The Colorado Avalanche are approaching a stretch of games that I tabbed to be the most critical part of the season for them once the schedule was released. The team will play 10 games, starting tonight, in the next 16 days. There will be four different back to back sets. Before the season started, I thought that this would be the stretch that would make or break the Avs’ season, and their playoff chances. The question is, am I still right?
Well, yes and no.
The Avs sit eight points out of a playoff spot right now, with 17 games to go in the season. 56 points is considered the magic number for the playoffs this season, and the Avs sit at 26. That means a record of 15-2 would, theoretically, get them into the playoffs. Not exactly an easy task for any team, but an almost insurmountable one for a team that has been unable to put together more than two wins at a time this season. In theory this team is good enough to score enough goals to win this many games. In theory, this team is capable of putting together a last ditch run. In theory, that run will be enough to make the playoffs.
That’s a lot of theory right there, a lot left up to speculation. If I was a betting girl, I wouldn’t bet on those odds. So what does this stretch represent, if it likely won’t lead to a playoff birth?
It represents pride, and a draft pick. I know there are fans who figure that the season is down the toilet, that the team might as well fail in order to have a better shot to draft Seth Jones, the highly touted defensive prospect, and a kid who grew up here in Colorado, watching the Avs. I’m not one of them. Maybe it’s because I know that I’m going to be watching the next 17 games whether the team wins or loses (and keep in mind, I’m not allowed to drink legally, so I can’t even turn a bad game into a drinking game). Or maybe it’s because I remember last year, when Columbus fans tweeted #FailforNail for the final month of the season, only to find themselves with the second overall draft pick. There’s no way for the Avs to guarantee themselves the number one pick, unless they make a trade for it with the team that wins the lottery, after the lottery.
I for one, want the team to win because I’d like to be proud (ish) after the season. If the team can have a winning record in these next 10 games, they can at least make things a little more interesting in the final seven. Maybe the season can end on a semi-high note, maybe the team can actually, you know, spoil the playoffs for someone else.
Or maybe, Avs fans are going to have to wait another year, and hear those false utterances of “playoffs or bust” next September. What do you guys think?