Colorado Avalanche Christmas Wish List


The Avalanche have had an up and mostly down season thus far. Hopefully their behavior has been sufficiently nice, and they will receive some quality loot in their Christmas’ stockings tomorrow morning. Here is my list for the top things the Colorado Avalanche should include on their wish list. Keeping with the 12 days of Christmas theme, I’ll include 11 wishes.

1. Some confidence for Nathan MacKinnon

Nathan MacKinnon isn’t having an awful season, statistically speaking. He has put up 21 points in 34 games, which is nearly identical to his pace from last season.

Most people expected MacKinnon to really elevate his level of play this year though, and it just hasn’t happened. He still looks like a rookie, trying to figure things out. After his explosive playoff series against the Minnesota Wild, and strong finish to the regular season last year, some might even say he has regressed.

MacKinnon hasn’t lost his talent. You still see flashes of it, on a nightly basis. He just needs to get his confidence going. MacKinnon’s troubles are all between the ears, so I’m hoping his stocking is stuffed full of confidence, so he can start the new year off right.

2. Some trick posts for Matt Duchene

Matt Duchene has crowned himself the King of Ping with his frequent knack for hitting the post. The Avalanche, especially at Pepsi Center, should invest in some “trick posts” that always ensure the puck bounces into the net whenever Dutchy shoots it off iron.

The Avalanche have had trouble scoring this season, and Duchene is as snakebitten as anyone on the team. This seems like an easy solution to up the scoring rate. It might be trickier to get the posts in play on the road, but hey, maybe we just need sneakier elves.

3. No more piping

It’s time. The Avalanche had their iconic jagged “mountain” trimmed sweaters re-designed in 2006 following the lockout and switch the Reebok Edge jersey template. I didn’t like the change then, and the uniforms really haven’t grown on me.

I love the logo. Love the color scheme. The current layout of the sweater has to go. I think it’s time for the Avalanche to come up with a fresh new design. Or better yet, just spruce up the look the team had when they moved to Colorado. The original Avalanche jerseys were perfect in so many ways.

As far as the thirds go, the blueberry has actually really grown on me over the years. I’m a big fan of the look, and love the lacing in the collar.

4. Goalie clarity

As of today, the Avalanche have oft-injured Semyon Varlamov returning to the mix. He just posted a shutout in his first game back against the St. Louis Blues. The Avs also have cult-like hero, Calvin Pickard, who has stopped 109 of the last 112 shots he has faced, and is 2nd in the NHL in save percentage.

Let’s not forget about Reto Berra, who the Avs spent a 2nd round pick to acquire, and also signed to a contract putting him in the top-ten of most well payed backups in the league.

Varlamov is the guy in Denver. He has the big contract to back that up. Pickard has shown the potential to be a very nice backup, while Berra is a guy who needs to get his confidence back before he can be trusted in a burgundy sweater again.

The Avs need some clarity to their situation, but also don’t need a controversy. I would send Berra to Lake Erie for now, just to see if he can get some confidence back. I know there is a chance he can get claimed off waivers (Let’s be honest, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world with how well Picks has played), but he isn’t going to solve his issues from the bench.

The Avalanche need every point they can get, so I’d say they ride Varlamov and Pickard, both of which give them a great shot at winning every time they take the ice right now.

5. New goal horn

Maybe I’m overly nostalgic, but what was wrong with the old avalanche warning siren the team used to play when the Avs scored? It was unique, and awesome. The new horn is okay, but there just isn’t anything special about it. The Whip is a fun little song, and a happy way to finish things off.

I’m torn on Rock and Roll, part 2. On the one hand, as a kid growing up, I absolutely loved the “hey song.” To me, that song and Avalanche goals are synonymous. Now that I have grown up, and know Gary Glitter’s personal life issues, it’s a little harder to love that song. I’m fine with it sticking around, because like I said, I’m a nostalgic guy.

Anyways, I’d love for the Avalanche to ditch the cliche foghorn that every team in the league uses, and get creative with a more unique siren style horn like they had back at McNichols Sports Arena. The arena experience has improved drastically in the past couple of years, and this is an opportunity to take things to the next level. Embrace the Avalanche. Get a goal horn that reflects the identity of the team!

6. A defensive partner for Erik Johnson

Let’s get real. For the Avalanche to become a contender, they need a reliable partner to eat up big minutes with Erik Johnson. No offense to any of the guys on the current d-core, but they just can’t be relied upon to play 25 minutes of critical ice time.

When the Avalanche won the Stanley cup in 2001, they already had Ray Bourque and Adam Foote, yet still found the need to go out and acquire Rob Blake. A guy like Marc Staal would be a perfect fit with EJ. Staal is extremely reliable, and solid in his own end. He is also more defensively minded, which will allow Johnson to flourish, and use his skating and offensive talents to benefit the team.

Chris Bigras also has potential to be a top-4 guy in the near future, and maybe Duncan Siemens as well. Both are likely a few years away from being trusted in a top-pairing role though, and they may or may-not reach that potential. Do the Avs wait and see, or aggressively try and bring someone in?

7. Plenty of Wheaties and vegetables for Tanguay and Iginla

Perhaps some vitamins too. The so called old-guys are showing the young-guns a few tricks this season. Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla are 1st and 2nd on the team in scoring, respectively, and I don’t want to see them slow down.

The Avs should include plenty of nutritional foods and supplements on their wish list, in order to keep these veterans going!

8. Their health

If the Avalanche are going to make a run this season, they are going to need to stay healthy. It isn’t a coincidence that this little three game winning streak coincides with the return of Brad Stuart, John Mitchell, and Semyon Varlamov. These are three key guys in the lineup, and they have all had a positive impact in the wins.

9. Ad free jerseys

You hear talk about ads on NHL sweaters creeping up every now and again. I hope to NEVER see an ad on a Colorado Avalanche sweater. Barf. Let’s throw that on the wish list.

10. A clear focus

More from Avalanche News

Let’s get sneaky, and cram two wishes into one! First off, Jesse Winchester, I hope your vision issues are no more after this holiday season. I’m ready for your frustration and struggles to be over, and for you to have a nice clear focus when you step on the Pepsi Center ice. Blurry vision, be gone!

Also, the Avalanche as a team need to have a clear focus every single night on what they need to do to play their game. For me, it starts with the skating. When the Avalanche skate, they tend to be on their game. Put it on the list.

11. A fun rest of the season

No matter what happens, I just want the post-Christmas portion of the Avalanche season to be a fun one. These first 34 games have been frustrating at times, and I don’t think the Avalanche are playing to their potential.

At this point, I know the playoffs are a long-shot. I’m not ready to give up hope entirely, but even if the Avs can’t climb back into the top half of the conference, I wish for the rest of the season to be entertaining.