It can never be taken away: Colorado Avalanche, 2022 Stanley Cup champions. They did it. They did it. Wire to wire. Incredible.
It’s hard to describe. I’ve covered two previous winners, and it’s still just the most surreal thing – and I’m not a player.
I’ve never seen Nathan MacKinnon smile like that. I’ve never seen Erik Johnson smile like that. Gabe Landeskog. Mikko Rantanen. Joe Sakic.
Wait, yeah, I’ve seen Sakic smile like that. On Florida ice, 26 years ago actually.
What a team. They were consistently excellent ALL YEAR LONG. They were the favorites or whatever, wire to wire. They had injury issues, and overcame all that. They had other normal adversities and overcame that. They fell behind tonight 1-0, and everybody got real nervous again.
But then the Avs just went to work in the second period, got a 2-1 lead and locked that thing DOWN in the third period. Other than a later Nikita Kucherov slap shot, I don’t recall one good scoring chance for the Lightning in the third.
Hats off to Tampa Bay for two straight Cups and a third Final appearance. But the Stanley Cup belongs to the Colorado Avalanche now. We’ll be seeing pictures all summer long of players posing with it, along with their families and friends.
Every player on the Avs, every front office staff member, gets to have the Cup for a day this summer. For Jared Bednar, a great guy and now proven a truly great coach, it’s a rich reward from that awful first year of 2016-17, that 48-point season.
He’s the first coach in hockey history to win a Kelly Cup, a Calder Cup and a Stanley Cup. What an accomplishment.
No more doubts, no more second-guessing of this team. They don’t have to hear it anymore.
That’s because, the Colorado Avalanche are the Stanley Cup champions.