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A vote for Abi

Roy thinks Avs should give Aebischer a chance to start

Posted: Wednesday May 28, 2003 7:21 PM
Updated: Wednesday May 28, 2003 9:44 PM

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DENVER (AP) -- Patrick Roy made it clear who he thinks should replace him as goalie for the Colorado Avalanche next season: David Aebischer.

On the day he announced his retirement, Roy threw his support into the corner of the goalie who has been his backup the past three seasons.

"David is there. I think he deserves a chance," Roy said Wednesday at his retirement news conference. "I think he has matured a lot over the years. He's been working extremely hard. Time will tell if he can do a good job, but I'm very confident."

Aebischer was touted as Roy's replacement when he was first moved up to the NHL team in 2000, but a subpar 2002-03 might have management looking elsewhere.

Aebischer was 12-7-3 with a 2.24 goals-against average and three shutouts as a rookie in 2000-01, and was even better last year at 13-6 and 1.88.

But this season, in part because the Avalanche struggled defensively early, Aebischer was 7-12 with a 2.43 goals-against average.

Colorado's management is high on Phil Sauve, who pushed Aebischer for the backup spot in training camp last year, but they might want him to spend another year with the team's top minor league affiliate.

The Avalanche could look to free agency, where they might be able to pick up a veteran like Felix Potvin, Chris Osgood or Marty Turco.

Avalanche general manager Pierre Lacroix indicated the team would likely stay within the organization, but he didn't say whether that meant going with Aebischer or giving Sauve a shot.

"Let me make one thing clear. You don't replace the caliber of player that Patrick Roy represents," Lacroix said. "Our intention as an organization is not to find another Patrick Roy, but to give the chance to the young players that have been playing in our organization for many years.

"David is one of them. We have young goalies in our farm team too, that are great."

Goalie isn't Colorado's only concern.

Swedish star Peter Forsberg, the NHL's top scorer last season, still hasn't said whether he will return to the team next season.

Forsberg, a restricted free agent on July 1, is still trying to decide between an eighth season with the Avalanche or returning to Sweden to play for his father's team.

Don Baizley, Forsberg's agent, said his client is taking time to think about his future.

"As last season wore on, he decided he was going to take some time away from hockey and give himself some down time before making a decision about the upcoming season," Baizley said.

Colorado captain Joe Sakic said he had no doubt which way Forsberg would go.

"He's coming back," Sakic said. "He didn't tell me, but I know that he's coming back. That would be a shock [if he didn't return]."

 
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