The Colorado Avalanche have fallen two spots out of the final playoff berth. This means they must win in regulation against the Winnipeg Jets.
I was so mad after the Colorado Avalanche loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets that my neighbors had to smoke more pot to drown me out, and my cat went into hiding. (True story.) Typically, 24 hours and a Patrick Roy post-game presser calm me down. This hasn’t been the case this time — 48 hours later, I’m still angry.
Actually, I’m even angrier after waking up and checking the Western Conference standings to see the Nashville Predators maintain the final wild card spot, and the Vancouver Canucks have leapfrogged the Colorado Avalanche.
As of right now, it’s feeling as if being an Avalanche fan doesn’t have enough return on investment. We have to survive in an NHL that barely acknowledges we exist. We have to go to games that are up to 40% opponent fans and get abused by said fans when Colorado blows another game. And that’s on top of the usual sports fandom of giving your time and money to the rich in hopes of being entertained with a good game.
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Like I said, I’m in a foul mood.
What it all boils down to is this: The Colorado Avalanche can win tonight’s game, or they can miss the playoffs.
Don’t tell me about the 36 games of hockey Colorado has left to play. Vancouver also has 36 games left to play, and both Nashville and the Minnesota Wild — who have the other wild card berth — have 37 games left to play. This is a contest that’s going to get decided by two points, so there are no more points to waste, especially against Western Conference teams. Especially against Central Division teams.
Before the big road trip the Colorado Avalanche went on in November, I quoted one of my favorite Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes:
"“I am First Omet’iklan, and I am dead. As of this moment, we are all dead. We go into battle to reclaim our lives. This we do gladly, for we are Jem’Hadar. Remember: Victory is life.”"
The Colorado Avalanche are dead in the water concerning their playoff race. They go into tonight’s game to reclaim that life. Victory is life.
I’d like to add another movie reference, this one far more offensive. It’s Alec Baldwin’s harsh speech from Glengarry Glen Ross:
"“Are you interested? I know you are because it’s f*ck or walk. You close or you hit the bricks… Always be closing.”"
Here’s the video (Obviously there are bad words, so NSFW):
In every game from here on out, both of those have to be the Colorado Avalanche’s mantra. They need to close every game — they need to be skating with a single-focused determination to win at all costs. At. All. Costs.
“Nice guy?” Alec don’t care. “Good father?” Go home and play with your kids. Nice fathers, good guys, they punch time clocks or endure endless 8pm meetings. Cold. Hard. Reality.
If the young bucks in the Colorado Avalanche want to play a game for a very rich living, they need to close their games.They need to play until they bleed — literally. They need to play through the pain and the self-doubt because there is literally a multi-million dollar system in place to support them. (As a teacher, I had to buy books myself to promote my students’ literacy.)
That’s why the players get to have other people’s babies named after them. That’s why they get to have their name splashed across the newspaper. That’s why they get to hear cheers resonating in their ears at work.
It’s win, or it’s walk. It’s win, or it’s die outside the playoffs. It’s win, or it’s play golf come April 10.
And hockey fans don’t tend to be really big on golfers. Could be more of a 50% split next season — because certain other teams (cough-cough, Chicago Blackhawks) already recognize this reality. Victory is life — always be winning.