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Frei: Joe Sakic knows all about pressure – on the ice and in the Avalanche front office (+)



David Zalubowski/AP

This is starting to look — and sound — familiar.

In 2001, the Avalanche were coming off consecutive and very wrenching Game 7 losses to Dallas – both at Reunion Arena (“Eddie’s Better!”) in the Western Conference Finals.

With a star-studded roster and the ongoing drama that was Ray Bourque’s quest to hoist the Stanley Cup before his retirement, the pressure mounted.

Given that the 2021-22 Avalanche’s gaudy record has kicked the already high expectations up a notch, the pressures are getting into that territory of 21 years ago. Plus, the Avalanche also can’t escape the label. It’s as if “…who have lost in the second round three years in a row” is part of team nickname.

I asked Joe Sakic — the captain of the 2001 Cup champions and vice-president and general manager of the current team — about that at his pre-game news conference Thursday night at Ball Arena.

Is that kind of pressure energizing or a potential distraction?

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