The Colorado Avalanche need to get fired up about playing for the logo, their coach, their pride and each other if they want to salvage the season.
Yes, I know eight games into the season is a little early to be pressing the panic button. Except we saw last season we didn’t press the button fast enough. As winger Alex Tanguay pointed out during a post-practice presser, last season the team started playing good hockey after Christmas, but it was already too late because of the hole they had dug themselves into.
So, we’re already in a state of panic. That’s fine — we, as the Colorado Avalanche fanbase, can do nothing about what’s going on with the team.
That’s not to say the players need to hit panic mode. We’ve already seen what that does to their play. Rather, they need to find their motivation. They need to find the fire in their belly. They need to look at that culture of losing that has permeated the locker room since the Joe Sacco days and stomp it under their bootheel. Or skate blades, as the case may be.
Colorado Avalanche Team Leaders
The Colorado Avalanche doesn’t lack for leadership. You’ve got your affable, charismatic captain, Gabriel Landeskog. You’ve got you future Hall of Famer alternate captain, Jarome Iginla. You’ve got your journeyman alternate captain, Cody McLeod.
There are other leaders in the locker room as well. The most obvious ones are the veterans of the team even beyond Iginla. Both Francois Beauchemin and Brad Stuart have been tapped as veteran leaders of the blue line. Alex Tanguay is a very vocal player, one who’s not afraid to say the tough truths even to the media.
I’m very impressed with defenseman Erik Johnson‘s leadership as well. I’ve watched him in practices and in warm ups acting as a liaison between the coaches and the players, and during games he chats a lot with the officials.
So, in short, there’s no dearth of leadership in the locker room and on the ice for the Colorado Avalanche.
“People know me. They know how much I love to win. They know even more how much I hate to lose.” ~Patrick Roy
Patrick Roy is one of the most motivational speakers I’ve ever heard. I like to joke that he could be a cult leader, but truthfully, he’s got a definite flair for drama when he speaks.
He spoke today with hosts of 104.3 The Fan. It’s obvious he’s getting frustrated with the negativity in the media, but he was still very honest with the hosts — while keeping a positive air. Indeed, he even let out a few expletives when emphasizing that he’s absolutely not going to trash his players in the media.
Something that’s started creeping into fan conversations is the idea that the players are tuning him out. The hosts asked him that very question. At first he joked, “Not yet.” However, later he elaborated:
"“I’m a little sensitive when you say ‘Is your message going across?’ Yes, my message is going across. Yes I think our players are working hard. Are we playing the type of hockey we want? No. Are we having the start we want? No. Are we disappointed in our start? Yes. But at the same time we’re not giving up. We’re positive. We believe in ourselves, trust what we’re doing, and that’s what we have to do. Am I going to fight? Man, I will fight hard.”"
As he finished that speech, my thought was “Wow, now I want to lace up skates and play hockey for this man.” Funnily enough, one of the hosts made the exact same comment.
If the players are already deaf to his message after everything he’s done for the team both as a player and as a coach, then the problem is with them. I’m not saying they are. Rather, I’m saying they’re extraordinarily fortunate to have such a local sports hero who happens to be a motivating speaker and loyal to his players — they’re very lucky to get to play for that man.
The players need to have that kind of passion if they’re going to salvage the season. They’re going to have to have a fire in their bellies burning so hot it takes their minds off whatever noise is causing them to choke in the third periods. They’re going to have to play through the pain and the fear and fight for team and coach and even Avs Nation.
They can do it. And we can stick with them, right, Avs Nation?
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