There's not anything good to say this week. I've said all season I never expected the Avalanche to make the playoffs but to come SO close and fall short is painful. Starting with the kick to the nuts last Saturday at home, the entire week ended up being a prolonged punch in the face and disposing of the body in the river with the rest of the Western Conference loling the entire time.
Still, I'm not sure I've ever been more proud of the Avalanche as a team in non-Stanley Cup winning years. To be the cheapest and youngest roster in the NHL and coached by a guy who is just in just his 7th year as a coach at all and 5th as the big boss, the Avalanche hung in a playoff race until the very end with teams led by guys like Jarome Iginla, Joe Thornton, and Anze Kopitar & the Former Flyers. The Avalanche roster is filled with promising young players, many of whom actually underachieved this year, and are still going to just barely miss the playoffs.
Instead of hanging their heads after a rough 5-1 shellacking at San Jose, the Avs came out and blitzkrieged the Canucks with an all-out assault but were denied by a guy who is going to be a very good starter in this league when the Canucks can no longer keep him tied to the chair he currently inhabits. The Avs did what every fan wants: they kept plugging away, playing hard despite the circumstances, and for the love of Roy they didn't close up shop and call it a season with 30 games left to play again.
Maybe most importantly, the Avalanche put the rest of the Western Conference on notice: Watch out, doods, them there Yeti monster things are a comin' with the fury of blades of lightning next season. The kids essentially had 3 straight weeks of playoff-level hockey and there's a very good chance they learn from this experience and use it next year.
As sad as I am about this season ending the way it has, I'm already excited as hell for next season. The Avs aren't quite back, but they're close and they're coming for all the teams who finish ahead of them. Especially you, Detroit.
Team capsules after the jump.
All standings related info taken from NHL.com...
- Mikael Backlund is on IR with an upper body injury.
Derek Smith is day-to-day with an upper body injury.
- T.J. Brodie is day-to-day with an upper body injury.
- Cory Sarich is day-to-day with an upper body injury.
Last Week: 2-1-0
- Guillaume Latendresse has been diagnosed with concussion symptoms and is on Injured Reserve.
- Pierre-Marc Bouchard has concussion symptoms and is on Injured Reserve.
- Mike Lundin has been shut down for the season after having surgery on a sports hernia.
- Matt Kassian suffered a sports hernia and is shut down for the season.
- Jared Spurgeon has a concussion.
- Matt Cullen has had surgery on a broken finger. He will be out for the remainder of the season.