Rocky Mountain goodbye

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

Since moving to the Mile High City, the Colorado Avalanche franchise has breathed rarified air.

There are a couple of Stanley Cup banners hanging in the rafters. All those division titles, too. It sure was a great first decade after leaving Quebec City.

Now we'll see whether the good times will continue to roll.

The new-era NHL, specifically its $39-million salary cap, took a huge bite out of the mountain men and forced the big spenders to wave goodbye to Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote. With those departures, there are skeptics who wonder if the Avs have become the Av-nots.

Forward Alex Tanguay admits the club lost a pair of all-world players but doesn't believe the party is over.

"Losing Peter and Adam, two of our leaders and two of the best players in the world, is tough but, with the salary cap, that's what can happen. We just have to deal with it," Tanguay said.

"One thing it has done is give us more depth on our third and fourth lines. Our third and fourth lines in other years were not as good as some other teams but we've made additions that will make a difference."

Besides, it's not like the club was gutted.

There's still Joe Sakic to lead the way, along with proven snipers in Tanguay and the currently injured Milan Hejduk. Also in the mix are Antti Laaksonen, Andrew Brunette and Pierre Turgeon up front.

Watching Forsberg take his talent to Philadelphia wasn't easy but the club has seen plenty of days without him, due to his laundry list of injuries.

A case could be made the loss of Foote to Columbus may have a bigger impact.

"Adam always plays against the top lines and made it hard on them to play against us," Tanguay said. "Our defencemen are going to see a lot different roles, guys like John-Michael Liles and Karlis Skrastins and Patrice Briseboise. I'm sure we're going to rely a lot on Rob Blake."

So, while it's probably fair to believe Colorado won't be guaranteed a top-two finish in the Northwest Division, it's still too soon to write off any post-season hopes yet.


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