Colorado Avalanche: Playing Their Style of Hockey


Colorado Avalanche hockey has always been about speed and offense. The team showed how that can win games against the Edmonton Oilers.

I celebrated the win at home against the Minnesota Wild even though it resulted from that same defense-first, boring style the Wild implement. However, games like the one against the Edmonton Oilers make me happy I’m a Colorado Avalanche fan.

Avalanche hockey has always been about speed. The players rush the net. They may hang out in the slot, but more often than not they weave in and out of it, as well as around the back of the net. No joke, you can find defensemen such as Tyson Barrie and Erik Johnson behind opponents’ nets.

This can be a heart-stopping style of hockey even for Avalanche fans. Indeed, Avs fans on Twitter last night were getting a little nervous, even exhorting Colorado to “slow the game down.”

Why? Colorado has one of the fastest, best-skating teams in the NHL! Edmonton may have sterling skaters — they have enough #1 draft picks — but we’ve got Barrie and Johnson — a couple of the fastest defensemen around — not to mention Nathan MacKinnon and a Matt Duchene. That’s right, we’ve got a Duchene.

Those players function best when their talents are on display — at fast speeds. Who doesn’t love a Matt Duchene breakaway?

Who doesn’t love an Erik Johnson coast-to-coast play?

Who doesn’t love Nathan MacKinnon breaking ankles?

Who doesn’t love Tyson Barrie?

Ok, interestingly, of those players, only Barrie got a goal against the Oilers. That’s still a reason for celebration. That means other players — such as Blake Comeau, Jack Skille, Nick Holden and even the wise Jarome Iginla can hang with the speedsters.

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One of the biggest criticisms of Colorado Avalanche hockey is that it allows a lot of shots on goal. That’s true. Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov faced 40 shots in the game against the Edmoton Oilers. In the post game presser, head coach Patrick Roy admitted that that was too many shots. However, he pointed out that most of them were coming from the outside and weren’t good scoring opportunities.

Basically, Colorado’s goalie has to be sharp — probably the sharpest player on the ice. When a team scores four or five goals, they should expect to win. That’s what happened last night — the Avs scored five, and Varlamov only allowed one.

That’s part of what wasn’t happening earlier in the season. The Avs scored four or five in a few games, but Varlamov allowed more.

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Last night, everything was clicking, from the speed to the defense to the goalie:

Last night, the hockey was so exciting even Colorado Avalanche fans were getting a little nervous.

It’s ok, Avs Nation — the Colorado Avalanche may not win all the games, but in games like last night’s, they’re going to put on a heck of a show.