Not like a repaired knee will help his suckyness but maybe just maybe he could try and earn his pay check.
CENTENNIAL - It isn't every day when a one-time MVP agrees to a stint in the minors, but the brief trip proved to be a positive one for Avalanche goalie Jose Theodore.
The 2002 Hart and Vezina trophies winner, looking to test his surgically repaired knee, tended goal Saturday when the Cleveland-based Lake Erie Monsters made their American Hockey League season debut.
"I didn't have a problem going down there, and I'm really happy I did it," Theodore said Tuesday. "The best plan would have been to play a preseason game, but after talking with (goalie coach) Jeff (Hackett) and with everybody, we felt the smartest thing to do was to get a good game under my belt."
Theodore didn't get a win - the Monsters lost 3-2 to the Grand Rapids Griffins - but he made 21 saves and got in the work he needed. He since has been added to the Avalanche's active roster and is expected to play in one of this weekend's games, Friday in St. Louis or Saturday against Columbus at the Pepsi Center.
"I got some shots, some traffic, some bumping," said Theodore, who hadn't played in a minor league game since 1998-99 with the Montreal Canadiens' AHL affiliate in Fredericton, New Brunswick. "I tested my knee with some awkward plays and it was fine. I got exactly what I wanted to get.
"The rest is up to the coach. I'm just waiting for my start, my chance. There's no pain - everything is feeling really good. I feel as strong as ever. It was hot in the building, too, so I could test my conditioning. I wanted to make sure that, when I play here, I was ready."
Theodore skated for about a week before training camp when he felt pain in his knee. A magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed a tear under the kneecap, and he underwent arthroscopic surgery Aug. 29.
It was an unexpected setback for Theodore, coming off a 13-15-1 season and begins 2007-08 as Peter Budaj's backup with plenty to prove in the final year of a contract that pays him $6 million.
Theodore worked out with Hackett for several days after the surgery before he was allowed to practice with the team.
"It was good to have the chance to work with Jeff at this time of the year to make sure you don't get into some bad habits," he said. "It's good now to be able to make full practices and to get your own net."
Until Tuesday, Theodore shared practice time with Budaj and Tyler Weiman, the backup goalie in the first three games. Weiman was assigned to Lake Erie on Monday.
"I'm back here and I'm ready to go," Theodore said.