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Avalanche and their fans can’t give up now

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Avs lose Game 3

This has been a lousy few days. As people who watch and care about the Colorado Avalanche, it was a lousy feeling watching last night’s Vegas-Montreal game.

I’m sure a lot of you felt this way too, but I was like: “This should be the Avs playing Montreal right now, at Ball Arena. It should be a full house. The Avs should be wearing their Quebec Nordiques reverse retro jerseys, and this should be a ball to watch.”

It still doesn’t seem quite real to me that the Avs lost four straight to Vegas and are done playing any game that counts for four long months. This team had everything, or so it seemed to me. It was barely more than a week ago when the Avs had a 2-0 series lead, and a lead with 5:16 to go in the third period of Game 3 in Vegas. It was just one week ago today that the Avs had a 2-0 lead entering the third period of Game 5 at home, after having played what I thought was their best period of the postseason.

But it’s now Tuesday, the Avs are done and Vegas has a 1-0 series lead on Montreal. Hockey will break your heart, bottom line.

A lot of people want to point fingers of blame right now, and that’s just life in pro sports. Fire the coach, trade this guy, trade that guy, bring this guy in, etc. etc. etc.

I just don’t see where there is one big area of blame. Can anyone say Jared Bednar didn’t work his butt off for this team? Did he ever seem complacent or lazy to you? Not to me he didn’t.

Joe Sakic has made a ton of great moves to get this team back to a position of strength. We can’t blame him. The ownership by the Kroenkes? They spent right to the cap on this team. They are good owners. OK, they’re not the most visible owners, which lends itself to people making judgments about them, but they are good owners, period.

It’s just…the Avs didn’t play well enough at the crucial times. And, Vegas was a good enough team not to beat themselves, and to take advantage of Avs mistakes in those crucial times.

One thing I have been consistent about, if I have any criticism of the team as it’s currently composed, is that players somehow just let up a bit whenever there is some prosperity. It was evident in Game 3 of the Vegas series. The Avs just didn’t seem to come to play and Vegas seized on that. I’m sure their players might have thought, “Hey, maybe these guys think it’s going to be easy against us. Let’s show them.” And, they did.

Bonus Voucher!

I don’t know what the solution to that problem is, if it exists at all. But, every team has to have a killer instinct. Every championship team has to feel like “We haven’t done anything yet” until that trophy is hoisted. I remember Patrick Roy looking at me like I had three heads when I asked if the 1996 season was already a success, after beating Detroit in the Western finals. Of course not, he scoffed. There’s still the Cup.

It’ll be a long, tough summer, no question about it. It’s easy to feel down and depressed right now, even about the future.

But, chins up. It’s still a good situation around here. Let’s count some blessings and keep living life.

A couple of shoutouts here:

Thanks to everybody who comes here to read my scribbling.

 

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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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Spencer Bradshaw

The Hockey Guy on YouTube said it best. The Avs really need a big and experienced defenseman. That’ll obviously be a challenge to find in this market and current flat-cap situation, but I think that was their biggest downfall against Vegas. Whatever happens, firing Bednar would be a major blunder.

dp10

That thought occurred to me too, especially as I was thinking back to a certain Ian Cole, a two time cup winner who has had mixed to pretty good results with this team. When we traded him, I thought…ok we got an enviable defense and Cole, with a fairly big contract, is being pushed down the depth chart. But then at the end of the season, all the sudden we were left with was a a somewhat smallish and fairly young/inexperienced defense that simply couldn’t get it done and allowed 17 goals in the final 4 games. In fact, we… Read more »

Doug

Great point. I think the Cole deal hurt us, and the trade deadline deals, while not catastrophic, were basically busts. The Cole deal may have helped in hard to decipher ways, as we were up against the cap in many games and had a short bench at least once just before the trade. Nonetheless, I agree with the point- thanks for sharing.

jpmckown

Nice to see Hockey Guy getting some mentions. 👍🏼

I agree with him that team is short on veteran leadership and I would add we shouldn’t be above putting Landeskog under the microscope. He, to me after this season, is becoming the face of “all talk and not much backing it up” that is plaguing the team. Too many invisible nights, and even worse are the costly mistakes at critical times. That describes Landeskog as a player, and oddly enough the team too? Maybe that’s not a coincidence.

Richard Trujillo

Let Landeskog walk and bring in Doug Hamilton. Resign Paul Stastny. Done.

Spencer Bradshaw

No thanks. Dougie’s skill starts at the offensive blueline. The guy is a massive liability in his own zone, and there’s a reason he doesn’t spend much time killing penalties. He’s another Tyson Barrie. Plus, he’ll have a higher AAV than Landeskog on their next contracts. Avs don’t need yet another offensive defenseman to make the cap situation even worse. Stastny would be fine if he’ll sign for 750-850k like Spezza, which isn’t going to happen.

Richard Trujillo

I don’t know about that. Nationally they compare him to Pietrangelo. +/- he is nowhere near Barrie. He seems to fit exactly what this team needs on the back end.

JUSTIN GIFFIN

Chara is probably available… 😉

James

This can’t/won’t be corrected by talk or slogans…the roster was not properly constructed to achieve the goal of winning the Cup (as opposed to being perfectly constructed to facilitate a several year stretch of sustained regular season success). If Sakic and the headshed aren’t watching the Islanders and Lightning and frantically taking notes (primarily NYI/Trotz and what he did in DC with an oh so similar situation with the Caps, but also the Lightning, with several years of playoff failures and an offensive-oriented team) that would be proof of where the changes need to begin. The roster is 80-85% perfect… Read more »

ghost

Cole was let go because AVS wanted Byram to play, too bad he got concussion and it was too late to put him back in the lineup. I do agree, AVS backend needs to be bigger and AVS can use $5mil by getting rid of Girard and get someone bigger. We have enough puck moving defenseman currently and in the pipeline, he is too small and can’t defend the front of the net for a 2nd pair defenseman. Grubauer didn’t make the big saves like Fluery but goalies are hard to find. However, unlike most AVS fan it was a… Read more »

dp10

3 comments… 1) this matchup would have typically been a conference final or even a cup final. The two arguably best teams just happened to be in the same division. 2) It would be foolish to think this series came down to a handful of bad turnovers. The Avs played 3 really piss poor games in a row, stole one of those games thanks to Grubi, but were never able to recover their defensive focus. We allowed 17 goals in games 3 through 6. You just can’t sugarcoat that! The issues of a lack of mental and physical toughness are… Read more »

Doug

Great article AD, you’re absolutely right- can’t give up now. For those that missed it, Boomer on Sirius XM had some great comments for Avs fans to think about. He was extremely complimentary of the team and the organization but notes that Bill Belicheck has said that when putting a roster together he tries to build a team as opposed to acquiring talent. In a gentle and respectful way, Boomer posed the question as to whether the Avs have primarily built a team or acquired talent. I think it’s a great question. I think they’ve tried to fill in the… Read more »

Premium Jlong

As a former NHL officiating prospect I feel I have a strong foothold for my following comment. After seeing the BS that the NHL is calling officiating it is disturbing to see which teams have “advanced” in this year’s playoffs. WPG got away with absolute murder against EDM, so EDM wasn’t able to get anything going. McDavid, the greatest player in the game today, didn’t draw any penalties?????? Really???? MTL announces that they will have “fans in the stands” and all of a sudden they start winning against Toronto. What an abomination!!! Then WPG gets the proverbial shaft against MTL.… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Premium Jlong
dp10

It is noteworthy that the 3 nominees for MVP, easily 3 of the most dominant players during the regular season, had very limited impact during the playoffs even though they were all represented on teams that should have reasonable odds of succeeding. This aspect to me underlines what you are saying and really what everyone else is saying. The refs call this game differently in the playoffs which is why the teams with size and physicality on their roster over-perform relative to the regular season.

ghost

Mackinnon played pretty well outside of games 3-4 against Vegas.

JR_Foto

We can scrutinize our small, lightweight, soft defensemen and conclude that they’re the reason we lost the series. But the series was lost long before our DMen had a chance to show their weaknesses in games 4, 5 & 6. The series was lost during the 45 second stretch of the third period of the third game when Grubauer lost ALL his composure and concentration and gave up two of the softest goals of his career. Grubauer couldn’t shut the door on the Knights when they were bleeding and hanging on the ropes. Our most obvious and glaring need is… Read more »

ricoflashback

If Sakic doesn’t toughen up this team and by that, I mean dump Girard and get a more physical roster – – there is no chance this team will compete for a Stanley Cup. We’ll find out in a couple of months. If he stays with Girard and the same game plan – – I’ll be less emotionally invested as I know the outcome already. It will always be a fun team to watch in the regular season but an absolute “one and out” dud in the playoffs unless these changes are made.

Charlie

Grubauerer could take some blame for game 6 for sure. He did NOT play well when it counted most. Games 5 and 6 were winnable. He let the team down BAD on that first goal in Game 6. That was the real kick in the balls, IMO

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