Leaders make points behind closed doors

DENVER -- From Ray Bourque to Patrick Roy, the Colorado Avalanche have had their share of vocal leaders.

Not this year.

With Roy gone to retirement, leadership duties this season fell
into the hands of Rob Blake, Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote. None of those players are likely to speak out in public to rally their teammates, but Avalanche coach Tony Granato said that shouldn't be confused with lack of leadership.

"There isn't a guy who's going to stand up and bang sticks on
the wall or kick water bottles or anything that dramatic, but when
something has to be said they'll all step up and say it," Granato
said Friday. "The guys that we have at those positions have always
stepped up at the right opportunities and led the way."

Which usually means they do it from behind closed doors, which
is the way Granato prefers it.

"You don't see a certain side of them when something has to be
said," Granato said. "Those type of things that are said in the
locker room are said to stay in the locker room because that's what
great leaders do.

"They're not going to come out and publish a book on why
they're a great leader, they're going to say something that needs
to be said at the right time."

Crash or burn

For the Stars to have any chance of rallying to win three straight games and the series, they will need to do a better job of crashing the net.

Colorado has been effective at driving the crease for rebounds
and tips, but Dallas has been relegated to shooting from the
perimeter for most of the series.

"You have to keep pounding the net. That's just the way it
is," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "You have to be willing to
get to the net and battle for rebounds, for screens and for your
space. It enhances our chances for scoring. That is the bottom

Problem is, the Avalanche aren't letting them.

By standing the Stars up in the neutral zone, Colorado hasn't
allowed players like Mike Modano and Bill Guerin get up a head of
steam across the blue line. The Avalanche also have clogged the
middle shooting lanes, forcing Dallas to shoot from near the blue
line and from along the boards.

"We have to be in good position when they're entering our zone
so we're not allowing them odd-numbered attacks, not allowing them
speed to get through to our net," Granato said. "Our D has been
very solid at that. That's one of the things that their
responsibility is keeping Dallas -- keeping any team we play -- to
the outside."

Loose pucks

Avalanche LW Alex Tanguay didn't practice Friday
after bruising his leg in overtime of Game 4, but Granato said he
should play on Saturday. The news wasn't as good on RW Paul Kariya.
He won't play in Game 5 and is still out "indefinitely" with a
sprained ankle. ... Dallas practiced for just 32 minutes on Friday.
... As Granato walked toward a post-practice media session, top
forward Milan Hejduk was still out on the ice shooting at an open
net. No surprise to the coach. "That's the same way every day,"
Granato said. "Milan, you've got to get the big hook to get him
off the ice. He loves being around the ice, he loves shooting
pucks, he loves that work ethic and he always thinks he can do one
more thing in practice to get ready for the next game. That's his