Joe Sakic Eager To Take Ice

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Sakic announced in late summer he would return for his 20th season after months of uncertainty.

Sakic says he thinks the revamped and retooled Avalanche squad can be a contender in the perennially tough Western Conference.

Some of the changes undergone by Colorado this off-season included losing Jeff Finger, Andrew Brunette, Kurt Sauer and Jose Theodore to free agency. Gone as well is fan favorite Peter Forsberg.

The team also parted ways with coach Joel Quenneville and hired Tony Granato. Granato has vowed to open up the offense, hoping to turn the Avalanche into more of a speed squad.

The Avalanche added toughness and tenacity in the off-season, bringing in grinders like Daniel Tjarnqvist and Darcy Tucker.

Peter Budaj will take over for the departed Theodore.