Colorado Avalanche: When Your Team is Eliminated


“When you’re wearing this uniform and this logo, you go out there with pride.” ~Patrick Roy

The time we have all been dreading has finally happened. The Colorado Avalanche have been mathematically eliminated from the NHL playoffs.

We knew it was coming. When the Colorado Avalanche lost to the Edmonton Oilers at home, we knew it was coming. We knew it when the Avs lost to the Oilers last week. Hells, we were pretty sure it was going to happen when the Avs suffered that four-game losing streak in February.

Some Avalanche fans predicted it from the first month, when they went 3-6-2.

Difficulty for Players

Never mind when, Avs Nation, we became so aware that Colorado Avalanche hockey was ending April 11. We’ve got a few more games yet.

As tough as it is on us, it’s very difficult for the players to find meaning in games when they know they’re not playing for the playoffs anymore.

These men were once little boys who dreamed of raising the Stanley Cup above their heads. When 6 am ice times came around, they remembered that dream. When they had to practice rather than play, they held onto that image. When their bodies ached, and they didn’t feel like even lacing up the skates, they held onto that picture of the Stanley Cup.

To give you an idea of its importance in their imaginings, Avalanche center Matt Duchene was asked after winning a gold medal how that fit into his career plans. He stated:

"“Stanley Cup first, gold medal second.”"

Players from other teams, such as Daniel Sedin and Phil Kessel, have remarked that playing hockey games after being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs is “meaningless.”

The Avalanche, from Patrick Roy to the players, do not seem to feel the same way. Coach Roy states that he won’t allow the team to tank is because “I have way too much respect for our fans.” He added:

"“When you’re wearing this uniform and this logo, you go out there with pride, and you want to really work hard every time you wear it.”"

Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog remarked awhile ago that the team was going to go “balls out all the way” until the end of the season. He later tempered that remark, stating that the team would play for each other, the logo and the fans.

Duchene made similar comments:

"“We’re professionals, and we get paid very well to do what we do. We’ve got to come and be professional every night. We’ve got to put a good product on the ice for the fans. They come, and they pay their money, and we’ve got to be loyal to them and play for them.”"

Difficulty for Fans

Being a sports fan is a funny proposition. We put so much of ourselves into a situation we cannot control.

We could not control the Avalanche’s slow start.

We could but watch helplessly as the players seemed to play only 15 to 20 minutes of 60-minute games.

We were at a loss to explain why talented young forwards could have such dismal seasons.

For a lot of us, myself included, we watched in misery as our favorite players succumbed to injury.

What we can control now, Avs Nation, is our support for our team. We are disappointed in this season’s outcome. The players are disappointed, too. If that means nothing to you, that’s OK. Just think about this, though — there’s only a few more games of Colorado Avalanche hockey before almost five months of nothing Avs related. There will be plenty of time to rant and rave, to shoulda-woulda-coulda the 2014-15 season that we all had such high hopes for.

For now, let’s just appreciate whatever it is about Avalanche hockey that has sustained us through the years.

Next: Giving Thanks for Our Avs

More from Mile High Sticking