Colorado Avalanche Have a Western Conference Test on the Way

Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Avalanche will play six out of their next ten games against Central Division opponents, and nine out of those ten against the Western Conference.

The Colorado Avalanche had a good showing in their first week against some tough competition. That level of competition is by no means going to be any easier in the next ten games*.

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However, six of those ten games will come against opponents in the Central Division. Which gives the Avs a good chance to get a head start in the division standings.

Nine of the next ten games are also against the Western Conference. So, this next stretch will be key to the start the Avs want to have this season.

Division records for individual teams generally play a large part in a team’s playoff chances. And, obviously a team’s overall record within their conference also plays a large role.

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The Colorado Avalanche will actually play an astounding 16 of their next 19 games against Western Conference opponents. And amid that total, the Avs will play 11 games against the Central Division. However, for the purposes of this post I am only going to cover the next ten games. 

Breaking down the Central Division Opponents

This isn’t really a break down, it’s more of a cursory view, not much of a perusal, if you will. Or maybe it could be better classified as some strange dinner table metaphor — I don’t know.

The Colorado Avalanche will play the Jets, Preds, Hawks, Wild, Blues, and then Jets — in respective order. The Coyotes keep the games from happening in successive order by interrupting the dinner party both after the first Jets’ game, and before the Jets game at the end of the order.

The Blues sit at the head of the table, tycoon-like, while the rest of the teams are kind of just scattered in no particular order. Soon, the herd will separate.

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The rest of the teams enviously eye the head of the table, while talking amongst one another about which one of them will become the carnivore that causes the herd to separate.

It’s a rather formal conversation because no one wants to betray their true intentions. However, if you pay enough attention, you can see the carnivorous glint in the eyes of those ready to pounce.

The representative of the Colorado Avalanche — who will remain unnamed — is smiling plastically while the knuckles gripped around their knife turn bone white, eyes always sizing up the rest of the attendees at the dinner party, carnivorous.

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The Winnipeg Jets representative — again, anonymous — just happens to be in line of sight, and he kind of squirms — barely noticeable* — but he squirms.

The Avs representative knows it all begins there, but he can hear the Arizona Coyotes milling about in the periphery — wandering — lost.

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The Wild representative — many names come to mind, but the representative will remain unnamed — considers soiling his pants in recognition of this barely noticeable squirming. 

Cursory View of the Pacific Division Opponents

I decided to name this heading more accurately.

The Central Division dinner party will only be intermittently interrupted by the Arizona Coyotes in the next ten games. An uninvited guest to the Central Division dinner party that only the Avalanche notice milling around on the outside of things.

Okay, I think the metaphor has lost its steam. The only other Pacific Division opponent is the LA Kings, and the Avs face them in the final game of the next ten. Both the Kings and Coyotes have struggled mightily to start the season. They have a combined record of 3-7.

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However, the Kings have won two in a row, and could be on the upswing.

Either way, the entire Western Conference is of kind like a herd right now. The Blues, Oilers and Canucks are the only teams that have been able to separate themselves from the herd to this point. And, the Coyotes are really the only team bottom dwelling right now.

It’s early though, this is to be expected. However, that’s what makes this next stretch of ten games so important for the Avalanche.


By the time the Avs resume play on Friday against the Jets, every team in the Central will have played at least two more games than the Avs. The Wild and Blues will have played three more games than the Avs.

Obviously that won’t matter when the season concludes, but it is something to keep in mind when looking at the early standings.

What does matter at this time is that the Avs have an opportunity to make an early emergence in the Western Conference.

Next: Merry Go Round of Avs Forwards

I mentioned earlier that 16 out of the next 19 games will come against Western Conference opponents. Obviously I don’t expect the Avs to win all 16. However, if they can come out with a winning record in those games they’ll make some legitimate early progress toward a playoff spot.

This really is about separating yourself from the pack, from the herd. And you don’t do that by becoming the weak animal that carnivores prey on. You do that by white-knuckling a grip on the weapon and emerging as the one to be feared.

Maybe it’s not that violent, but it is hockey. It is a sport where wills can be imposed. A sport where True Grit and determination will lead to separation from the herd in a way that leads to success.

The time for that determination is now.