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Don’t fret about Avalanche’s latest loss. Well, maybe a little

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One, one and one. That’s the record so far on this long, long homestand for the Avalanche, one that isn’t sitting so well with the impatient fan base.

The Avs are getting close to the midpoint of this shortened regular season. The record is 13-8-2, a mark that would have been cause for a parade down Colfax had it been three or four years ago. But, as veteran Matt Calvert put it recently, “Our standards have just gotten much higher.”

And so this season retains a tinge of frustration for Avs fans, who want to know why they can’t beat the last-place Anaheim Ducks (Saturday night) or the average Arizona Coyotes (tonight) at Ball Arena lately? The answers almost assuredly have a tight bond with the fact that two of the NHL’s very best players – Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar – have missed the last few games. Add in the fact that the Avs essentially are playing with one bona-fide NHL goalie, and you have a template for potential problems.

The one big worry I have right now remains with the backup goalie position. I’m not too worried about a close loss on a Monday night to the Coyotes or the overall record. When MacKinnon and Makar come back, a lot of current problems will be solved – namely, a sagging power play. If the Avs have to wear out Philipp Grubauer just to secure a playoff spot, that’s likely not going to end well. Maybe Hunter Miska deserves one more start to show something, but that’s it. Otherwise, it’s time for Joe Sakic to go get someone in here who can stop a puck.

Of course, the other worry I have is: this team is never healthy. The injuries just continue to be stacked up like cordwood at the start of a Vermont winter. Conor Timmins joined the team infirmary this morning, with an upper-body injury. The Avs are playing right now with three defensemen who weren’t with the team at the start of the year. Their backup/1A goalie, Pavel Francouz, has been hurt all year. Fans are as frustrated by this as anything. The “fire the training staff/strength coach” tweets and DMs continue to populate my Twitter feed.

I don’t really know what to say about the injury thing, other than it just keeps happening, for whatever reason. But the continuous injuries are doing nothing to dispel critics who say the Avs are a little, well, soft.

The Masters

As I said, I’m not too hot and bothered by the loss and overtime loss the last two games. Things are still looking rosy for his organization with the talent on hand and on the way. I’ve learned to be a little more patient as I’ve gotten older. Don’t let the chin sag too much right now. Things are still good.

But, yeah, things could be better.

“I’m not disappointed in the effort. I’m disappointed in the result,” Jared Bednar said. “We’re not looking for moral victories. We’re a good hockey team and we’ve got to find a way to win.”

NOTEBOOK: Sigh, Bednar said after the game that “Nate’s the only guy I see coming back anytime soon,” about Nathan MacKinnon and the injury situation. I’ve been told by good sources that Makar’s return shouldn’t be too far off, and Bednar said just this morning that Makar has skated a lot the last two days. Whether some setback happened, I don’t know, but Bednar’s Zoom call ended before I could ask anything about it. Bednar doesn’t seem all that great at getting injury info. from his staff, although maybe he’s just being a bit cagey with the media. But if Makar is out longer term, that’s definitely not a good thing. You can ratchet it up a bit more on the worry meter. … Andre Burakovsky, who broke a scoring slump with a goal, chalked up the loss partially to a “couple of lucky bounces” for the Coyotes. … Gabe Landeskog waved off criticism that his team got out to another slow start on the homestand. “I disagree that we came out slow,” Landeskog said. Well, I’m pretty sure the Avs only had two shots on net in the first 12 minutes, but. … Said Bednar, losing despite the huge shot advantage: “Right now we’re making every goalie that we play look like an All-Star We can’t continue with that.”… Dan Renouf’s one-handed weak pass that was broken up by Phil Kessel kept the puck in the Avs’ zone just prior to the Coyotes’ game-winning goal in the third, one of only seven shots in the period and 14 for the game for Arizona. The Avs had 35. … Colorado held the Coyotes to 14 shots on goal, the fewest shots the Avs have allowed this season. It was the 13th consecutive contest the Avs have held their opponent to less than 30 shots, tied for the second-longest stretch in franchise history without allowing 30 shots.

14 games Feb. 21-March 22, 2001
13 games Feb. 2, 2021 – present
13 games Oct. 26-Nov.21, 1998

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies. Previously Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report to name just a few.

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dp10

Very frustrating result! Short term, the team will just have to push through this. I also wonder if Sakic regrets trading Ian Cole to the Wild. Long term, I am sure management will take a closer look at player durability, which I am sorry to say may put a guy like EJ over the hill with this team. Out of 10 seasons with the Avs, he has only played 2 without any longer injury absences. None of that mattered when the team sucked. But now it’s under the microscope.

chippy play

Very frustrating result.

I wonder who got hurt tonight? Saad maybe?

Gotta think Makar has a concussion. That sucks.

Brian Levesque

When your starting goalie gives up 3 goals on the first 8 shots he sees that does not bode well for team success

[…] The Coyotes beat the Avalanche last night, but you shouldn’t worry about Colorado … right? (Colorado Hockey Now) […]

ricoflashback

Grubauer gave up his obligatory “Gru-Hole” goal (5 hole) and the Avs continue to fire the puck in the chest of opposing goaltenders. Can anyone on the Avs shoot the puck upstairs, you know, where the goalie doesn’t cover? I keep saying to myself – don’t worry. When everyone is healthy they’ll have a long playoff run. What are the chances of that based on the pattern of this season?

Aaron Hinton

Their playoff run will last as long as a snow cone in Phoenix if they keep this up, Rico Suave!

Jared Moss

100% cole trade was a dud, I wanted to get pateryn another chance…. and from last night i take it back send him back to the AHL try someone else

Brandon Eccles

It’s a real bummer to see all the potential lost this season. We are leaving a lot of meat on the bone with what the team and season could have been.

Until we figure out this injury fiasco and get more consistent play from the uninjured, all we will do is fight to hang on for a playoff spot and get bounced early if we get in.

Sadly not the season we were all hoping for.

Brett Rainboth

Nuke-Saad got together for a goal Saturday, Nuke-Kadri last night. Hopefully the 3 have found some kind of chemistry and will get a chance to play together coming up.

Jeff Bugbee

the cause behind the rash of injuries is becoming clearer… Avs are speedy and skilled, but a bit small. Size matters, and bulkier, meaner opponents have figured out that you “beat the Avs by beating them up – and if you can’t beat them on the scoreboard, at least beat them up physically”. And this season, the Avs are really getting beat up! No surprise – This was apparent in last summer’s playoff loss to Dallas – where the less talented team pushed and shoved and bullied their way to victory – and that trend has continued since.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jeff Bugbee
dp10

I would tend to agree, but if you look at individual player’s durability, size may not be such a big factor. EJ is listed at 6′-4″ and 225lbs and is probably the single most injury prone player on this team right now. In contrast, Sam Girard, our 5′-10″ / 170lbs wizard (he actually looks bulkier than that) has become a bit of an iron man on this squad. I think a big part of durability is also their style of play, specifically how these guys use their body in relationship to the positioning on any given play.

Last edited 2 months ago by dp10
Karl Keen

It’s a relief to see on here nobody blaming everything on Bednar. Bednar isn’t the player deciding to do skate the puck back out to the blue line (rather than charge the goal), miss open nets, or try an extra pass rather than shoot. If you want to question Bednar then question his decision to not call up Bower or choosing Megna over Tyna or constantly lying to the media about the injury status of our players. Otherwise, the players need to deal better with the pressure, find a way to have fun, and get their confidence up. Anybody else… Read more »

troian

There is nothing shocking about his – it was all but a certainty when you look at the failures to address roster shortcomings over the past two years (particularly last year). The problems are long-standing…an undisciplined, and often semi-soft (not weak, but just unwilling to win ugly – in short, a team badly in need of what the Caps did when they hired Barry Trotz) team…Big Z wasn’t perfect, but moving him (and Cole) removed what grit there was in the D corps…people love blaming goalies and coaches, but a lot of it comes down to front office assembly of… Read more »

Richard Trujillo

Exactly. They have done a little bit of work to address depth scoring (Saad and Kadri) but the other two glaring weaknesses they haven’t touched. Goaltending was their biggest issue when both guys were healthy and they still didn’t fix it. That lack of action in elite organizations that are in championship windows often gets guys fired.

dudleyconrad

We’re starting to turn into a “finding ways to lose” kind of team.
I’ve been skipping portions of games and/or turning them off early lately. It just feels inevitable that bad things are going to happen, and it hasn’t been a lot of fun to watch, especially this new trend of going down 2-0 every night.

[…] That means Nathan MacKinnon is cleared for contact and a full participant with the Avs again. We’ll hopefully hear from Nate after practice, or perhaps the coach, on his status. But if I were a betting man, I’d put money on MacKinnon being in the Avs lineup tomorrow night against the Arizona Coyotes. […]

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