Attention Colorado Avalanche fans around the world:
It is time.
Time to awaken from the lengthy, 4 month slumber that comes with every NHL offseason. Time to don your burgundy and steel blue mesh. Time to break out the banners, pom-poms and whistles. It’s time for Mike Haynes to chant, “Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!”
Because it is time for Avalanche hockey.
When the puck drops this Thursday night in St. Paul, Minnesota, last year’s winners of the Central Division look to pick up where they left off after one of the most surprising and impressive one year resurgencies in recent NHL memory. The Avalanche will open the season against a rather fitting opponent, The Minnesota Wild, who knocked Colorado out of the first round of the playoffs last season in overtime of game 7. Because of hits that resulted in season-ending injuries and suspensions in that series, paired with the sting still felt from being eliminated, every supporter of the snow-capped “A” is sure to want this game to result in their boys spoiling Minnesota’s homecoming party. Two nights later in the second game of the season, the only thing that will change are the colors of each team’s jerseys, as the same two teams will battle out a round 2 bout at the first Pepsi Center game of the year. The script provides Colorado the perfect opportunity to put the pain of last year’s disappointing knockout in the past, and look ahead to what accomplishments may lie ahead in 2014-2015.
The offseason brought a few changes to the Avalanche roster, some of which involved big names. The team lost long-time Av and US olympian, Paul Stastny to St. Louis in free agency, but to help soften the blow, the team brought in veteran talents Brad Stuart, Danny Briere and Jarome Iginla. Such veterans are sure to bring leadership to the team that has made a commitment to it’s nucleus of youth.
The team returns to regular season play with last year’s Jack Adams Award winner (Patrick Roy), Calder Trophy winner (Nathan MacKinnon), Lady Byng Memorial winner (Ryan O’ Reilly), and 2nd place in all vote getters of the Vezina (Semyon Varlamov), all still cogs in the machine that hopes to improve upon last season’s successes.
Although the team’s preseason play was less than stellar, and the Central division appears to be among one of the most difficult/competitive in 2014-2015, there is no reason to Colorado can’t repeat as division winners as long as they stay relatively healthy throughout the 82 game season.
With last year’s turnaround season, the Avalanche raised the bar of expectations that sunk because of a slew of mediocre seasons to those expectations of a real contender once again, and will try to raise it even higher this season as the goal will no doubt be to make some serious noise in the postseason.
For this Colorado Avalanche team, the sky is the limit in 2014-2015. They have the right man making moves in the front office in Joe Sakic. They have a gutsy legend of the game commanding the players from the bench in Patrick Roy, and they return their top 4 goal scorers from one year ago in Duchene, Landeskog, O’ Reilly, and MacKinnon.
The potential and talent are there.
Time to put it all together.
Time for the AvsNewAge to show the world what they can do.