Colorado Avalanche: Considering the 2021 Schedule

The Colorado Avalanche will start their season January 13 and finish it May 8. They’ll play a total of 56 games before the playoffs.

The Colorado Avalanche now know what their 2021 season — not even training camp is taking place in 2020, so I see no need to include it — will be like. It’ll be a little like Groundhog Day in that they’ll wake up to different days but the same opponents.

The action starts on January 13 when Colorado hosts the St. Louis Blues. They then play at home again… against the selfsame Blues. They’ll then travel to California to play the Kings in back-to-backs followed by the Ducks in back-to-backs games.

As noted in a previous post, the NHL is trying to minimize travel because of concerns about the pandemic. However, as Avs insider Adrian Dater points out, such scheduling also minimizes on travel expenses, a concern for the NHL this season.

In fact, also as noted, the Avalanche have been re-aligned into a Western Division. And they will play only those seven opponents in back-to-backs again and again… and again. Their opponents are the following:

  • Anaheim Ducks
  • Arizona Coyotes
  • LA Kings
  • Minnesota Wild
  • San Jose Sharks
  • St. Louis Blues
  • Vegas Golden Knights

Looking at that list, knowing they’re the only teams the Avalanche will play all season, that we’ll see their ugly mugs eight times this season… It reminds me of that scene from the Jim Carey version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

“San Jose Sharks, I HATE YOUUUUUUUUUUUU!”

“Arizona Coyotes, I hate you.”

“LA Kings, hate.”

“Anaheim Ducks, hate.”

“Vegas Golden Knights, hate.”

“St. Louis Blues, double hate.”

“Minnesota Wild…. LOATHE ENTIRELY.”

And that’s just me as a fan. Imagine the players. They’re going to be out there jostling and fighting for the puck against the same opponents night after night. Tempers will boil over, as they always do. However, there won’t be a cooling off period. They’ll see the same faces a couple nights later — at most a couple weeks later.

What’s more, Colorado already has bad blood with some of these teams. They’ve struggled with St. Louis off and on with those intense, Game 82s in between. They just played Arizona in the COVID playoffs. The offsides heard round the world with San Jose. And Minnesota…. Oh, Minny. It’s so easy to hate on them.

In any case, they’ll finish their season in Los Angeles on May 8. Their last home game is a week before, on May 1. That doesn’t hold as much weight at the moment because fans won’t be allowed into the newly-christened Ball Arena. So, home or away game, you’re watching on TV.

Unless Altitude can’t get a deal done with Comcast, but that’s a whole other subject.

The players will have to take precautions. The NHL hasn’t released the exact protocols yet, but they’re meant to be a modified version of the bubble rules that kept the players COVID-free during the playoffs. They have been advised to avoid eating out, a proclamation known as the Jamie Benn Rule.

Speaking of the Dallas Stars, I think I discovered why the NHL decided to align them with the Central instead of the West. In doing so, they’re in the same division as the Tampa Bay Lightning. The two teams fought for the Stanley Cup this summer. And now they’ll face each other eight times. There’s bound to be some hate.

In any case, I’m just glad Colorado won’t have to face Dallas, who was an impossible opponent last season.

The Colorado Avalanche always had excellent chances to make the playoffs. Indeed, superstar Nathan MacKinnon acknowledges the Avs are “the favorites or whatever this season.” Ah, Nate, never change in your articulation. Anyway, the top four teams in each division will make the playoffs and play each other in the first two rounds.