<
>

Skoula's stock hurt by history of sloppy play

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche traded longtime defenseman
Martin Skoula to Anaheim for defenseman Kurt Sauer and a
fourth-round draft choice in the 2005 entry draft.

Skoula, who played with the Avalanche for five years, had been
in the doghouse on several occasions for sloppy play.

Also, the team
has lost three games in a row, jeopardizing its chance to finish at
the top of the NHL's Western Conference.

"We are excited to add a defenseman of Kurt's size and ability
to our roster," Avalanche president and general manager Pierre
Lacroix said. "At 23, Kurt is a young player already
possessing over a year's worth of NHL regular season and playoff
experience. We expect him to be a strong contributor on our
blue line for many years to come."

In 55 games played with the Mighty Ducks this season, Sauer has
notched one goal and four assists with 32 penalty minutes while
logging an average of 16:53 in ice time. During his rookie campaign
in 2002-03, Sauer collected a goal and two assists in 80 contests,
including a goal and an assist in 21 playoff games.

The Avalanche, who are without defenseman Rob Blake because of a
broken leg, picked up veteran defenseman Bob Boughner from Carolina
earlier this week.