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Nick Holden Ready to Play Forward versus Stars

Defenseman Nick Holden will make his season debut tonight as a forward

Friday, 11.01.2013 / 3:58 PM / News
By Ron Knabenbauer
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Nick Holden Ready to Play Forward versus Stars
Defenseman Nick Holden will make his season debut tonight against Dallas as a forward

Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy asked defenseman Nick Holden earlier in the week if he had ever played at forward.

Holden said he had a couple of times, and Roy responded by saying, "I was hoping you would say no, because now you are going to start Friday night in Dallas. Good luck."

Nick Holden

While Roy was joking that Holden would start, he was dead serious on Holden playing left wing for tonight's game against the Stars while the club is dealing with a smaller roster than normal.

"It's been over a month since I played a game so I'm obviously itching to get in," said Holden, who last played Sept. 26 in Colorado's preseason game at Dallas. "When I got the opportunity to play left wing I jumped at it, and hopefully I can contribute a little bit up front."

With Jamie McGinn out with a knee injury and Cody McLeod out for one more game while serving a five-game suspension, Roy had to mix up his lines this week. Among the many moves he made to his lineup was placing Holden with Marc-Andre Cliche and Patrick Bordeleau on the Avs' fourth forward line.

Holden was the only player on Colorado's roster that hadn't played in a regular-season game this year, but that didn't discourage the 26-year-old from St. Albert, Alberta, as he still did all he could in practice to help the Avalanche match its best start in franchise history at 10-1-0.

"It's a dream of mine to play in the NHL, and for them to give me the opportunity—even though I haven't played yet—obviously is a dream come true," Holden said of being with the Avalanche. "It’s a great honor to play in the NHL. I know I would get my opportunity sooner or later and Patrick kept telling me that. I kept working hard and doing whatever I could in practice to help the team win."

Holden has played in seven career NHL games, including two contests last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but tonight's game will be a little different as he'll play a position he has played only a few times in the minors.

Luckily for him, the Avalanche had four days between games so he had a few extra practices and film sessions to learn the team's forward system.

Holden said he would be looking to keep things "simple" at left wing tonight and try to not think like a defenseman.

"Even in practice it’s a little bit different. You get caught thinking like a D-man when you have to be thinking like a winger," Holden said. "It's going to be interesting. We know the system and I've been taught the forward system the last couple of days so it should be fun."

AVALANCHE SPOTLIGHT ON: MAXIME TALBOT

Just one day after being acquired from Philadelphia, Maxime Talbot will be in the Avalanche lineup for this evening's game in Dallas.

Talbot joined the team Thursday night after he was traded for the first time in his NHL career. He signed with the Flyers as a free agent in 2012 after playing six seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Maxime Talbot

“I’m a little bit overwhelmed,” Talbot said Thursday afternoon via conference call. “It’s the first time at the professional level that I’ve experienced a trade. It’s kind of nerve-wracking a little bit to get the phone call in the afternoon and then four hours later you’re at the airport."

While there will sure to be nerves in his first game with a new team, Talbot said is excited to join the Avalanche and help build on the club's solid start to the 2013-14 campaign.

"Obviously, being traded and having the chance to play with a team that’s created great momentum right now, it’s exciting," he said. "They’re at the top of the league, and there’s a reason for that. I got the call, and I looked at the roster, and it’s a really deep roster with young skill and will be good now and for years to come.”

Talbot's new teammate, PA Parenteau, is fairly familiar with his style of game as he played against him for three seasons while division rivals with the Rangers and Islanders and grew up with him in Quebec.

"A lot of grit, a lot of competing on his part," Parenteau said of Talbot. "I think he is a guy that brings a lot to the table. He's a proven winner too; I think that is one of the reasons why we went out to get him and he's a great guy in the locker room. I've known him since I was 10 years old, played against him all the time, hanged out with him a lot. He's going to be good for all of the young guys too and I think it's going to be a plus for this hockey team."

PROJECTED LINES

Forwards

Ryan O'ReillyMatt DuchenePA Parenteau

Gabriel LandeskogPaul StastnyAlex Tanguay

Maxime TalbotNathan MacKinnon – John Mitchell

Nick HoldenMarc-Andre ClichePatrick Bordeleau

Defense

Erik JohnsonJan Hejda

Ryan WilsonNate Guenin

Andre BenoitCory Sarich

Goaltenders

Semyon Varlamov

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

MORE MORNING NOTES

-Semyon Varlamov will get the start in net tonight for the Avalanche.

-Tyson Barrie will likely be a healthy scratch while McGinn (knee) and McLeod (suspension) remain out of the lineup.

-The Avs are 5-0-0 on the road and with a victory tonight would tie the franchise record for consecutive road wins to begin a season (6-0 in 2011-12).

-At 10-1-0, the Avs have equaled their best start through 11 games in franchise history. The Nordiques also went 10-1-0 in their first 11 games of the 1994-95 season, while the Avalanche recorded 20 points (9-0-2) through their opening 11 contests in 2000-01.

-Today is the only day that the team will spend outside of Denver in a span of 21 days from Oct. 22 to Nov. 11.

-The Avs are playing their first of 10 back-to-back sets this weekend, as they take on the Stars tonight in Dallas before hosting the Canadiens tomorrow night in Denver.

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