Editor's Note: What follows is a copy of a letter I sent to the Colorado Avalanche Directer of Interweb Relations regarding our beloved Avs. I sent it via carrier pigeon because we don't have next-day air or email in Oklahoma. It's more like 5-day air or alpacamail.
To Whom It Should Concern:
Last season was rough. We all remember and I don't think we want to rehash it. But maybe we need to rehash it. In a nutshell, it sucked. It sucked for the players, coaches, management, and even the concession workers. It was no bundle of unicorn tears for the fans either as we were constantly required to defend our team to fans of other lesser (in our eyes) organizations (especially Amway). We understood that there was a silver lining with the 2011 NHL Draft, but it didn't make the bitter, bitter pill of halfhearted efforts and blowouts. It's the first time in three seasons that the guys on IR were the ones on the winning side of that coin.
Now most of us loyal, faithful, and handsome fans have been around long enough (or are genuinely smart enough) to understand that a champion isn't built overnight. We all realize that it takes time and the right mix of ingredients and luck to get a great team to the promised land. That being said, we all think there are some pretty great pieces in place in Denver. Pieces that aren't looking so champion-like right. We wanted to offer a few words to some of those pieces in particular.
Paul, get well soon. And when you get back from the doc's office, please spend a couple of minutes considering the following: You and Hejduk are the vets on this team. We don't care if you lead by example or by dragging the team to victory by the short hairs. Many of us think you (Paul) personally have the skills to make everybody around you into better players. We all want you to continue your success in Denver and be a part of this team for a long, long time. Please believe me when I say we believe you can do anything you set your mind to.
Milan, Congrats on the big C on the front of your jersey. You represent the last vestiges of a bygone era in Denver. Typically, that's not a fair burden to lay at your feet, but the captaincy says otherwise. I'm not sure what's going on with some aspects of your game this season, but I just want you to know that we believe in you. We want you to go out a champion and if that isn't possible, we at least want you to get to go out on a good team. Please do everything you can every day to make this team better, be it via your wisdom or your actions and we'll continue to love you and that sweet wrist shot of yours as you ride into the sunset.
Matt D., Nice moves out there buddy. Congratulations on getting to double-digit goals the fastest in your young career. You realize that there are two-to-four other guys on the ice with you who can help both you and the team succeed, right? You're an integral part of this team's foreseeable future. Please don't fall into a rut of trying to do everything yourself. You better than most understand that champions are composed of many vital pieces working together toward the common goal of victory. You "twat" back in preseason and that this wasn't the same team as last year and that you wouldn't disappoint the fans this year. Please don't forget that and I guarantee that we won't forget how mighty you can be.
Gabriel, great season so far, but it looks like you've been struggling lately. It's a long season, please pace yourself and continue to demonstrate the skills that have been so readily apparent this season. Prepare yourself for the second half of the season. I have a feeling we're going to need you and your outstanding work ethic more and more as the season goes on.
Erik, you've had a couple of bumps this season and I wonder if you feel like the honeymoon is somewhat over for you in the Mile High City. Let me be the first to tell you that we believe in you. You're a vital cog to this team and we want you to succeed well beyond anything the Blues even ever considered. We want you to use that awesome vision to break out many, may offensive rushes and we want to see that booming cannon on the power play for years to come. You don't have to do it all yourself and whether you have a little A, a little C or just a big A on your jersey, your pace and desire reflect the temperament of this entire team. Don't take any shit from anybody and hold everyone to the same standard that you apply to yourself. Really make St. Louis regret their decision as you promised.
Semyon, hope the knees and groin are doing ok. I know how that stuff can creep up on you. Stop the puck. You know that's your only job. The guys and gals in the stands love your talent. The guys in the dressing room should believe in you. I don't know if the goalie coach thing is a distraction or not, but I know that if you think it is, you should demand something from management in order to address it. The buck and puck stops with you. You're at the point in your career that you can grab it by the horns and be one of the greats in this league. Good luck and keep 'em in front of you.
Ryan, Radar, Factor...What a crazy season so far, right? You started on the third line with your new buddies Dan and Gabriel and now you, The Duke, and Kog are driving the play on both ends of the ice. We love it. Keep it up. Our only request is that you lift all boats with your play. Hold the entire team accountable for their play and show them that hard work and talent will get results. Demand excellence from yourself and everybody in Colorado.
The rest of you guys, what can I say...we just really want you guys to do the things you're good at. Ryan Wilson needs to continue to put the fear of pain into forwards around the league; TJ, it's time to get on it, buddy. Drive the net and bring the grit on any line you may find yourself on. Kyle, you need to keep protecting your end of the ice and your goalie especially; Stefan, settle down, pay attention and play to your strengths; Jan, Giggy you two need to keep doing what your good at and provide the steady veteran hand we know you can; and Jay and Dan, you guys are a treat on the PK and we wanna see more shorties (not a sexist comment) to go with your hard work. Some of you guys are playing for your next contract with the Avalanche and some of you are just playing for your next contract. Please turn the desire up a notch and we'll be right there with you.
That's all we have to say right now, guys. We believe you are better than your record and much better than your effort on some nights. Please put a monkey stomping on the Sharks this week and get Varly a win against his old club. Use this stretch against some good teams to announce your presence to the league with the roar that accomplishes the Avalanche.