The Colorado Avalanche need to find a new recipe that gives them success. They’re currently in a bad slump.
The Colorado Avalanche are losers. I know that’s harsh, but, frankly, watching the last four games or so has been harsh. Just like many Avs fans, the memory of the 48-point season is still too fresh for me to be comfortable with any kind of losing streak.
And, let’s be honest, Colorado’s losing six of the last seven games, including one game in which they blew a third-period, two-goal lead, is enough to give any Avs fan flashbacks. We’re talking a five-game losing streak, people.
Well, no sense in beating a dead horse — and you shouldn’t beat any horse, to be honest — the Colorado Avalanche can win again. Why, even in the 48-point season, they won 20 whole times.
This isn’t that year, and Colorado has the chance to go back to being the force they were at the beginning of the season — even without two of their stars. Let’s look at a recipe that can bring success back.
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- Colorado Avalanche: Middle Six Dilemma
I know the Avalanche lost two star wingers. However, certain players can play any forward position, and others need to be in their natural center position.
The Avalanche’s middle needs to look like this:
- Nathan MacKinnon
- Nazem Kadri
- Tyson Jost
- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
If you absolutely must move one of those players off center, it should be the most experienced player, Kadri. I didn’t hate him on MacKinnon’s wing. And I liked Jost as second-line center in his place.
However, Jost isn’t a winger. He plays best at center.
6 Smart Defensemen
I love each and every one of our defensemen except, really, for Ian Cole. I’m tired of his stupid penalties.
To be honest, I’m tired of any stupidity from the blueline. The Avalanche are out two star wingers and a third forward. Fingers crossed, not a single defenseman is injured.
So, why are they playing badly?
The Dallas game started out badly when Sam Girard gave up the puck not once but twice in the defensive zone, leading to a Stars goal 19 seconds into the period. Not to hang Sam out to dry, though, because not a single defenseman has been particularly smart with the puck on the regular.
We’re seeing flashes of decent play from the blueline. However, Colorado’s crown jewel has got to be better.
A Pinch of Timeliness
Hey, when the game starts at 6:30 pm MT, you’ve got to be ready by at least 6:29.
Colorado had slow starts to four straight games, and it definitely cost them. When you’re missing two of your biggest stars, you have to play clean, tight hockey. We’re talking get back to basics. Crisp passes, situational play, pucks in deep, yadda yadda.
And you’ve got to come out with a lot of jump in your step. Try to catch the other team trying to get warmed up. Score a couple quickies before they have the yawns out of their play.
A Haunch of Moose Leg
Whether it’s a knee or ankle, the Colorado Avalanche need Mikko “Big Moose” Rantanen’s leg to heal and heal quickly. As someone who’s struggled with a sprained MCL for, oh, about 12 years, I realize it never fully heals. (My ankle is a piece of poo, too.)
But I’m not an elite athlete. Come on, Big Moose. Ian “I love stupid penalties” Cole came back from double hip surgery two months ahead of schedule. If we can get that moosehead back so early, can we get our actual valuable moose back soon, too?
Because I think more than a lack of talent or skill, the Colorado Avalanche are lacking the belief they can win. With two star wingers out, the hole just seems too gaping.
A Sprinkle of Line Consistency
During the Stars game, play-by-play announcer Marc Moser recounted that Nathan MacKinnon remarked he didn’t even realize how many set plays he was working until he didn’t have his partners anymore.
You know how you work up that kind of chemistry? Consistency. I get that lines change up throughout the season, especially when there are injuries. However, there is no reason whatsoever to keep switching up lines from game to game, much less throughout a single game itself.
Hockey is a fast game. Players don’t have time to think, “I’m skating with J.T. Compher now and he likes to…”
So, yeah, this particular ingredient is aimed at Jared Bednar. The NHL isn’t a league where you can just plug and play players. Yes, players of different talent and skill levels can work together on a line, but they need a minute to get used to each other.
Devise line combinations based on how the players can complement each other, and stick with it. Because throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what will stick isn’t working.
The Colorado Avalanche will be right back at it on Thursday for another four-point game, this time against the Central Division rival Nashville Predators. Hopefully, they’ll find their recipe for success by then.