For this holiday season, I’d like to give back to the Colorado Avalanche since they give so much to us.
The Colorado Avalanche have been my favorite team since it was rumored we were getting an NHL team 24 years ago. I’ve had my ups and downs with them, but mostly they’ve been ups.
The Avs have given us so much through the years. Of course, the biggest gifts were the two Stanley Cups, especially the one that was a gift to Hall of Famer Ray Bourque. (I’ve mentioned before that the first Cup was my favorite because it brought the first-ever sports championship to Colorado.)
They gave us the gift of the Golden Why Not Us Season when we saw two of our player heroes return to Colorado to steer us back to the glory days. (That’s what we thought at the time.)
They gifted us with the 48-Point Season. That may sound like a weird thing to say, but the low times make you appreciate the high times.
And we’ve got the good times now. The Colorado Avalanche give us the gift of a talented young core and something we didn’t have in the Glory Days — a feeling that we had built toward the success.
Well, in the spirit of giving, I’d like to give back to the Avs players and team. Some of the gifts are silly or whimsical, others are sincere. Perhaps a few are pointed. But they’re all from the heart.
Erik Johnson: Erik Johnson is my favorite Avs player. If I could give him anything, it would be a full, 82-game season with the team. He’s never in his career managed that. The one year he didn’t get injured, he got a two-game suspension. He deserves the full season.
Tyson Jost: Tyson Jost is my other favorite player. An obvious gift would be a goal. But I’d want to give him his confidence back. If you see him playing his best, he plays with total confidence. The two go hand-in-hand with him, and I’d just love to see that smug gleam in his eye again.
Gabriel Landeskog: On Monday, our captain played in his 600th NHL game, all with the Colorado Avalanche. I’d like to gift him with another 600 game — all with the Colorado Avalanche.
Mikko Rantanen: What do you give the man who has everything? The biggest contract on the team. He’s got his balance back. He made an All Star appearance last season. How about a trophy case for all his honors?
Nathan MacKinnon: Nathan MacKinnon is making his mark on this team. He will always be remembered as one of our greats. I want to gift him with the Hart Trophy that he deserves.
Philipp Grubauer: A puppy. The Colorado Avalanche did a couple photo shoots to support the Humane Society. After participating in one, Grubauer went back for a solo trip to a shelter. He obviously wants a puppy.
Andre Burakovsky: A trip to the Aspen shops. When the Avalanche returned to Washington, Burakovsky talked with Lauren Jbarra about how he missed the shopping in George Town. I’m sure the shops in Aspen would be bougie enough to match that.
Sam Girard: I’d like to see him get his respect back. Last season and the one before, everyone was singing his praises. Now he falls prey to criticism. He’s a great puck-moving defenseman, and we should respect that.
Cale Makar: A Slurpee? Some mayonnaise chicken? Actually, I want to give him the gift of a voodoo doll with Brad Marchand’s name on it. (Or maybe that’s a gift to myself.)
Ryan Graves: Some more pluses to his plus/minus ratio so purists can howl that it’s not an important stat.
Ian Cole: A beard trimmer. Even his own dad chirps his beard.
J.T. Compher: A Jesse Compher jersey. Maybe a signed one. Yes, I realize he can get a jersey from his sister any old time. But I bet he’d get a kick out of receiving one as a gift. He does have a dry sense of humor.
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Matt Nieto: Did you see Matt Nieto’s tree for the Avs Tree Auction? It was all covered in Day of the Dead ornaments, and it included a bottle of Tita Dona Celia Edition 100% Anejo de Agave Tequila. It looks cool — I’d give him that.
Matt Calvert: A beer. Actually, he owes me a beer because he purposely knocked mine off the bumper at a game last season. My fault for putting it there, I know. But I’ll pay it forward.
Pavel Francouz: A slinky to match his spine. Did you see his save from last night?
Joonas Donskoi: Cat toys. I’m totally enamored of his cats, Finn and Annie. Maybe a little catnip.
Nazem Kadri: I think Nazem Kadri has exactly what he wants — a fresh start. He doesn’t have the demons he had in Toronto, and doesn’t have to deal with the Toronto media. So, I’d just give him a jeweled collar for his glamorous cat, Jazzy.
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare: I mean, I can’t give Jazzy, Finn and Annie gifts and forget about Smiffy. She already has a lion’s mane — she can have some cat antlers. Joyeux Noel
Valeri Nichushkin: Some golden gloves. I just watched his, ahem, fight with Deryk Engelland. Maybe a boxing lesson.
Vladislav Kamenev: A clue. I think it’s hilarious (in an endearing way) how he walks around with a deer-in-the-headlight look on his face.
Nikita Zadorov: Socks. He goes around town in his fancy suits and elaborate shoes… and no socks. His ankles are bound to get cold.
Jared Bednar: A new blender and salad shooter.
The Colorado Avalanche: I want to wish them their dreams to come true. Because their dreams are our dreams — the Stanley Cup returning to Colorado.
Merry Christmas, Avs Nation!