What is it going to take to make the post-season this year? Well, we’re just about half-way through the long, arduous NHL season and your Avalanche are on pace for a total of around 95 points. Not bad, right? Think 95 points will get them into the playoffs? Let’s take a look…
Currently, Vancouver (why can’t we beat these guys?) is on top of the Western Conference with 53 points in 37 games played. After a few simple mathematical calculations, they are on pace to end the season with a total of about 117 points. Detroit is next in line with a projected finish of around 111 points. Dallas – 103. San Jose – 99. St. Louis – 98. Los Angeles – 97. Nashville – 95. Colorado – 95. (By the way, where did Dallas come from? Talk about ‘flying under the radar’…)
As you can see, finishing with 95 points might be enough to just squeak into the glorious post-season, but then the boys would have to face Vancouver (again, why can’t we beat these guys?) or Detroit. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have to face either of those teams in the first round. So, what is it going to take to secure better playoff positioning for the Avalanche?
It’s pretty simple, actually. Grit, toughness, and a bit of luck.
The Canuckleheads aren’t showing any signs of slowing down (9-0-1 in their last 10) and the Dead Wings and South Stars are playing great hockey as well. Barring any major injury to a Sedin twin, a goalie named Howard or a center named Richards, the Avs will need to scratch, grind and fight their way up the standings.
They need to be tougher in all aspects of the game. They need to stand up at the blue-line and scrap in the corners. Stop trying to score pretty goals and start picking up the junk in front. Someone needs to post-up in front of the net and cause disruptions (ala Mike Ricci – geeze, I miss having a real grinder around here). The slot is where games are won or lost and that’s where they need to be – picking up the trash in the offensive zone and clearing it out in the defensive end.
It’s really a simple formula for success – the problem is, most of the other teams in the playoff hunt have already figured it out…