Monday, May 9, 2011

Denver Post Article from October 2006

I honestly can't remember if I've blogged this old article before or not. And I'm too tired to check my archive, so I'm just going to post it. I happened upon it again today and there are a couple really neat parts to it, so I think it's worth reading again. This was back when he was with Colorado, obviously.

2006-07 Avalanche preview
Excitement returns for goalie

By Adrian Dater
Denver Post Staff Writer

Imagine "The Ballad of Jose Theodore," including an interesting lyrical mix detailing the lofty highs and plunging lows of a troubadour goalie. Lead guitarist Jose Theodore would pick his chord and the point to insert his solo riff.

When the Avalanche goalie wants to get away from the media spotlight that has seen him make headlines in publications as diverse as Sports Illustrated and the National Enquirer, Theodore grabs a six-string guitar and plays his own tune to get away from the chorus surrounding him.

"Sometimes, I'll play some old, heavy stuff like old Metallica or Guns 'N' Roses," Theodore said after a recent morning practice. "And then sometimes, I pick up my acoustic and play more Led Zeppelin or U2. I just play whatever I feel like I want to play. It's something fun, something you can spend hours doing and pass the time."

Theodore had to pass more time than he cared to much of last season. He missed three months with a broken heel after slipping on ice outside his Montreal home. His name surfaced in embarrassing headlines after he tested positive for Propecia, a hair-loss medicine that also can be used to mask steroid use. He endured boos and catcalls from the formerly loving fans of the Montreal Canadiens for a goals-against average resembling that of a Rockies pitcher circa mid-1990s. He was traded by the Canadiens straight up for a goalie, David Aebischer, who was a healthy scratch at times for the Avalanche last season. He endured more headlines in gossip columns after he was seen holding hands with socialite Paris Hilton this summer, not long after his girlfriend had given birth to a baby daughter.

Theodore's reaction to it all was to keep strumming. Keep trying to find the harmonies in life.

"I actually had a very good summer," said Theodore, who turned 30 last month. "It was just a nice, quiet summer with my family. I came (to Denver) in early August to make sure I could skate with the guys, and my top focus was on hockey and nothing else."

Theodore prefers to keep the details of his private life private, but portrayed domestic bliss in his home these days. He said he is a doting father with daughter Romy, and he couldn't wait to get back from a preseason game in Las Vegas to see her.

"I'm finding that road trips are a lot tougher now, being a dad," he said.

Solid in the preseason
Where the Avalanche and its fans most care about Theodore's life - on the ice - has been so far so good through the preseason. He looked quick and strong in goal for Colorado's first few exhibitions, stopping 41-of-43 shots in victories over Dallas and Detroit. There was a noticeable gleam in the eyes of Avs players and coaches after seeing this Theodore compared to the one of last season.

"If he plays like that, and we think he will, we're going to be real strong in goal, and that's the most important position in the game," Avs captain Joe Sakic said. "He's a proven goalie who had a tough year in a lot of ways, but it was only one year. And in the playoffs for us, you saw that he was already turning things around. He looks that much better now."

Theodore said he started to feel like his old self again in the first round of the postseason, a five-game Avs triumph over favored Dallas. He still was bothered slightly by the heel, and he hadn't played regularly in three months. But when the series was over, he was on to the next round and Vezina Trophy candidate Marty Turco was headed to the golf course.

"I wasn't feeling as comfortable as I'm feeling now, but we still beat Dallas and that helped me right off the get-go with the guys here," said Theodore, making $5.5 million this season. "I was pretty happy the way my game was picking up. I was anxious for my season to start, and when you're anxious, a lot of the time you're happy to go into the gym, you're happy to do the little extras in the gym, and it shows. And that's why I came in early August. I just wanted to be back on the ice with the guys."

Theodore's entire profile changed when he was judged the league's most valuable player and awarded the Hart Trophy, along with the Vezina for being the top goalie, in 2002 with Montreal. Almost overnight, he went from serviceable goalie to superstar. There were great expectations and pressure that got to him at times in the hyper-intense Montreal hockey market.

"In Montreal, hockey's the only sport," he said. "You had 10 or 11 reporters on the road for every game, radio and TV and everything. But having said that, I loved my time in Montreal. I love the city, it's my hometown, and I have great memories playing there. It's a great organization."

Big fan of Denver
Theodore said he loves Denver, too. He bought a house here and said: "I brag to all my friends about how great it is in Denver. Great city, great fans and a great sports town, which I like. The Avalanche is one of the best organizations in the league, and I want to be here for many years."

He also likes the French-speaking flavor of the Avs, including several teammates whom he usually hangs with on the road - Ian Laperriere and Patrice Brisebois among them.

"Jose is a good kid, a good teammate," Laperriere said. "He's not a goalie who's by himself on the team. He is one of the guys, and I think he's worked hard at fitting in with us right from the start."

Even though he grew up in the Montreal suburb of Saint Bruno, Theodore was an Edmonton Oilers fan, and especially liked goalie Grant Fuhr. In his first training camp with Montreal, he shared the locker room with Hall of Famer Patrick Roy.

Roy never talked much to rookies even with the Avalanche, so it wasn't a surprise he didn't say much to Theodore. But in Theodore's first preseason game as a pro, he started against Philadelphia - with Roy as the backup.

"That was the only game I ever played with him, and he was my backup," Theodore said, grinning. "I gave up three goals on something like 19 shots in the first period, we were down 3-0, and the only thing he said to me was something like, 'I gave up three goals my first game in the first period, too.' That was nice of him."

Now that he's 30, Theodore said he's starting to feel like an old sage in the locker room.

"I remember when I got in the league and guys turned 30, I'd say, 'Well, they've been in the league a while, huh?' But the clock keeps turning and turning," he said.

"But right now, I feel as good as I have in a long time. I feel that excitement for the game again."

That is music to Colorado's ears.

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