads about what an "awful" hockey player Brisebois is. He is solid at both ends of the ice and a tremendous passer. Is he that bad, or just an underrated player that deserves some credit?
-- Patrik Nilsson, Malmo, Sweden

Patrik - Brisebois is one of those guys who just gets picked on more than he deserves. It's like me in high school, at Mascoma Valley Regional High in New Hampshire; I'm 6-5, 140 pounds soaking wet back then, senior, 1983. I'm a nice guy, do all the right things in life. I mean, I'm just hoping I don't sprout a new patch of zits the size of Rhode Island on my face, that's all. I don't want to bother anybody. But yet, I got picked on a lot. I solved that by getting up to about 225 my sophomore year of college and deadlifting 600 pounds.

But no matter how well Brisebois plays at times - he's had four assists the last two games as I write this - the guy still gets picked on. He's been a GOOD player for the Avs since he came here from Montreal. Yes, I know he has the occasional turnover. Yes, I know what happened in the last two games of the Western semis last year against Anaheim. But look at the guy play most nights, and he does a nice job.

I think Brisebois needs to do the equivalent of getting up to 225 and squeezing the bones
Colorado signed Patrice Brisebois as a free agent on Aug. 3, 2005. (Post file)
of my former tormentors from high school into sawdust the first time I shook their hands in a Mascoma reunion one year. He needs to stand up and tell the world, "Listen, I had 38 points last year for the Avs. That's twice as many as Adam Foote got most years here. I know I'm not Bobby Orr, but get off my back for crying out loud."

I think a little standing up for himself would get the bullies off his case.

Yo, Adrian! Sorry, couldn't resist. What do you see this season's role being for Jordan Leopold? Any chance of him quarterbacking the power play's first unit?
-- Brian, Ithaca, N.Y.

Brian - Yeah, I think there's a chance Leopold could QB the power play at some point, but I think John Liles has that job pretty well sewn up at this point.

Leopold suffered a setback in his rehab from hernia surgery. He hasn't skated much lately. But he should be back by early November, according to people I trust with the Avs.

Leopold is a good two-way player, and I think he's going to be a welcome addition to the Avs when he comes back.

Yo, Adrian. Love the Avs Mailbag! With the cap room the Avs will have next offseason, do you think there is any chance of bringing in some guys from the past like Peter Forsberg or Chris Drury?
-- John, Stillwater, Okla.

John - Assuming you haven't had too much to drink when you asked about Drury, the answer is no. He's leading the NHL in goal scoring right now, and he's just a tremendous team leader. He's getting to be as big in Buffalo now as Jim Kelly ever was.

Trading Drury away remains probably the single biggest mistake former Avs general manager Pierre Lacroix ever made. Look, Lacroix has made some of the greatest trades in NHL history - Ray Bourque, Patrick Roy, Claude Lemieux - and that won him a couple of Stanley Cups. That in itself is something that will forever rank high in Lacroix's professional resume, and something Avalanche fans should be forever grateful for. But the Drury trade was a fiasco. Let's not mince words here. Lacroix thought he was getting a potential Norris Trophy winner at the time in Derek Morris. But, while Morris wasn't a horrible player at all, he just didn't have the moxie to be a great NHLer.

Drury has that moxie. It's why he's almost ALWAYS on a winning team. Isn't it funny how Buffalo has totally turned its fortunes around since getting Drury?

As for Forsberg, nothing would surprise me with him. He's probably the most unpredictable player and person I've ever covered since becoming an NHL writer in 1995. I would doubt he'll come back to Colorado, just for a number of logistical reasons, but it wouldn't shock me. I don't think the Philly thing has worked out too well for him. As usual, he's been hurt a lot - the guy gets hurt more than T.J. Hooker from the bad '80s cop show - and from the insiders I hear from, he doesn't like the organization much anymore. But I don't know if he's going to want to play beyond this year.

The guy has had so many injuries and, let's face it, his game is starting to slip a little. I watched a recent game of his with the Flyers, and I can tell you from a previous eight years of watching him night in-night out, he doesn't have quite the same speed as he once did. In the new NHL, he's starting to become more of just another guy on the ice. And yet, he's still Forsberg. He can still bring you out of your seat. But I don't know how much longer that will last.

Adrian: While I was never a huge David Aebischer fan, between him and Peter Budaj we had serviceable goaltending. Knowing that $4.6 million would be gone this year from Rob Blake and Joe Sakic's bonus payouts, do you not think it was foolish and irresponsible for Pierre Lacroix to tie up $5 million in Jose Theodore?
-- Brad Jacobs, Golden

Brad - Aha, the inevitable Theodore question.

As I write, Theodore has, in effect, lost his starting job to Peter Budaj. Joel Quenneville pooh-poohed the subject today at practice, but the fact is it is BIG news around the Avs and the rest of the NHL that Theodore is being benched in favor of Budaj.

Some of the NHL experts I've talked to the last couple of days think it was a big mistake by Quenneville to play Theodore in Montreal. I don't necessarily agree. I think a win in Montreal would have boosted Theodore's confidence level back to 100 percent. Quenneville gambled that would happen - and lost. But Theodore was hung out to dry in that game. I mean, the Avs' defense was awful the last two periods, and the team ran around taking stupid penalties all night.

That said, yes, I saw the goal Theodore allowed to Martin Lapointe against Chicago a couple games before. That was a horrible goal, and it cost the Avs at least a point.

I don't know what's going to happen with Jose. I think he has talent, but my favorite saying in sports is "the numbers are the numbers." And right now, Theodore's numbers aren't very good. You can make up a million excuses as to why that is, but excuses are for losers.

That's my second favorite saying.

Hello, Mr. Dater. Being a Colorado native, I realize no athlete will ever surpass John Elway here. However, I also just realized how good we have had it over the years with Joe Sakic. He is simply one of the greatest players ever. Do you believe that fellow Coloradoans will ever realize it, too, and will Colorado ever become a "hockey state"?
-- Brandon Angel, Florence

Brandon - No question, Joe Sakic is one of the best and classiest athletes that will ever have graced this fine state. I just can't say ONE bad word about Joe Sakic. I've covered the guy for 11 years now, and there hasn't been ONE time I've ever thought bad about him. I like to kid him a lot - and he returns the fire, trust me - but the man will forever go down as one of my most favorite people I ever met.

Sakic is probably the most consistent player I've ever met. On and off the ice. He can have a bad game, and he's the same in the locker room. He can get six points the next night, and he's the same in the locker room. He never whines, never moans, never gloats, never gets rude. He's just a great guy, period. He's one of those people in life who is good in every area. No wonder he's been as successful as he's been.

Since several of the minor pro leagues - and all junior hockey and college - require visors now, when is the NHL going to get smart and mandate them? For the older players, add a grandfather clause like they did with helmets.
-- Julie, Lakewood

Julie - There is a lot of inside talk in the NHL now that visors will be made mandatory soon. It might not happen next year, but I think it'll be done within five years. There just have been too many serious injuries, and the league is getting tired of worrying about some of its best stars possibly sidelined forever with an eye injury that could have been prevented.

What reason do I have to shell out $150 to see the Avs this season?
-- Bryon, Fort Carson

Byron - Two names: Wojtek Wolski and Paul Stastny. These guys are for real, and are going to be BIG stars.
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