Eight Ways To Fix The Colorado Avalanche


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As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, the Colorado Avalanche


a very good hockey team right now. Obviously it’s still early in the season and things could turn around within a week or two, but no one watching this team can tell me with a straight face that they are playing good hockey.

While it’s easy to point fingers and criticize, it’s tougher to find solutions. That’s the job of Patrick Roy and the players, but in the interest of being fair, I’ll offer up my solutions as well.

1. Play Zach Redmond

The power play might be the biggest thing holding the Avs back right now. Alex Tanguay, an excellent passer, is being utilized on the point and just doesn’t look comfortable. Tanguay is much better along the half boards where he has room to assess the situation and set things up.

Redmond is an offensive specialist who possesses a big shot from the point. The Avs need to do something to turn the power play around and Redmond might be the answer right now.

Obviously if Redmond is to play, someone has to sit. I nominate Nate Guenin, who is the clear sixth defenseman, contributes nothing offensively, and can be a liability more often than not on defense. Guenin has down well on the penalty kill, but the Avs are in desperate need of an offensive boost right now.

2. Figure Out The Line Combinations

Patrick Roy has juggled his line combinations all season with little success. When it looked like certain combinations were working, Roy decided to mix things up in order to help out a struggling player. That can’t happen anymore. The current line combination of Ryan O’Reilly, Nathan MacKinnon, and Gabriel Landeskog just isn’t working. All three are talented players but they aren’t scoring.

My solution is to re-unite Matt Duchene with O’Reilly and put Landeskog on the other side, while MacKinnon centers Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay. Iginla needs some sort of spark right now, and being back with Tanguay might be the solution. Jamie McGinn has played well with Duchene and Iginla, but he’ll fit in just fine on a third line with Daniel Briere and Jamie McGinn. That’s a hard working third line with a scoring touch, which compliments the top skilled scoring lines.

3. Stop Trying To Do Too Much

I’m specifically looking at Tyson Barrie and Erik Johnson right here. Barrie and Johnson are very good offensive talents, but with the defense and team struggling to contribute and score goals, Barrie and Johnson are trying to do too much on the offensive end. They went to go end to end and score the prettiest goal of the season and it’s leading to a lot of turnovers in the neutral zone. Those two need to just make the simple plays and let the game come to them because right now, even though they think they are helping by trying to put them team on their back, they are actually costing the team.

MacKinnon is also slightly guilty of this as well. With no goals through six games, MacKinnon is pressing for that first one and that’s part of the reason why his line with O’Reilly and Landeskog just isn’t clicking right now.

4. Healthy Goalies

Calvin Pickard has played well in his two appearances, but he’s still a 22-year old rookie. Last year’s team succeed because Semyon Varlamov was one of the best goalies in the league and the team in front of him had confidence and belief that they were playing in front of the best goalie in the league. No offense to Pickard, but he doesn’t instill that same confidence. Given how he’s played, he probably should install that confidence in the team, but when guys aren’t scoring and they don’t 100% trust the guy in net, things go bad.

The Avs trust Varlamov and learned to trust Reto Berra in the preseason. Whether it’s fair or not, I don’t believe they quite have that same trust in Pickard because he just hasn’t proven his worth like the other two. However, if Pickard continues to play well, it’d be tough not to trust him whenever he’s in net. Hopefully the Avs reach that point and play looser with their third string goalie donning the pads.

5. Quit Being Too Fine

I can’t count how many times Avs players have missed the net or had their shot blocked when a scoring chance presents itself. Whether it be a breakaway or a two on one or a desperation point shot, the team needs to quit trying to be too fine. Trust your shot and just get it on goal. Wayne Gretzky once said, “you miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.” Jeremy Lambert is now saying, “you miss 100% of the shots that don’t end up on net.” When an odd man rush presents itself, pick your spot but make sure you get it on goal.

6. Discipline 

Not only do the Avs need to do a better job staying out of the penalty box, they need to do a better job of being discipline in their own end. Way too many times this season have I seen an offensive player failing to pick up his guy leading to a wide open chance or a defensive player getting caught out of position leading to an odd man rush.

When things aren’t going well offensively, everyone wants to correct it and ignore the defensive aspects of the game in order to score a goal. Well if you’re still not scoring and you’re part of the reason as to why the other team scores, then you’re not helping anyone in that scenario.

7. Sign Martin Brodeur

The Avs can’t score right now. I don’t know how practices are going, but I’m going to guess that Pickard is looking pretty spectacular. The Avs need to sign Brodeur to remember how it feels to score on a goalie. Not only a goalie, but one of the greatest goalies of all-time. I’d suggest Roy get in net during practice, but I’m not sure the Avs in their current state could score on him either.

Brodeur though? Everyone scores on that guy nowadays.

8. Beat The Florida Panthers

The Avs might not be good right now, but neither are the Panthers. Beat the Panthers at home tomorrow, get a little momentum going, and close out October strong as four of the final five games are at the Pepsi Center.