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Avalanche

After Game 4 loss, Avs facing elimination tonight

For the third time in four games the Stars scored five goals en route to beating the Avalanche 5-4 on Sunday afternoon to put Colorado on the brink of elimination.

Dallas now leads the best-of-seven series 3-1 with Game 5 tonight at 7:45 p.m. (NBCSN).

Offense not the issue

Colorado has scored 15 goals through four games against Dallas, the problem obviously is the fact that they have allowed a stunning 19 goals against so far.

“It feels like they score in bunches right now. They’re very opportunistic. Obviously, some of that’s on us. When they get one, they get two or three right now. We got to limit that. You know, the series isn’t over. We’re going to be ready for Game 5.”

Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon said after the game.

The deciding goal in Sunday’s game was scored after defenseman Cale Makar and starting goalie Pavel Francouz fumbled with the puck and turned it over in front of the net where Dallas’ Denis Gurianov knocked it in to put the Stars ahead 5-2 less than halfway through the third period.

At that point Francouz was pulled for third-string goalie Michael Hutchinson.

As much as the defense and play in net have been an issue, the amount of penalties Colorado is taking and what Dallas is doing with its power-play opportunities has been just as crucial. The Stars went 3-for-6 on the power play in Game 4.

“It’s the penalties that we’re taking and their power play is feeding their offense and their energy right now. We take a couple penalties early and they capitalize on them. I give our team credit for battling back and scratching and clawing through the second period, but, I say it all the time — catch up hockey is losing hockey. We got to have a better start than that and (fewer) penalties. They’re too dangerous. We got to stay out of the box.”

Avs coach Jared Bednar said after the loss.

No help coming for Colorado

The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers wrote that the Avs won’t be getting defenseman Erik Johnson or forwards Matt Calvert and Joonas Donskoi back for tonight’s Game 5. And starting goalie Philipp Grubauer likely is done for the series, if not the entire postseason.

MacKinnon keeps streaking

With an assist on Makar’s second period goal MacKinnon extended his playoff point streak to 12 games. It’s the longest in club history and the longest in the NHL since 2010 with Chicago’s Jonathan Toews scored in 13 straight games and Detroit’s Johan Franzen scored in 12 in a row.

One-timers

The Post’s Mark Kiszla wrote how Makar’s “blunder for the ages” defines this playoff series for the Avs.

My thoughts: It was a bad play, but to call it a blunder for the ages is extreme. I can remember Patrick Roy making a similar mistake during a playoff series years ago. And the fact is this one felt more like a miscommunication between Makar and Francouz than anything else. A bad mistake sure, but not one that will life in infamy next to Rahim Moore and Bill Buckner.

  • TheDNVR.com’s Evan Rawal handed out his player grades after the game and not surprisingly there were plenty of Ds and Fs handed out.
  • The Avs managed to block just nine shots Sunday, while the Stars were credited with 22.

Avs-Stars series results and schedule

GameResult
Game 1Dallas 5, Colorado 3Box score
Game 2Dallas 5, Colorado 2Box score
Game 3Colorado 6, Dallas 4Box score
Game 4Dallas 5, Colorado 4Box score
Stars lead best-of-seven series 3-1
DateTime (MT)Home teamTV
Mon., Aug. 317:45 p.m.ColoradoNBCSN
*Wed., Sept. 2TBDDallasTBD
*Fri., Sept. 4TBDColoradoTBD
*If necessary, all games played at Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta

Avs-Stars Game 4 highlights

Nuggets stun Clippers, advance to West finals

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Rockies fall as bullpen, offense again stumble

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Nuggets rally, force Game 7 vs. Clippers

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Avalanche

Avs blow third-period lead, battle back to win

Colorado started the third period with a two-goal lead (3-1), but surrendered three goals and trailed Dallas by one (4-3) with less than 10 minutes to go play on Wednesday night. Suddenly the Avalanche’s season was on the precipice of ending, that was until Colorado got goals from Mikko Rantanen, Nazem Kadri and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to rally and beat the Stars 6-4.

Instead of being down an almost insurmountable 3-0 hole, the Avs are in a much more manageable spot at 2-1 behind in the Western Conference semifinal series. Game 4 is scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m. (NBCSN).

As for how Colorado managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, here’s what Kadri, who scored the game winner, had to say afterward:

“It’s just composure. As a team we got good leaders and just focusing on the end result. We play to the last whistle. I think that has been pretty evident thus far in the playoffs. We never really think the game’s over until it actually is over. Obviously, we’re not happy giving up that lead and we gotta lock it down and play better. But coming up with wins and knowing inside that locker room we still have more to give.”

In all six goals were scored during the wild third period that actually ended exactly how it all began, with the Avs leading by two.

How we got there

Dallas scored the first goal of the game when Tyler Seguin snuck one past Colorado goalie Pavel Francouz just over midway through the first period. The teams went to intermission with Dallas leading 1-0.

Colorado didn’t take long to answer in the second as Nikita Zadorov scored just one minute into the period on an assist from Kadri. Less than four minutes late Andre Burakovsky’s goal put the Avs in front. And with exactly nine minutes to play in the second Gabriel Landeskog scored to give Colorado the two-goal cushion.

What’s next for Colorado?

As TheAthletic.com’s Ryan S. Clark wrote, despite the win in Game 3 Colorado still has more questions than answers due to the blown lead in the third period.

“For us, it’s gut check time. It’s not how we drew it up going into the third period like that. We get some unfortunate bad breaks but I think we just stuck to it. We stuck to our game plan and we trusted that it would pull through. … I know everybody believes in this group. It’s just being able to go out and execute.”

Colorado’s defenseman Cale Makar said after the game.

Meanwhile, fellow defenseman Zadorov was injured during the game and was unable to play in the third period, his status for Friday’s Game 4 is yet to be determined. Before getting injured Zadorov was having a great game, as head coach Jared Bednar reference during his postgame press conference.

“I give our guys all the props for fighting through those injuries today. And for Zadorov, I thought the way we wanted our D to step up and play a better game and he was a guy we needed more out of. We had some conversations over the last few days and we moved him with Girard. I thought he was outstanding. Huge impact in the game. Physically engaged. In on a couple games. There was no rest on his game. It was hard. It was impactful on a shift-to-shift basis. That’s what we needed.”

Bednar said after the Avs’ 6-4 win Wednesday night in Edmonton.

Players address boycotts, racial injustice

After the game Avalanche players addressed the boycotts that took place in the NBA playoffs and various Major League Baseball games Wednesday night, as well as racial injustice as a whole in our country, as detailed by The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers.

“This is a problem that has gone on far too long. The signs and hockey (operations team) is great and everything but eventually words get stale and it’s about action and making a difference.”

Kadri said of American police shooting Black civilians.

“For us, it’s a matter where a lot of players and a lot of superstars in this league have spoken out, and put out statements through their channels and used their platform to voice their opinions which is sometimes a little bit unusual for hockey players who like to stay private. But this has gone on way too long for this country and it needs to change. What the next steps from here are, I’m not sure. I don’t have those answers, but I think as a hockey community we stay tight-nit and at this point, I think we all support change in this country.”

Landeskog said.

Bednar wasn’t actually aware of what was going on in the other sports until he arrived at Rogers Place.

“I wasn’t watching any TV or really around on social media before the game. I can’t comment on what everyone was thinking. No players had come to me and said, ‘Hey, we’re thinking about not playing’ or anything. So it was kind of business as usual in our room. Obviously, now, having got the backstories and the stories from the NBA players not playing, I thought about it and if our players, even one player, had come to me and said, ‘Hey, I don’t think we should play’ we would have addressed it as a team. But I never got word from anyone in our room and the league hadn’t said that the players were thinking about not playing. So it was just (about) staying focused and business as usual.”

One-timers

  • Nathan MacKinnon had two assists in the game, stretching his postseason scoring streak to 11 games and breaking the Avs’ franchise record that had been held by Joe Sakic from back in 1996.
    MacKinnon’s 20 playoff points leads the NHL and is the most from a Colorado player since Peter Forsberg had 27 in 2002.
  • Colorado played without forwards Joonas Donskoi and Matt Calvert, defenseman Erik Johnson and goalie Philipp Grubauer in Game 3.

Avalanche-Stars results and schedule

GameResult
Game 1Dallas 5, Colorado 3Box score
Game 2Dallas 5, Colorado 2Box score
Game 3Colorado 6, Dallas 4Box score
Game 4Dallas 5, Colorado 4Box score
Game 5Colorado 6, Dallas 3Box score
Game 6Colorado 4, Dallas 1Box score
Best-of-seven series tied 3-3
DateTime (MT)Home teamTV
Fri., Sept. 42 p.m.ColoradoUSA
All games played at Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta

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Bats silent again as Rockies lose 2-1 in extras

Rockies

Antonio Senzatela pitched arguably the best game of his major league career, but Colorado’s bats were dormant once again as the Rockies lost to the Astros 2-1 in 11 innings Tuesday in Houston.

Senzatela went toe-to-toe with Zack Greinke as both pitchers threw eight shutout innings allowing three hits a piece, Greinke struck out seven, Senzatela six.

Colorado’s offense has became a major liability at this point and after losing seven of their past nine games the Rockies are now four games back of the Dodgers in the NL West. The Rockies pitching staff owns the second-best ERA in the National League, but as has been the case the past few years the offense continues to struggle.

For the most part the problem is pretty simple, if Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon and David Dahl aren’t hitting the rest of the team can’t pick up the slack. And this year with both Arenado and Dahl struggling for most of the season to date the offense can’t manage to get the job done.

There is a chance the Rockies could add top prospect Brendan Rodgers to the active roster soon.

My thoughts: At this point I would love to see Rodgers play second base and move Ryan McMahon to first and DH or sit Daniel Murphy. Either way the Rockies have to do something soon or else this season’s promising start will be a distant memory by the time September rolls around.

  • The Astros and Rockies square off again tonight (6:40 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) in Game 3 of the four-game series. Ryan Castellani (0-0, 1.04 ERA) takes the mound for Colorado against Houston’s Framber Valdez (1-2, 1.90 ERA).

Avalanche

Coming of a dominating 7-1 win on Monday the Avalanche will look to finish off the Coyotes in Game 5 today (3:30 p.m., NBCSN, Altitude, 92.5 FM) in Edmonton.

Nazem Kadri has been a key piece for the Avs since the NHL started back up. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a few weeks since his game-winning goal with 0.01 seconds remaining in the first game back against St. Louis.

Since then the Avs claimed the No. 2 seed in the West and have a 3-1 lead on Arizona, while St. Louis ended up the fourth seed and is currently tied 2-2 in its series with Vancouver. Oh what a difference a thousandth of a second can make.

  • Captain Gabriel Landeskog hasn’t scored a goal yet in Edmonton, but he’s confident he’ll get one soon. And in the meantime he’s creating plenty of scoring chances for the rest of his teammates.
  • Cale Makar said “it definitely means something to me” to see teammates like Nathan MacKinnon have his back after Makar was given a cheap shot near the end of Monday’s game.
  • Avalanche-Coyotes results and schedule
GameResult
Game 1Colorado 3, Arizona 0Box score
Game 2Colorado 3, Arizona 2Box score
Game 3Arizona 4, Colorado 2Box score
Game 4Colorado 7, Arizona 1Box score
Game 5Colorado 7, Arizona 1Box score
Colorado wins best-of-seven series 4-1

Nuggets

Denver once again will be without Gary Harris and Will Barton when the Nuggets take on the Jazz today in Game 2 of their first-round series. Barton continues to deal with a knee injury and is out indefinitely.

As for the players who will be on the court for the Nuggets, The Denver Post’s Mike Singer wrote about how rookie Michael Porter Jr. got a crash course in what NBA playoff basketball is like in Game 1.

“In the playoffs, it’s all about defense. The defensive intensity is way up. So being locked in every possession and really realizing every possession matters (is important).”

Porter said about the Nuggets’ 135-125 OT win.

Despite appearing to struggle at times on both ends of the court Porter still finished with 13 points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes in his playoff debut. Not bad for someone playing it just the 56th NBA game of his career.

“Just being out there, learning, going through it, you can’t put a dollar sign on that. That’s the best teacher that Michael is going to have. We can tell him, we can prepare him, but he has to go out there and feel it for himself and learn from it, which I know he will.”

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said about Porter’s debut.
GameResult
Game 1Denver 135, Utah 125, OTBox Score
Game 2Utah 124, Denver 105Box score
Game 3Utah 124, Denver 87Box score
Game 4Utah 129, Denver 127Box score
Game 5Denver 117, Utah 107Box score
Game 6Denver 1197, Utah 107Box score
Game 7Denver 80, Utah 78Box score
Nuggets win best-of-seven series tied 4-3

Broncos

As the Broncos prepare for the season opener Monday Sept. 14 against Tennessee one of the biggest position battles is that for the starting center job.

Denver has three players vying for the job and combined they have started zero games in the NFL at center. The Post’s Ryan O’Halloran wrote how as of right now it appears Austin Schlottmann has the edge over Patrick Morris and rookie Lloyd Cushenberry.

Ryan makes a great point that during a normal training camp and preseason teams like to ease rookies into starting roles and make them earn the job so to speak. But this year, with zero preseason games and a truncated camp it would make the most sense to have the guy you expect to start get as many reps with the first team as possible.

That’s why he believes Schlottmann has the inside track as he’s taken all the reps with the first team in three of the four workouts so far. Morris did so on Sunday and Cushenberry has not taken any so far.

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Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams CU Buffs Nuggets Rockies

Avs blank Stars 4-0, eye No. 1 seed

Avalanche

Pavel Francouz made 27 saves and became the first goalie in Avs history to post a shutout in his first postseason game as Colorado dominated Dallas 4-0 in the teams’ second of three round-robin games on Wednesday in Edmonton.

Rookie Cale Makar got the scoring started just 3:19 into the first period on the power play. Joonas Donskoi later scored just after an Avs’ power play ended to give Colorado a 2-0 lead. Vladislav Namestnikov scored late in the second period and Andre Burakovsky added the final tally early in the third.

Colorado faces the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday (time to be determined) and with a win would earn the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed.

  • TheAthletic.com’s Ryan S. Clark wrote about what the Avs will do throughout the rest of the playoffs with two goalies in Francouz and Philipp Grubauer who have both looked very sharp in Colorado’s first two games.
    My thoughts: In hockey you almost always have a clear No. 1 goalie, so the idea of going with two during the playoffs just feels weird. But the reality of the matter is it’s worked with the Avs so far, so what’s wrong with sticking with it. And if one guy gets hot or goes cold then you can make an adjustment, but until then, don’t try to fix what’s not broken.
  • TheDNVR’s Evan Rawal handed out grades to the Avs after the victory over the Stars.
  • Unfortunately, The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla was forced to write about how ridiculous it is that so many fans in Colorado still can not watch the Nuggets and Avs because of Altitude not being able to reach an agreement with Comcast and Dish Network.

Nuggets

Michael Porter Jr. had his second straight 30-point game as the Nuggets rallied to beat San Antonio 132-126 on Wednesday afternoon in Orlando. Porter finished with 30 points, 15 rebounds and made five threes in Denver’s second straight win.

The Nuggets also got another solid game from center Nikola Jokić who finished with 25 points and 11 assists. Monte Morris, starting in place of injured Jamal Murray had 19 points, four assists and zero turnovers. Both Jerami Grant (22 points) and P.J. Dozier (12 points and eight assists) led the Nuggets off the bench.

Denver is in third place in the Western Conference standings at 45-23, two games clear of fourth place Utah and just a half game behind the Clippers. The Nuggets are back in action tonight as they face Portland at 6 p.m. (Altitude, 92.5 FM).

  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Porter became the first rookie to score 65 points while shooting 65% or better and grab at least 25 rebounds in back-to-back games since Shaquille O’Neal in 1993.
    My thoughts: Stats like this are fun, but also not really accurate at this point. While technically still a rookie this is more like Porter’s third season than his first. He basically took a medical redshirt Year 1, and then with the four-month layoff this season due to COVID-19 it’s hard to really consider him a rookie. Either way he’s been fun to watch and if he keeps it up this year and going forward the Nuggets should be serious championship contenders.
  • TheDNVR.com’s Adam Mares broke down the play of Grant and looked at how he shows off an under-utilized skill.

Rockies

Nolan Arenado homered in his third straight game, but it wasn’t enough as Colorado’s four-game winning streak was snapped with a 4-3 loss to the Giants on Wednesday night at Coors Field.

Starter Jon Gray pitched well (six innings, three earned runs), but Brandon Belt tagged him for a three-run home run in the fourth inning and San Francisco added another run in the six to pick up the win.

  • Charlie Blackmon extended his hitting streak to nine games and is hitting .378 this season, especially impressive when you remember he missed the start of Summer Camp due to a battle with COVID-19.
  • The Rockies and Giants finish off their four-game series this afternoon (1:10 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) with Kyle Freeland taking on the Giants’ Tyler Anderson, a former first-round pick of the Rockies.
  • Freeland is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA after two starts this year, and one of the reasons for his early-season success has been throwing more changeups.
  • Reliever Wade Davis, who was placed on the injured list with a right shoulder strain, has not yet begun throwing and continues to receive treatment.

Broncos

There’s no question the Broncos are going to be very reliant on young players this season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. TheDNVR.com’s Andrew Mason looked at how Courtland Sutton and the rest of the offensive will attempt to build some chemistry, especially with the impact coronavirus has had on everything.

  • Along very much the same lines, PFF.com’s Sam Monson looked at whether Denver can challenge this year, with so much of a dependance on young players.
  • Over at TheAthletic.com Sheil Kapadia ranked all the NFL offenses from 1-32. Where’d the Broncos check in? How about 27th, one spot down from where they had them ranked last year. Clearly Kapadia believes the Broncos youth is a detriment, not a blessing.

CU Buffs

In some very sad news long-time CU Buffs fan Betty Hoover died Wednesday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Hoover was 95 years old.

She, along with her twin sister Peggy Coppom, have been iconic fans at Buffs games for 80 years. She will be missed.

CSU Rams

Colorado State’s football scheduled was revealed, kind of, on Wednesday. Assuming it happens, the Rams will play eight conference games, with the opener coming the week of Sept. 26. CSU’s lone remaining non-conference game vs. Northern Colorado is now in limbo. As for who they’ll actual face? According to The Denver Post story, the scheduling models for the Mountain West Conference season remain “under consideration.”

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Rockies Opening Day arrives at long last

Rockies

It’s three-and-a-half months later than originally planned, but Opening Day for the Rockies has arrived at last.

In somewhat unexpected news rookie, former first-round pick Brendan Rodgers was left off Colorado’s 30-man roster to start the season. Instead, Rodgers will go to the Rockies alternate training site.

As for the Rockies, they open play tonight at Globe Life Field in Texas against the Rangers at 6 p.m. (AT&T SportsNet, KOA 850 AM). German Marquez will square off against the Rangers’ Lance Lynn.

  • Righty Peter Lambert meanwhile saw his season end before it started as it was announced he’ll have Tommy John surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Chances are likely his 2021 season is over as well.
  • It was announced on Thursday that baseball will have expanded playoffs this season, with eight teams from each league making the playoffs.
    The top two teams in each division will qualify and then the next two teams also will. The first round will be a best-of-three series with all three games hosted by the higher seed.
    My thoughts: I love this and which it would be the format going forward. How much fun is it when your team is out of the playoff race with two or three months to go in the season. The more teams with a chance to win it all the better.
    And while the one-game playoff was somewhat exciting, in baseball I just don’t think it works.

Nuggets

The Bol Bol hype machine was working overtime on Wednesday after the rookie’s impressive first NBA game, albeit in a scrimmage. But The Denver Post’s Sean Keller talked with former NBA All-Star Paul Pierce who quickly turned the hype machine off. Pierce said it was way too early to get too excited about Bol.

My thoughts: I couldn’t agree more. The final line of 16 points, 10 rebound and six blocks is exciting, some of the plays he made were thrilling, but it was literally an exhibition game coming off a four-month layoff for a pandemic.

Bol could go on to be Hall of Famer and we’ll look back on Wednesday as his coming out party. But he could also just as easily be the next Nikoloz Tskitishvili and leave us all wondering what could have been.

The other question is how much will we even get to see of Bol once the action starts up for real. Head coach Michael Malone was reticent to play Michael Porter Jr. big minutes earlier this season, what to say anything different will happen with Bol.

Broncos

Today Denver Post position-by-position preview focused on Denver’s outside linebackers.

My thoughts: When it comes to the Broncos outside linebackers everyone seems to focus on two players. Von Miller and whether he can return to the player he was before last season or if he’s now beginning a steady decline. And Bradley Chubb and how much he’s doing to help this defense as he returns from ACL surgery.

When it comes to Miller I think he still has a few very productive years left. Last year was simply a down year, they happen to everyone.

As for Chubb, there’s one important point that keeps getting ignored. This is Chubb’s second ACL surgery on the same knee, he previously tore the ACL back in high school. I really hope he never has anymore problems with injuries, but as we’ve seen with tight end Jake Butt once you start having reoccurring knee problems they can be come a never-ending cycle.

If, however, Chubb can stay healthy and Miller returns to form, this unit could be one of the Broncos’ best.

Avalanche

Before the NHL shutdown for four months due to COVID-19 the Avs seemed to be constantly battling injuries. As soon as one player returned it seemed someone else went down. Unfortunately things haven’t changed much for Colorado.

Cale Makar returned to the ice on Thursday, but Nathan MacKinnon was absent. Due to the NHL’s new policy regarding player’s health there’s no word on the exact situation with either player.

Rapids

The Denver Post wrote about when Jonathan Lewis is finally going to get more playing time. As of right now Lewis has been a regular sub and for the most part he’s been the best player when he’s been on the field.

As for the Rapids as a whole, the question now turns to what’s next. The MLS is Back Tournament is still going, without the eliminated Rapids of course, but afterward the league has yet to announce when the rest of the season is expected to start.

As it stands the Rapids head home and will continue training and simply waiting to hear what the plan will be.

CSU Rams

Colorado State wide receiver Warren Jackson was selected as the preseason offensive player of the year as voted on by the media.

Jackson, a senior, is coming off a season in which he caught 77 passes for 1,119 yards and eight touchdowns. It’s the second time a receiver has been selected as the preseason offensive player of the year. When was the first time you ask? That would be in 2015 when fellow Ram Rashard Wiggins was tabbed.

Golf

The CoBank Colorado Open got underway yesterday and as the only woman in the field Jennifer Kupcho got off to a solid start with a 1-under par 70.

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Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams Nuggets Rapids

Bol steals the show in Nuggets’ scrimmage

Nuggets

The Bol Bol show is officially the summer blockbuster we’ve all been waiting for. The 7-foot-2 rookie made his NBA debut on Wednesday as the Nuggets beat the Washington Wizards 89-82 in the teams’ first scrimmage of the NBA restart.

Bol finished the game with 16 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots. But that only tells part of the story. The opening act was Denver’s crazy tall lineup (PG – Nikola Jokic, SG – Jerami Grant, SF – Bol, PF – Paul Millsap, C – Mason Plumlee), with no player shorter than 6-8. Next came Bol blocking shots and running the length of the court and knocking down threes.

Bol was one of the top high school recruits and likely would have been one of the top picks in the NBA Draft last year if not for injuries that saw him drop all the way to the Nuggets in the second round.

It’s obviously way too early to get too excited, but especially considering it had been 133 days since the Nuggets last played a game Bol definitely gave Denver fans something to cheer about.

  • The Denver Post is reporting that rookie Michael Porter Jr. is en route to the NBA bubble in Orlando. With the Nuggets being shorthanded this obviously is great news for the team. Now the question is “How will Porter handle no longer being the most hyped rookie on the team?”
  • TheDNVR.com’s Adam Mares broke down various plays of Bol’s and it’s clear, Bol is overflowing with talent.

Avalanche

The NHL always has been more secretive than most leagues when it comes to injuries. In the past players were simply described as having upper or lower body injuries, the league’s new policy to help protect player’s medical privacy during the coronavirus pandemic is even more vague unfortunately.

Colorado Cale Makar missed his third day of practice, as he’s deemed “unfit” to play. Head coach Jared Bednar did not elaborate on when he would be available.

Although, Nathan MacKinnon did tell The Denver Post “I think Cale will be healthy soon, he should be ready to go.”

Here’s hoping MacKinnon’s right, because Makar was a big reason for the Avs’ success in the playoffs last season.

Rockies

In the Rockies’ second and last exhibition game Antonio Senzatela pitched well and Colorado beat Texas 7-3 on Wednesday night. Next up the two teams play for real on Friday night.

Senzatela worked five innings and allowed three runs and picked up the win. On the offensive side Ryan McMahon and Drew Butera homered for the Rockies.

Broncos

The Denver Post continues its look at the Broncos roster, going position-by-position, today focusing on the tight ends.

My thoughts: The TEs could be the difference in this team going 8-8 or stepping up and making the playoffs. There’s so much potential, starting with Noah Fant in particular.

As a rookie Fant had moments where he looked like a future Pro Bowler and potential All-NFL teamer. Unfortunately there were quite a few drops and missed blocks sprinkled in there. The blocks might have been more the coaching staff’s fault for putting the then rookie in bad situations. The drops on the other hand simply need to be corrected.

But if Fant continues to grow and they just get one or two other guys to raise their game a little the tight end position could be a major strength for the 2020 Denver Broncos.

Rapids

Colorado departed the MLS is Back Tournament with a 2-2 draw against Minnesota United on Wednesday night.

Colorado’s Kei Kamara got things started with a goal at the 19-minute mark, it was the 1,000th regular-season goal in Rapids’ history. However, Minnesota took a 2-1 lead into the break.

Rapids sub Jonathan Lewis scored the equalizer for Colorado at the 59-minute mark and that’s how things ended.

The Rapids were officially eliminated earlier in the day when Sporting Kansas City beat Real Salt Lake 2-0. Colorado is now 2-2-1 on the season.

CSU Rams

Colorado State landed four players on the preseason All-MWC team, the most for the team since 2012.

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Marquez to start opener, Broncos nearing return, and Nuggets and Avs news

Rockies

It doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but Colorado officially named German Marquez its starter for Friday’s opener in Texas against the Rangers. Jon Gray will start Saturday’s game and lefty Kyle Freeland will take the mound on Sunday.

Antonio Senzatela will be the team’s No. 4 starter and while manager Bud Black said Chi Chi Gonzalez and Jeff Hoffman have made the team, he did not say which would be the fifth starter.

My thoughts: What a difference a year makes. Last year Freeland as the Opening Day starter, and Gray the two years prior. Going into last season it felt like the Rockies had three really good pitchers at the top of their rotation. Now it feels more like who knows what to expect.

Marquez is right on the cusp of being one of the top pitchers in the National League, similar to where Gray was a little while back. The question is will he be able to take the next step and keep getting better.

I thought Gray was Colorado’s best pitcher last season until they shut him down near the end. But it’s hard to know what you’re getting with him. He still has ace potential, but doesn’t show it as much as you’d like.

And as for Freeland it would be hard to be worse than he was last season. And he doesn’t need to be as good as he was in 2018, but if he can regain that form Colorado really could contend this year.

Broncos

The Broncos got the all clear to start allowing their rookies and quarterbacks into their team facility at the end of this week.

If all goes according to plan players will be tested for COVID-19 on a daily basis during the first two week of training camp. If less than 5% test positive the testing will be allowed to be done every other day.

Nuggets

Both Jamal Murray and head coach Michael Malone preached patience when it comes to evaluating the Nuggets during the NBA restart.

The team’s first scrimmage is Wednesday, but both Murray and Malone talked more about the start of the playoffs, Aug. 17, for when the team will be firing on all cylinders.

My thoughts: This really makes perfect sense. With the season hitting the pause button in mid-March, it will have been more than four months until the season resumes. A full offseason in other words.

You don’t expect, or even want, a team to be perfect to start a season. The goal is to amp up and get better until you peak come playoff time. The goal for the NBA restart should be the exact same.

Seeding doesn’t really matter since there’s no home court. So the Nuggets only goal should be figuring out what they can to do peak at the right time.

Avalanche

Cale Makar was unavailable to practice for the second day in a row. The team has only said he’s “unfit” to practice and did not provide a timeline of when he might return.

Meanwhile, Connor Timmins continues to impress.

Nationally

According to various sources the NFL is offering the players the chance to have zero preseason games this year.

  • ESPN.com put out its NFL Future Power Rankings, looking at how teams are setup for the next three seasons. Broncos’ fan have to scroll all the way down to No. 24 to find Denver.