The Burgundy Letter
Category: Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche were behind one of the few bigger trades of the deadline, as they sent Winnik, Galiardi and a 7th round pick to San Jose Sharks. In return they got Jamie McGinn, Mike Connolly and Michael Sgarbossa.
To be honest, I don’t know much about the players the Avalanche got in return. I know who we sent away, though. And I know some about McGinn, but it will be very interesting to see him in action in a couple of days.
Join me after the break as we take a look at who won the trade, and what this signals for the Avalanche organization.
Worst scenario would be going 0-3, and it’s not out of the question as the Avs have had a hard time getting points against division rivals this season.
Well, the Avs did exactly what I was afraid of and went 0-3 on the road to negate their previous three-game winning streak. As the team prepares to face the San Jose Sharks in a couple of days, and with much speculation about the job security of Joe Sacco, I’ve decided to run a series of posts about what’s wrong with the Colorado Avalanche right now (hence the roman numerical at the end of the title). I’ve never been very interested in penning negative posts, so I’ll try to intersperse this series of articles with some positive ones as well. But let’s get straight into “Something’s rotten” with a discussion that involves the name and banner for this blog…
The Colorado Avalanche faced off against the
Detroit Red Wings for the third time this season after being outscored 8-2 in the first two games. And lo and behold - this time the team got the result I was hoping for during Peter Forsberg’s jersey retirement night. After an uninspired first period, the Avs came out hard in the second period and outworked a Red Wings team that seemed a bit sloppy at times. Instead of making a backup netminder look like the new Dominik Hasek, the Avs made Ty Conklin look like what he really is - a stable backup who was hung out to dry by his teammates.
And since Paul asked a couple of days ago who was the MVP on every team, it couldn’t be more fitting that this win was orchestrated by the Colorado Avalanche’s MVP for the first quarter - Ryan O’Reilly.
“Last Olympics, Ireland won a gold medal. Not even a number. A letter of the alphabet amount.”
—Tommy Tiernan, Irish Comedian
This joke hits a bit too close to home right now, as the Avs under Joe Sacco have only managed back-to-back regulation wins once in the last 74 games. He has also led the team to new records in losing and winless streaks. Unlike Paul Maurice and Bruce Boudreau, Joe Sacco still has a job. I’m not a big fan of firing coaches myself, and with the Avs’ track record of hiring coaches I have my doubts as to how a change would impact the team - but Joe Sacco needs to go.
The Colorado Avalanche lost 6-7 in OT against the Dallas Stars in what Steve Martin would’ve referred to as a wild and crazy game. I still believe that the Avs have reason to feel cautiously optimistic after their loss, even though the team saw several defensive breakdowns and didn’t get the usual quality of goaltending from Semyon Varlamov. The reason for the optimism can be spelled D-u-c-h-e-n-e, who has been off to a slow start this season and has received some justified criticism because of it. I’ve written a post about it myself after watching the Avs against Montreal, and seeing him try to deke when he should’ve passed, trying stupid passes up the middle that could’ve been easily interecepted, and being nearly invisible offensively. He’s had a rough time of it, and Joe Sacco responded by playing him on the fourth line against Chicago.
After he scored the game-winning goal against Los Angeles Kings, I wrote a blog post where I expressed my hope that he’d finally turned his game around and would start being the PPG player he needs to be for the Avs. He and the team responded with an atrocious performance against the Coyotes (or, as they’re also known - “a team to be named later”). So, against the Dallas Stars, Matt Duchene was moved to the left wing.
The Colorado Avalanche won against the LA Kings, 3-2, after criticized Matt Duchene scored the game-winner early in the third period. It was the first win on home ice of the season, which would’ve been a horrible start to the season if it wasn’t for the Avs dominance in road games. There was an almost audible breath of relief from the fans at Pepsi Center as the game ended. I know, because it was one of the few sounds I actually heard from the audience. In a 3-2 win against a strong opponent like the Kings, the stadium was so quiet you’d think the announcer had just said that the rest of this season’s games would be presented by Amway.
With a 4-1 start to the season and four straight wins on the road, the Avs are looking like a potential playoff team right now. Semyon Varlamov is providing the defence with a newfound sense of security, and even though the team let in five goals against the Canadiens on saturday, none of them could really be blamed on Varly. The Canadiens game was a good test for the team after having beaten the Senators 7-1. Montreal was a constant threat during the game. I thought they had great speed, a good transition game, and put in a strong effort around the crease. In a wild contest, both teams showed that there was no quit in them, as they both came back from deficits. The first line with Kobasew, Stastny and Jones had a big game.
As the team prepares to face the Toronto Maple Leafs today, I’d like to see Matt Duchene step up his game a notch.
The Colorado Avalanche got a 1-0 win today against the Boston Bruins, with Semyon Varlamov holding on for the shutout. He has looked great in his first two games with his new team - none of the goals against Detroit could be blamed on him, and he was perfect against the Bruins with several quality saves.
The Avs defence, which now contains some of the largest bodies in the NHL, played a great game which was pretty much night and day compared to last year’s at times abysmal defence. I’m not a size queen in any way, but it’s good to see a big squad back there, helping Varlamov out. Several times last year I felt that the Avs were sorely out-muscled, so the team seems to be much harder to create goals against than they were last year.
I’m also happy with the play of centers Paul Stastny and Matt Duchene.
The pre-season has ended, and I’m very much looking forward to Avalanche - Red Wings this saturday. Not only because of Peter Forsberg’s jersey retirement ceremony before the game, but also because my daughter will be baptized at the same time. Oh, and my fiancée will celebrate her 30th birthday at the same time. So there will be a lot of reasons to rejoice, which leads me to suspect that I will have to watch the game on sunday on Gamecenter.
During the game, the Avs will not only honour Peter Forsberg. They will also honour the three former Avs players that passed away during the summer - Wade Belak, Karlis Skrastins and Ruslan Salei. As saddened as I am by the losses of the three players, I think the Avs would have made a better choice in honouring them on any other night. Or by moving Forsberg’s retirement ceremony.
The move from Atlanta to Winnipeg has had me thinking over the last couple of months - how tied down am I to the Avalanche? And what would happen with my allegiances in the unlikely event of the Avs getting moved from Denver to become, say, the Las Vegas Indians (we rob you twice - only once on the ice)? In the best of all worlds, I’d still feel the ties to my former Avs and become a fan of the new team, wherever they would end up. But when the Thrashers left Atlanta, many fans considered changing or even changed their favourite team to another one. So which teams would be in a good spot to become my new number one, if I ever changed?
Join me after the break for a tongue-in-cheek discussion/roast of which teams I would have to consider if the Avs were ever relocated, and some fantasy hockey. I could really use your help.
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