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“This is not how you play hockey” – Rantanen rips into team after 4-2 Avalanche loss



Paul Vernon/AP

That was one of the worst losses I’ve seen in a long time by the Avalanche. Or, maybe not all that long.

Looking like the squad that coughed up late leads in the second round of the playoffs last spring, the Avs found a way to lose a game Saturday night to the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-2.

The Avs led 2-1 with just under seven minutes left, playing a good, solid hockey game to that point. But all of a sudden, they just got loosey-goosey with the puck, Darcy Kuemper couldn’t make a save on a chip shot from the right circle, and when the clock hit all zeroes, the Avs left the ice losers.

They go into something of a “bye week” now with a highly unsatisfactory 4-5-1 record, not even a playoff team if the season ended tonight. This, for the team that is supposed to still be the favorites, or whatever, to win the next Stanley Cup.

Mikko Rantanen, for one, was furious about the loss.

“It shouldn’t ever happen. Sometimes, it seems like we’re kind of effortless. I don’t know, maybe it’s just mental. I don’t think it’s physical,” Rantanen said. “That’s two games in a row we lose after having a lead in the third period. This is not how you play hockey. Time to look in the mirror here.

“We just have to look in the mirror and, defensively, not give up so much. It’s just effort.”

Although he wasn’t much helped by a slow defense back, Kuemper allowed a terrible goal, by Alexandre Texier, with 6:33 left. Texier got to a loose puck in the right circle, after a strange bounce off the boards, and put a shot to the far post on Kuemper. Then, Kuemper was beat on a somewhat screened shot with 1:02 left. Empty-netter after that.

Hockey game.

Just a terrible loss, really, and one that sends the Avs reeling into the break.

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“Tonight, for me, it was all turnovers. We mismanaged the puck. Their forecheck was really good, but I’d say 80 percent of their scoring chances were off turnovers,” a peeved Jared Bednar said.

To that point in the game, Kuemper had been very good. But suddenly, he couldn’t stop anything. And, the play in front of him was brutal. Turnovers, soft on pucks, soft on sticks. Just, losing hockey when it mattered most.

“I thought he was outstanding for large portions of the game. Last two, couple of tough plays,” Bednar said. “It comes down to the guy with the puck making the right decision, not trying to do everything yourself. Be more firm with the puck, to be honest with you.”

The Avs also lost the game because they got zero points from the top line of Rantanen, Landeskog and MacKinnon. When it comes to the “not trying to do everything yourself” observation of Bednar, he was probably thinking of MacKinnon a lot there.

MacKinnon has been caught trying to dangle too much, trying to stickhandle through two guys too much. The elite centerman has only one goal on the season.

There’s a long way to go, but after 10 games, the Colorado Avalanche is a losing hockey club.

That’s the bottom line.


  • MacKinnon had two shots on net, and lost 6-of-7 faceoffs. He had a shot blocked by Boone Jenner late that would have otherwise given the Avs a 3-1 lead I think.
  • I thought Devon Toews looked excellent in his first game back.
  • J.T. Compher – no points, minus-2, 3-of-12 on faceoffs. A bad game.
  • Tyson Jost, two points in first 10 games. Not good enough.
  • Andre Burakovsky’s second goal, off the backhand, was a beauty.
  • Avs don’t play again until Thursday against Vancouver at home.
  • Kuemper just has to make that save that tied it 2-2. He really did play well otherwise before that. It ruined the entire night, though.

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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Brandon Eccles

Yuk, this team just doesn’t appear to be very good. That bums me out, because I had high hopes but they are just finding ways to lose.


Two in row to these bottom feeders? Disgusting.

Karl Keen

We are simply a team made up of softies

Aaron Hinton

Bednar is the problem, he needs to be relieved of his position or this team will not even make the playoffs.


Players appear to be going through the motions. There is zero fight. Unfortunately when teams lose their identify and willingness to fight the first to go is the head coach. I honestly believe Bednar is in serious trouble. Curious to see if Sakic will pull the plug? This team is in serious trouble.


Tonight’s game showed that even the best players are human. In my opinion MacKinnon was actually a detriment to the team tonight. No doubt the game was really frustrating for everyone.

Svein Lister

I agree. I don’t think I have ever seen MacKinnon as bad as he was in this game. Hung on to the puck for too long and when he finally let it go, he turned it over or put his linemates in a bad spot.


Indeed. He needs to set aside his ego and realize he’s on an actual team with capable hockey players.


Totally pathetic effort. They deserved to lose and better wake up. They are too easy to play against now, sloppy and soft on the puck. I am disgusted. At least it is early in the season.

Yan Girard

The sample is big enough with 10 games played in season and the 4 last playoff games. The team seems to have lost his confidence. The players think too much on the ice. In the sport of hockey, you cann’t think too. The fraction of seconds is very important to control the game. The Avs has lost this fraction of seconds. I begin to think seriously that Bednar is not anymore the man of the situation. Bednar seems to be without answer since the last playoffs. Effectively, the alignment is a little different as last year but the core and… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by Alexander A
Grzegorz Kociuba

Mike Babcock? Are you kidding me? Do you know why he was fired from Leafs? Do you know how much players hated him? We don’t need such guy here. As of Quenneville – he shouldn’t coach anymore, anywhere.
I’d love to see Julien or Torts in Denver.

Yan Girard

Mike Babcock is an intelligent man. I am sure that he learned from its mistakes. In more, who has never sinned throws the first stone at him. Babcock is a solid coach. He won Stanley Cup, he achieves the final 3 times and won the olympic gold medal with team Canada 2 times. His reputation is firmly established. He is a coach that adapts according to the NHL evolution. He is passionate about the game.   Bob Hartley is a winning coach. He won somewhere (President Cup à LHJMQ, Stanley Cup, Gargarin Cup, Calder Cup, champion with ZSC Lions in… Read more »

Yan Girard

I forgot… Claude Julien isn’t able to deal with young players and develop them.


This is a team that has crumbled under the weight of expectations. But there’s a worse problem. They do not play hockey the right way. There has never been a commitment to defense and they cannot play a clean game. Sloppy turnovers. Mental lapses. Horrible neutral zone hockey where opponents glide through, unopposed. Barring a major trade and coaching change, this team will struggle to make the playoffs. They’re pretenders, not contenders.

Yan Girard

Looking the team to play in this moment and especially the best players, I don’t believe that a trade could be to change the current situation. It’s a deeper problem in my opinion. Effectively, it’s maybe a team that has crumbled under the weight of expectations.


AD, I don’t feel like Kuemper deserved as much flame as you gave him above. The way I see it, CBJ should have routed us by 5 or 6 goals. Kuemper is what kept this game even this close.

Blaming tendy here is like when people blame place kickers for missing that FG to win by 1 point…when you know it was the shitty play of the team that got them in that situation.


And defensemen get paid to reduce scoring chances and shot attempts. Forwards get paid to score goals. Failures in team sports are very rarely attributed to one person’s performance, as are their successes.

Yan Girard

You will say that at ricoflashback 🙂 .


None of the last two goals he allowed were on him

Yan Girard

I agree with A.D. A goalie must play 60 minutes in regular time. The job is not done until sound of the buzzer.

Nick Chapman

This is the third or fourth time I’ve counted this season that AD has something negative to say about Kuemper, when Kemp was the sole reason the game was even close. He’s had a shaky overall start to the season, but he’s also looked phenomenal in several games, and in long stretches. The guy made about seven different highlight saves but we pick the one weird bounce?? That game is a blowout win for CBJ if not for Kuemper. The Avs don’t play a structured defensive game. Haven’t for years. They play run and gun offense, with the hope that… Read more »

Yan Girard

Kuemper has a start to the season rather ordinary. The structure defensive was perferct the last year. 3th best defensive of NHL and the best team in the shots against. This year, the number of shots against is very high comparatively at last year. The identity of a team doesn’t change by trading players complements. The core is Mackinnon, Rantanen, Landeskog and Makar. These are the players that must make a difference. If these players don’t perform, there is no more team. These players make big money. the expectations are as a result. I don’t believe that the Avs must… Read more »


The system of Bednar isn’t perfect based on the results of the last two years. Not getting past the second round of the playoffs isn’t perfect to me. Far from it – the identity of the Avs is a soft team that isn’t physical. A finesse team that can’t handle pressure and a heavy forecheck. A team that isn’t committed to defense. A team going nowhere.

Yan Girard

It’s not fair to say that the Avs didn’t well perform in the 2 last seasons, especially after to have won the President trophy. This isn’t important the performance in season? You will say that at Makar and his agent after to have signed 6 years/9M. As I already mentioned, anything can happens in playoffs with the intangibles.


We have different standards and what defines success. Unfortunately in sports, there is no prize for performing in the regular season. Entertainment value? Sure. But in the end, all teams are measured by Championships – World Titles, or the lack of them.

Yan Girard

32 teams in NHL and a single team wins Stanley Cup. It means that there are 31 teams that doesn’t win the Stanley Cup. That’s a lot of bad teams, you don’t think…


It’s not that they’re bad teams, Yan. It’s just that a team isn’t viewed as great until they win a Championship. Football coach and broadcaster John Madden said it best – “Unless you win the Super Bowl, you’re back there with all the other teams.” That’s the way it is in all the major sports. You truly haven’t had a great season until you win it all. Rightly or wrongly – that’s the measuring stick. Great teams are remembered for winning world titles – in basketball, baseball, football and hockey.


Excellently stated. I don’t fault Kuemper for that weird goal off the boards. That was an incredible redirect at a very fast speed. Of course, no Av was back on defense. That’s par for the course. Kuemper stood on his head for long stretches against Columbus who thoroughly outworked the Avalanche. There is no commitment to defense on this team. It looks like pickup hockey, at times, as they free wheel down the ice and launch shot after shot that gets blocked or is not on net. When it’s close out time, when you have a lead going into the… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by ricoflashback
Bob Neal

How long does this have to be stated before management changes their tune? This is so obvious and you’ve been saying it since I started reading your comments this past summer. I would take the coaching changes Yan mentioned and flip them. No Babcock (he is way too arrogant) or Quenneville (I don’t think Bettman would allow it), but I could see bringing Bob out of Siberia or wherever he’s at. The coaches Yan rejected are at least committed to playing with a defensive mindset. Anything but watching this much talent being totally wasted.



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