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Led by the physical, and sometimes flat out nasty Adam Foote, the D is becoming as solid a unit as you'll find in the NHL.
Every night the Avs take the ice one thing is very apparent—they not only play solid defense, they play physical hockey as well.
Physicality in the NHL is critically important.
It prevents teams from running ramshot into your defensive zone and setting up their offense.
It takes pressure off the goalie when he knows that his D is going to be where they're supposed to be and it makes the opponent play more conservatively.
Think back to the days when Scott Stevens was patrolling the Devils' blue line, and think about what that did to the opponents they played. They knew if they came in head down and blazing, Scotty was probably going to catch them, and it would probably hurt.
Thus teams utilized a less effective "dump-and-chase" offense when they played the Devils.
Through 17 games you can see the physicality in Colorado, and while there have been lapses, overall they've been very solid.
But, even more important than the physicality they display, is the depth the Avs have.
Injuries have taken their toll no doubt, but this team is still rolling out one of the better D units in their division.
"The Stalwarts", as they're known, are John Michael Liles, Adam Foote and Scott Hannan.
Guys like Kyle Cumiskey, Kyle Quincey and Ryan Wilson have played quality minutes. And now, Avs fans are getting the chance to see some of tomorrows studs, namely Jonas Holos and Kevin Shattenkirk.
All in all, the depth is amongst the league's best, and Avs fans can expect a marked improvement once all the blueliners are healthy.