A Project for Better Journalism chapter

When will the Colorado Avalanche’s woes subside?

I realize hockey is not a frequent topic covered here at ROAR, but I would like to put in my two cents given the disintegrating state of the Colorado Avalanche who have gone from bad to worse to real, real ugly. So bear with me, as we delve into this disaster.

I have been a fan of the Avs ever since I was old enough to leave the house and their current situation quite unnerves me. Back in eighth grade, all my hopes and dreams came crashing down when the Minnesota Wild won game seven in overtime and I was in disbelief. Ever since that traumatic experience, the Avs have had some rough years with no conceivable playoff runs, let alone even being able to scrape by in a wild card spot. As I am writing this, they have definitely hit rock bottom and hold the last place spot in the entire NHL with a measly 25 points. They have pretty well established themselves as the worst hockey team in the league, and due to the fact there were no significant changes made from last season,  I was not super optimistic in their progress. However, what has conspired before our very eyes is truly mind-boggling.

Our only hope is that the Avs have to be past the downward spiral and cannot possibly get any worse, right? Well, I’m not so sure because rock bottom was not just losing 10-1 and allowing five goals within ten minutes of the game, but it’s now having the worst home record in the NHL and winning 3 of the last 20 games. So who knows what it will be next week, yet to dig themselves out of this giant hole, they have to start somewhere, anywhere even, and that’s where the true problem with this club lies. I am not very confident in anybody in the organization to make meaningful changes despite the fact the Avs need a total reboot. So maybe all those horrible losses, no offensive production whatsoever, and an inept defense were going to send a message to the owner or general manager of the team, but since that won’t even wake them up, I have some ideas.

The first order of business should be to address the “core” of the team. The core is a term the Avs love to use, ‘The core has to be better, the core are the leaders, the core is this, the core is that…’ Everything seems to revolve around it, yet I’ve never heard of any successful hockey club use that term. So maybe just scrap it and the idea that the “core” players are untouchables because not to name names, but a certain defensemen considered an integral part of this “core” is not worth six million dollars. Please stop with this term and trying to build a team around something that is clearly not working because all these expensive guys are not getting any younger. If they are bad now just imagine the core group of 35 year olds, not a pretty picture, but with the road they are going, it could be reality.

To tie in with the dysfunctional core, the Avs need to seriously bulk up the defense. This issue was where conflict really began with Patrick Roy as he wanted bigger guys and the management was not on the same page, so low and behold, Roy packed up and left a month before training camp started. Which honestly, good for him to leave this mess and enjoy his life, but the point is to shakeup the core and get some worthwhile defensemen because it seems he was the one on the right track. Right now, we rely on the six million dollar, should-be-a-forward/third pair defenseman who would be a nice, luxury addition on a well put together, winning team that already has top defensemen(sorry to mention him again, it just makes me very angry), and a 36-year-old as our main D-men. By moving around the core, the Avs  could acquire successful defensemen and even new scorers/forwards because ours can’t seem to produce to save their lives.

Defense used to be the main problem the Avs faced, yet on the heels of a 6-0 loss to Toronto at home, our offense is severely struggling to the point where goals are few and far between(not to mention a pretty nonexistent power play). And if they want to get real crazy, they should trade the captain which maybe a tiny bit extreme but desperate times call for desperate measures.

My final thought is get rid of the management-the source of all these headaches-specifically Joe Sakic. Being an outstanding hockey player does not automatically translate to an outstanding general manager possessing the ability to form a winning team, i.e. Mr. Sakic. The owner of the Avalanche is not all that hockey savvy, so much of these decisions fall on Sakic and by hiring a proven guy to lead would make things 100 times better. If you look at Toronto, they are in complete rebuild mode and they have excellent management/coaches that know what they are doing and have a plan. We are just floundering and nothing is being done, so I just really hope their plan is not to bank on getting a number draft pick because the season is 81 games long and if things continue on like this, it’s going to be real painful.

Many thanks to anyone who made it through this compiled rant/opinion. I just feel that if I can see major flaws in this club then some authoritative figure must see it as well, and at this point nothing will get better without some movement of players and new management. And moral of the story, I may know little about business deals, the inner workings of the NHL, and chemistry between sweaty grown men on ice, but from what I’ve witnessed, the Avs need all the help they can get in order to get out of this pile of doom and get close to Patrick Roy’s greatness of having two Stanley Cup rings plugging his ears.