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Dear Hockey Gods

In which I thank the deranged Hockey Gods for all the small nice things that have happened despite the general awfulness of this Avalanche season.

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Hockey Gods,

I know this has been a bit of a rough year for all Avs fans (thanks for that, btw), but as Thanksgiving is coming up, I wanted to show my appreciation for all the little things you've done this season that are still completely awesome.

First of all, thank you for sending us Matt Duchene.  The whole snowblower situation with Sakic was a little extreme even for you guys, but hey, if that's what took to ensure that an Avs fan from a small town in Ontario ended up fistpumping his way to Denver, I'm not going to argue (too much.  Curse you, snowblowers).  Even on bad nights, his skating and puck handling are a sight to behold, and his honesty and vocal leadership off the ice are a breath of fresh air.  He's a great cornerstone for any franchise, and as a bonus, he's as much a fan as we are.  Oh, and for you to make that whole "hug an angler" promotion work out while he's on the team was a nice touch.  I wouldn't mind giving that angler (and top line center) a hug this season.  He could probably use one.

Also, thank you for Tyson Barrie and Erik Johnson.  I know we can rag on them from time to time, but both of those defensemen are really coming into their own.  EJ especially has been quietly awesome this year, and Barrie had a heck of a game last night.  By defenseman standards, both are still pretty young, and we are asking a lot of them day in, day out.  Add in Hejda - who hasn't looked quite as 36-ish recently as he did at the beginning of the year, so thanks for that too - and they do pretty okay, even against tough competition.  The rest of the defense, well.... at least we have Barrie and EJ as cornerstones.  There are teams out there that would kill to have even that much to build on.

And thank you for the shiny young guys of the team.  MacKinnon is having a rough season, but we all know that he has an incredible future ahead of him.  I know you orchestrated the lockout, the O'Reilly situation, and rigging the draft lottery to screw over Florida to make sure he found his way to us, and last night, he even had a few moments where he looked like his old ankle-breaker self (which means it's probably a good thing Foppa was in a suite instead of on the ice against him.  RIP Foppa's ankles).  This taste of reality is probably good for him in the long run, and I know no matter how messed up your methods, stuff like this seems to work out for the best in the end.  Well, usually.  Please let this be one of those times, okay?

Speaking of Swedes, the same goes for Landeskog.  He's also having a rough, unlucky year (any time you all want to knock that off, please feel free to), but he too is a great building block for the future and a good Captain.  And Everberg has been a welcome addition.  His tenacity and surprising skill has been one of the bright spots this season, and how could I forget his hair!  I dunno what it is with you Hockey Gods and your obsession with crazy flow, but you certainly outdid yourselves on this one.

Redmond has also looked pretty good.  He makes some mistakes (as all young defensemen do), but he can at least move the puck and makes more decent decisions than terrible ones.  With Stuart and Wilson out, he's going to really get a chance to shine and cement his spot in the lineup.

Also, can we talk about why you had to chose right now to injure Duncan Siemens?  He's another one who probably could be helping us, or at the very least getting some good experience for the future.  I would say it's a sign that you want us to get a good pick and draft Hanifin or someone, but I know you.  I know that you're going to make us go on a late season run just in time to miss the playoffs AND fuck up our draft pick.  Can you at least promise me that Siemens will be up with the big club for that run?  I'd take that as a consolation prize.

Returning to the point, thank you for Berra and Varlamov.  Varly's not been as super human this year, but we still couldn't ask for a better goalie, especially given the number of shots he faces.  Now, if we could just work on the whole "being healthy" thing, that'd be dandy.  And Berra's not been half bad.  I was terrified when he signed that contract extension, but it seems to be working out (which is something I hope I one day say about the Guenin, McLeod, and Stuart extensions.  Not holding my breath though).  Both goalies have let in a few softies, but we could be in a much, MUCH worse situation in net than we are.

And then there's Iggy.  Yeah, he's not helped us out much yet, but he's still JAROME FREAKIN' IGINLA, so I'm not arguing (well... too much at least).  And Tanguay was awesome before that bullshit you pulled in the game yesterday.  I swear, if you broke his jaw.... sigh.  And even O'Reilly hasn't been too bad.  Unlucky, yes.  Invisible most nights, yes.  But I think he's played every position out there and has still had a few good moves.  McGinn and Mitchell have both done pretty well in Top 6 fill-in roles this year too, so thank you for the depth to be able to do that.  Now if we could just back off on the injuries and lack of chemistry that are causing that depth to be needed.... please and thank you.

And then there's Roy.  He's already adjusted his systems and is doing what he can to get the team out of this mess because he's a good coach.  Yes, I still want to scream at him when he sends the 4th line out with under 3 minutes to play in a game where we're down by one, but there are worse mistakes he could be making.  Even though the honeymoon is over and the club isn't rallying around him like they were last year, this sophomore slump is probably only going to make us a stronger team long-term.  Same goes for Sakic who has hopefully learned to stay off the koolaid and not sign freakin' contract extensions before the player has even played one game for us! It's probably best that he's learning these lessons now instead of down the road.

And finally, as a general hockey fan, thank you for continuing to make the Maple Leafs frustrate the crap out of their fanbase.  I know there's no higher joy for you all than messing with them, and you've hardened a bunch of otherwise standard hockey watchers into the ultimate snark and comedy machines.  It's no surprise that Down Goes Brown and Steve Dangle follow the Leafs - without a lifetime of frustration, disappointment, and misery, they probably wouldn't be as hilariously awesome as they are.  As a fellow fan, I feel somewhat bad for them, but man, their work is absolute gold.  And I know that no matter how bad of a day I'm having, listening to sports talk radio from Toronto will cheer me up (or make me lose faith in humanity. One or the other).

Also, thank you for Bob McKenzie, Elliott Friedman, Justin Bourne and all the other good hockey intel/insight guys.  They truly are a blessing to all hockey fans, especially because they're some of the few who can publish a rumour and be right.  I still think Canada messed up by not recruiting Uncle Bob to their version of the CIA, but their loss is our gain.  Never change.

And thank you for giving Corey Perry the mumps (but making sure he's still okay).  I feel a little guilty about this one, but since there appears to be no long-term consequences, I'm secretly pretty thankful about the good, hearty giggles I got out of the situation.  I mean, it's the freakin' MUMPS! Who gets that?  And it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy (on the ice at least).  I'm still a little mad at him for last year, and this situation fits your absolutely deranged sense of karma perfectly.  What better way to deal with a pain in the neck than giving him... a pain in the neck?  Ba-dum-ching!  You all must get pretty bored up there to think up this sort of thing, but I'm not complaining.

And thank you for feel good stories like Nashville and Calgary.  We were those guys last year, and even though they're currently f-ing with our playoff chances (which are near non-existent, but I'm still going to be mad about it), it's super cool when you share the joy and elevate fanbases that have suffered for quite some time.  Speaking of, please be nice to Buffalo and give them the 1st Overall.  They deserve some nice things too.

Anyhow, that's just about everything.  Thank you for watching over such a wonderful sport, and thank you for leading me to it.  Thank you for keeping all hockey fans humble - nothing seems to please you more than knocking a team/fanbase off their high horse - and when I curse you, please know I don't really mean it (typically).  And most of all, thank you for my fellow Avs fans who I can bitch with (and occasionally at) to make this shitty season more bearable.  #Avs Fam is the best.

Now, if you could see it in your hearts to let us have a few more nice things this year, that'd be dandy.  But until next time, thanks for everything!

Your loyal follower,

-Andi D.