The Avalanche are headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2014 and I just realized I don’t know them very well.
When the Avs stormed into town in 1996, winning a Cup in their first year in Denver, I was all-in. I was among the crowd downtown at the celebration for both the ’96 and ’01 Stanley Cup parades. I have a Forsberg all-star Jersey from the Denver NHL all-star game. I have a Sakic third jersey (the one with Colorado printed diagonally). My first bit of Avalanche gear was a Kamensky road white.
I’ve played hockey for years, part of that weird and wonderful goalie sub-genre. Those Avalanche teams were part of my heydey of hockey love.
Then, I got married, moved, got old and stopped playing. Coincidentally, after the 2004-05 lockout season, the Avalanche got bad. Forsberg and Foote immediately left via free-agency, the days of signing all the top free-agents (Kariya, Selanne) or making trades for final pieces of Cup teams (Bourque, Blake) were gone.
With them went my attention.
I’m still aware, I still always know who’s on the team and basically how they are doing. I have not been immersed in day-to-day news of the team in some time, though.
I heard Patrick Roy stepped down as coach unexpectedly in August of 2016 and was replaced by Jared Bednar.
I think the #1 Goalie is Semyon Varlamov. Know they’ve done well with high draft choices in Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon. I know thy missed on one with Matt Duchene. Know they paid a pretty high price for Erik Johnson in Chris Stewart. I know that Johnson, when healthy, is worth that price.
I’m aware that last season was historically the worst that any team has had in NHL history.
I believe MacKinnon is or should be a Hart candidate.
I know that in the NHL if a guy gets on a roll, anything can happen.
That’s not much, what I know and it’s dated. So I thought I’d look up things I don’t know and share them in case anyone is similarly willing but out-of-the-loop as an Avalanche fan: