AIR FORCE ACADEMY Some of the hopefuls trying to crack the Avalanche lineup in training camp aren't legally allowed to order a drink yet. Then there's Darren Haydar.

At 29, Haydar is something of the "Crash Davis" of the Avs, the guy who has been a superstar in the minors for years but has yet to make it big in "The Show."

"I've said it before: 'What else can I do at the American Hockey League level to earn an opportunity?' I think this is a perfect chance for me. I've just got to take it," said Haydar, a right wing who had an assist in a Burgundy 3-2 shootout loss to White in Wednesday's annual intrasquad scrimmage at the Cadet Field House. "I've had people tell me before that I've had a great career already. But if I was satisfied with just that, I'd sign with a team in the 'A' and just stay there. But I still believe I can play at this level."

Haydar has had some big scoring years in the AHL, including 41 goals and 122 points in 73 games for the Chicago Wolves in 2006-07 and 92 points for the Milwaukee Admirals the season before.

His NHL career statistics, however, show just 22 games and one goal, with the Atlanta Thrashers in 2007-08. Haydar has had the knock of being too small (5-feet-9, 170 pounds) for the NHL level and not being good enough on defense.

After playing last season for the Grand Rapids Griffins and notching another 31 goals and 80 points, Haydar signed a free-agent contract with Colorado and hopes he can finally find a home with a team with some roster openings up front.

"I think my first couple of years, that was the case (of being too small), but I think with the game changing, I have more of a chance," said Haydar, who starred at the University of New Hampshire. "I think I just have to find some chemistry playing with some guys and fit in as best I can."

Avs coach Joe Sacco said of Haydar: "He's a guy who's looking to make a good impression on us in training camp and that's got to use his quickness and his offensive capabilities because he's smaller in size. But I've liked what he's been able to do offensively. I think the thing with Darren is for him to be able to do it for 200 feet of the ice."


Third overall pick Matt Duchene had a solid game, scoring one of White's two regulation goals. His shootout attempt, however, was ruined when the blade of his stick snapped off just as he shot the puck. . . . Sacco singled out rookie forward Matt Hendricks as having one of the best performances of the night. Hendricks scored a goal for the Burgundy and got into two fights. . . . After allowing two early goals, White goalie Peter Budaj settled down and allowed none until the third, when he was relieved by Tyler Weiman. Burgundy starter Craig Anderson was solid, allowing a power-play goal to Chris Stewart and Duchene's bank shot from the corner. . . . Paul Stastny won the game with the lone shootout goal.