Character wins such as the one the Colorado Avalanche got against the Winnipeg Jets will help the young players develop in the long run.
The Colorado Avalanche got a character win last night. They beat a Central Division rival, the Winnipeg Jets. However, that’s not all that makes it a character win.
Colorado started by going down midway through the first period. However, one of their youngsters, rookie Alexander Kerfoot, tied the game a few minutes later with what I’m going to call an ugly goal:
That ugliness is what I love about this goal, how the Avs are crashing the net and batting the puck toward it. It’s not a pretty play — Kerfoot bats in a rebound before sprawling face-first across the ice. But as I always say, ugly goals count the same as pretty ones, and I love seeing the players keep up the hard work.
The Colorado Avalanche went down again early in the third. However, they battled back, and a redemption story started taking shape. Defenseman Nikita Zadorov tied the game midway through the period:
What I love about this goal is who scores it. Zadorov started out the season by missing training camp because of contractual disputes. His conditioning was deemed unacceptable. He’s spent a lot of time bouncing in and out of the lineup and, therefore, struggling to get any consistency going. And he’s had two disallowed goals this season.
There was no way this slick wrist shot was going to be disallowed. Now, this is also second game in a row that’s seen Zadorov score. Like I said, it looks like a redemption story is taking shape.
The overtime game-winner was scored by our 22-year-old budding superstar, Nathan MacKinnon.
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In other words, the game against the Winnipeg Jets went exactly as it should. It allowed the players to show they’re definitely not going to play the same way as last season — they’re not going to let off the pressure or get down when they’re down. They’re going to keep battling back.
This hasn’t been the only character win of the season. The players had to battle hard against the Philadelphia Flyers to keep retaking a lead. And when a late goal tied the game, they battled through the rest of the period and overtime before winning in the shootout.
Another example came against Detroit, whom we fans always love to see Colorado beat. Midway through the third period, the Red Wings had a 3-1 lead. However, goals by Nail Yakupov and Carl Soderberg — both of them with redemption stories of their own — took the game to overtime.
That’s where our budding superstar shined again, winning the game halfway through the overtime period.
We all know the Colorado Avalanche are a young team — second youngest in the NHL. On any given night, they suit up around four rookies — last night, they had six (Tyson Jost, Alexander Kerfoot, J.T. Compher, Dominic Toninato, Sam Girard and Anton Lindholm).
It’s a nice fairytale to think this team could make the playoffs. They’re not out of the race yet — they’re just a point out of the final wildcard berth with a game in hand. However, the Central Division is back to being the toughest in the NHL again, so… I wouldn’t bet on it happening.
That’s ok, though, because these types of wins will set a solid foundation for the youngsters. The rookies will learn how to battle back from adversity and remain even-keel after disappointments, such as losing to the Calgary Flames at home and then losing their captain to the DoPS’ heavy-handed ruling.
And players such as MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, who suffered through the pain of last year’s 48-point season, can keep finding ways to put those disappointments behind them. They’re both just striding into their own as professional players.
So, as much as I want to see playoff hockey in Colorado again, these character wins count for even more. By shaping the youngsters, the character wins are shaping the future of the Colorado Avalanche.