It could be said that the Avalanche are a mystery wrapped in a riddle. That no one, not their fans or the front office or their piece of shit owner knows what the hell is going on with this team or which direction they are headed. You could say they are far and away the worst team in the league and show no signs of improvement. You could say Kroenke sucks.
However, I am not going to say any of those things.
Well, ok, I guess I kind of did but I am sure you get my point.
To me the Colorado Avalanche are the perfect example of what happens when a franchise does not have any plan except “let’s wait and see”.
From their questionable and haphazard handling of Matt Duchene to their failure to make any serious upgrades in the offseason, the whole thing stinks of complacency.
And it’s not like the Avalanche are completely void of talent, as last year’s record might suggest.
Nathan MacKinnon is a former Calder Trophy winner who put up 63 points and scored 24 goals in his rookie season [ESPN].
Matt Duchene is a highly sought after young center who has put up 50 or more points in 5 out of his 8 seasons with the Avalanche. [Hockey-Refrence].
Gabriel Landeskog is only 24 years old and has already proved to be a effective two-way center.
Former Blues first round pick Erik Johnson may never have lived up to his draft position but he is still an effective top line defenseman.
Semyon Varlamov still has the potential to be a reliable starting goaltender.
Mikko Rantanen scored 20 goals last year, his first full season with the Avalanche.
Nail Yakupov, after finishing last year as a healthy scratch with the Blues, has found some success in Colorado and is actually scoring goals, a couple were even on purpose.
There are some interesting pieces on this team which is why I was skeptical when people were predicting the same results as last year’s pathetic champaign.
And to start the season the Avalanche have played like a passable NHL team. Heading into last week they were 4-1 with wins against the Rangers, Ducks and twice against the Bruins. And these weren’t just questionable wins either, the were 2, 3 and sometimes 4 goal decisive regulation victories.
Then last week happened and the critics were starting to breath a sigh of relief.
On Saturday they lost to the Dallas Stars by a score of 1-3, were out shot by 13 and went 1-4 on the power play.
On Tuesday the coughed up a 1-4 loss to the Nashville Predators while once again being out shot by a margin of 13 and not scoring on 6 power play attempts.
This season the highs and lows of this team will be miles and miles apart.
When everything is clicking this is a speedy team that has some good offensive talent capable of scoring a lot of goals. However, this is still a team that has shallow depth at the forward position, lacks any considerable talent on defense outside of the top two and at best has questionable goaltending.
In short, the Avalanche will still finish the season outside of the playoffs but are more than capable of wrecking a few parties along the way.
As for the boys in Blue, they are coming off an exhilarating win against division rival Chicago Blackhawks.
Throughout the game the Blues controlled possession, dominated in shots, and had the better of the scoring chances in all situations.
Jaden Schwartz had a hattrick while Vladimir Tarasenko and Kyle Brodziak each scored a goal.
Thanks to the return of Alex Steen, Mike Yeo was finally able to stabilize his top six.
Samuel Blais spent the entire night on the Bray/Jay line while Steen rounded out the top three.
Jake Allen was dominate in net and had it not been for a couple third period power plays and a questionable goaltender interference non-call would have had himself a shutout.
Heading into the game tonight there really should be no reason for Yeo to change his top two lines. Steen’s two-way play solidifies the top line while Blais brings skill and allusiveness to an already dangerous second line.
Dmitrij Jaskin finished the night with the best Corsi% on the team (88% all situations [NST]).
If the Blues can maintain the pace and intensity that they showed on Wednesday night a win should be their’s for the taking.
However, if they come out flat expecting to coast through a game against a supposed inferior opponent then by the end of the night the Avalanche might find themselves atop the Central Division standings.