And the Avs don’t have it. Let’s take a look at the past five games for the Avalanche – a ‘microcosm’ of the season, if you will.
- Jan. 6 – The offense decides to take the night off in a loss to the Phoenix Dogs, 2-0.
- Jan. 8 – No one shows up and they let the worst team in the league (NYI) beat them 4-3.
- Jan. 10 – They plaster 5 goals on the Dead Wings, yet try to give away the game in the third period (5-4 win).
- Jan.12 – The offense again decides to take the night off and they post a nasty goose egg against the Blackchickens in a 4-0 loss.
- Jan. 14 – A 4-1 win versus the Minnesota Tame, but the game was much closer than the score would indicate.
So, what does this team need to play a more consistent game, night in-night out? Hell, if I could answer that I’d be making a lot more money than I am now. Seriously though, this team is on the verge of being great, being something special – but they’re also on the brink of mediocrity.
Thus far, it’s been a Jekyll and Hyde sort of year. One night (and on many occasions) they will plaster the opposition with 5, 6 or even 7 goals! Yet, within a game or two, the sticks go ice cold. One night (albeit few and far between) a netminder will stand on his head to keep the game close, yet the very next game (or two or three) he allows 3 or 4 softies. One night the power play will be bangin’ and railin’ off goals! Then, the coffers dry up and they post an O-fer. What is going on here??? Well, at least their defense – or shall I say their LACK of defense – has been consistent.
Could it be youth? Maybe. Lack of experience? Possibly. Lack of grit and toughness? More likely. Lack of heart? Probably not. But, whatever it is, Joe Sacco and the boys have got to figure it out, and figure it out soon.
Okay, okay, we’re only about half way through the 82 game season, but hear me out. Things are only going to get tougher. Things are beginning to get out of reach. If you’ll remember, just a couple of weeks ago, the Avs were engaged in a toe-to-toe battle with the Canuckleheads for sole possession of first place in the Northwest division. Now, Vancouver has got a death-grip on the division and is leading the Western conference. Where are the Avs? They are fighting just to stay in the playoff picture, 12 points behind…
I know you all are thinking, “But there’s still 37 games left? Don’t be such a downer!” Well, I’m worried and here’s why. Historically speaking, the All-Star and/or Olympic break has not been very good for the Avs. In the past five seasons of hockey, they have a total combined record of 77-72-17 following the break – basically .500 hockey. If they want to make any noise this year, they have to be better than a .500 team.