For the past few years, The Avs have struggled both on and off the ice. The team is often plagued by the injury bug and unable to compete within the very tough west. Often times they are left out of the playoffs and picking high in the draft.
For a team that won 9 division titles in a row (Starting way back in the Quebec days) and 2 Stanley Cups, They have only made the playoffs 3 times since the 04/05 lockout.
The only link left on the ice to the last Cup is Milan Hejduk, still a very good player, has seen his prime come and go.
Taking the place of legends such as Sakic, Roy and Forsberg are now kids such as Duchene, Varlamov and Landeskog. I’ve been a diehard Avalanche fan for many years.
I’m very excited to bring my views and opinions of the team from someone who is not an “industry insider” but a simple fan.
My articles will be a look at the past, thoughts on today, and hopes for the future, with some other fun crap along the way.
Week in Review/ Random Thoughts
Boy has it been an up and down start for the AVS. In the first 9 games of the short season, they have gone 4-5-0-0. While not an overly bad start, and certainly no reason to push the panic button just yet, things need to turn around quick. For a couple of games in week 2, the AVS couldn’t seem to find the back of the net.
In 3 games against the Sharks, Oilers and Canucks, they scored 1 goal. They allowed 11.
They have since found the scoring touch having better outings against the flames, getting revenge against the Oilers and hanging tough in a game against the stars. Since that stretch they went 2-1 and outscored the other side 11-7. Injuries have been a big reason for that. The AVS injury list includes:
- Gabriel Landeskog: Head/Neck (I smell concussion), Injured Reserve
- Steve Downie: Leg, Injured Reserve and not expected back this season
- David Jones: Knee, Day to Day
- Ryan Wilson: Leg, Injured Reserve
- Erik Johnson: Foot, Day to Day
That’s a forward line and a defense line….YIKES! That doesn’t explain the sudden lack of scoring and then sudden outburst, perhaps the lines were simply struggling to find chemistry. The defense has been shaky so far this season. Not a single defenseman has scored a goal.
That is a big issue that needs to be addressed, be it by trade or bringing up some of the kids from the farm and giving them a shot. At this point, neither would hurt.
Varlamov and Giggy have both played some great games and their G.A.A and save percentage are on par with the norm. Varlamov went through the same ups and downs last year only to turn it around after the All-Star break and have a great finish to his season. Having a veteran like Giggy on back of Varly will only do him a world of good.
And what about coach Joe Sacco? Sacco is a fine coach and previous to this season has a record of 114-109-23 with one playoff berth in 3 years. No one can fault him for every problem the AVS may have with lack of scoring or shaky D, but perhaps it is time for a change behind the bench ( Come on Sakic, try your hand at coaching!).
Look at the St. Louis Blues and LA Kings last year. Struggled in the early part of the season and replaced their coaches for someone to hold the reigns a little tighter. That move seems to have paid off pretty well considering one went on to be one of the top teams in the NHL and the other won the Cup.
Maybe it is time to push the panic button, and sadly the first replacements should be behind the bench.
3 Stars of the Week (Players of The Week)
1St Star- PA Parenteau- Parenteau has amassed 9 points (7 goals, 2 assists) so far this season and is tied with Duchene for the team lead. He has done exactly what he was brought in to do, score goals and compliment the other AVS forwards.
2nd Star- Matt Duchene- Tied with PA for club lead in points. It’s great to see him having a bounce back season. Dominant performance against the Blue Jackets show just how great he can be.
3rd Star- Paul Stastny- On Feburary 1st against the Flames, fans were using Stastny as somewhat of a scapegoat for the team. Stastny replied in a big way by adding 2 goals in the 3rd.
Game Misconduct (Fail of the Week)
Ryan O’Reilly- This isn’t because of the player or anyone on the ice. This is because of the fact this very talented young player is still without a contract. O’Reilly recently returned from the KHL with a foot injury
Before the Lockout ( A look back at important AVS dates)
2001 NHL All Star Break (February 3-4th, 2001)-
The Pepsi Center was home to the annual NHL All Star weekend. The game was played with between a North American team and a World team. 5 AVS were selected to play in the starting lines ups.
Sakic, Bourque and Roy for the North Americans while Hejduk and Forsberg laced them up for the World team.
Bill Guerin was named the MVP leading the North American team to a 14-12 victory, which was also highlighted by a returning Mario Lemieux playing in his 9th All Star game after a 3 ½ year retirement.
Mile High Milestone of the week
Milan Hejduk- 1000 Games! Enough said.
Around the Farm ( A look at who is floating around the AVS system)
Mike Sgarbossa (C) (Lake Erie Monsters) – Acquired from the sharks at last year’s trade deadline, It sure seems the AVS made out the better team with that trade. Sgarbossa was signed by the sharks in 2010, went on to be included on the OHL 1st All Star team for 2011/2012 while putting up 102 points in 62 games. So far in 38 games with the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL ( Go ICECAPS by the way) he has 36 points ( 16 g, 20 a) with 41 PIM and is -3.
Please Note: Due to the nature of the timing of this article’s posting, it may contain some small statistical errors regarding points and games played. Next week’s article shall serve to improve upon this as I will be able to get the proper stats and proper time frame down. Keep with me folks, it’s a work in progress.