Colorado Avalanche: 2015-16 Another Lost Season

Apr 9, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; General wide view of Pepsi Center in the first period of the game between the Anaheim Ducks against the Colorado Avalanche. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 9, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; General wide view of Pepsi Center in the first period of the game between the Anaheim Ducks against the Colorado Avalanche. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

The disappointing Colorado Avalanche season highlights the lack of passion in the players, which doesn’t inspire the fans.

Here’s an admission: I stopped watching Colorado Avalanche games after they lost to the Philadelphia Flyers.

I’d love to say that I live some crazy busy life and just didn’t have time to watch hockey, and while that’s partially true, the larger truth is that I had no desire to watch them play. In that game, like they’d done all season, they rolled over and showed no heart. The team gave up on the fans, so why shouldn’t I give up on them?

Sure, they weren’t officially eliminated from the playoffs on that night. They could’ve redeemed themselves a couple days later against the Minnesota Wild, at home, but we all knew that wasn’t going to happen. The Wild have owned the Avs for the better part of three seasons. Without Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado stood no chance.

And, as expected, the team put up little resistance with their season on the line. Once again, they weren’t officially eliminated on that day, but expecting them to win big games down the stretch would’ve been like expecting a baby not to cry when you take his pacifier. The Avs are like that baby. You take their pacifier, and instead of being a badass baby who pees on you and embarrasses you, they just cry.

I’m not proud that I gave up on the team before the season was officially over. However, after investing a lot of time and money on the team throughout the season, I felt that I, and every other Avs fan in the world, deserved better.

This team was in a prime position to make the playoffs. Management went all-in at the trade deadline, acquiring players that put in a great position for the stretch run. The Wild and the rest of the West aiming for the second wild card spot seemed to be falling apart. But, like they’d done all season, the Colorado Avalanche blew it in the third period and the goalie pull, which worked like magic in Roy’s first season, had been exposed.

After the first game of the season, following a blown 4-1 third period lead to the Wild, I wrote, “Where was that will to win from the Avs? Patrick Roy and the players can preach it and talk about it all they want, but sooner or later they have to show it.” They didn’t show it in game one and they didn’t show it through game 82. Chances are, this core will never show the will to win.

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The most upsetting thing throughout the final couple of weeks wasn’t even the team’s performances — it was the fact that they were falling apart behind the scenes as well. Roy called out Matt Duchene, by far the best player on the team this season, for celebrating his 30th goal of the season, a meaningless goal late in a 4-0 game.

For the first time in Roy’s tenure, he actually singled out a player instead of preaching that, “we win and lose as a team.” Fans, myself included, wanted him to show that kind of fire long before the final week of an already lost season, but when it finally came, I was disappointed. Disappointed that he went after the one guy who actually gave a damn. Disappointed that he targeted the guy who, above everyone else, shows passion for the game and the team. If there was ever a player who truly “played for the logo,” that player is Matt Duchene.

Related Story: Landeskog's Fallen Stock

If Roy wanted to call out a guy, he should’ve started with Gabriel Landeskog, the captain by letter only as his actions have proven him to be anything but. He should’ve continued with alternate captain Cody McLeod, a player who has become increasingly useless as fighting has been nearly phased out of the league. He should’ve blasted every single player on defense for their constant turnovers and lost board battles.

Then he should’ve looked in the mirror and come to the remembrance that he’s made the same “showboating” error that Duchene made (in a much bigger game) while also coming to the realization that Duchene’s over-celebration is microscopic compared to all the mistakes that he’s made throughout the season.

I don’t think Roy is a bad NHL coach. I’m not 100% sold on him being a good one, but I don’t think he’s bad. Sometimes it’s tough to know how much of a team’s issues is coaching and how much is personnel.

Unfortunately for the coach, even if a team has a personnel issue, the coach is usually the one who gets the blame. Roy isn’t blameless. Either his tactics suck or the players aren’t listening to him. Either way, things have to change prior to next season. If the players aren’t going to change, the message needs to change. If the players do change, hopefully the message gets through.

Next: Avalanche Season Review

This was a lost season for the Colorado Avalanche. The second straight season where they thought they were good enough to make the playoffs, but vastly overestimated their talent and system. And it was another lost season for fans. The second straight season where we watched our team get out-played night after night, showing no heart and making us all question whether or not this team, with their current core, will ever reach the heights that we thought were possible just two years ago.