In 2001, I was playing snake on my Nokia (with an Avalanche faceplate, of course) while waiting for Ja Rule and Nelly to download on Napster using AOL dialup. Things have definitely improved for the better since then, but not for the Avalanche.
Thanks to their 20th Anniversary, we have been bombarded with montage after montage of the Avs and their first years of franchise domination. I consider myself a champion at re-living the Avs and their glory days. I can still tell you where I was when Uwe Krupp scored the game-winning overtime goal in ’96, and which players scored the three goals in Game 7 against the Devils. My car is a 2001 Honda Passport, and is named Stanley. But the hard truth is that June 9th, 2001 was 14 years ago, and I’m getting tired of all the tributes to the Avs of yore. Maybe the Avs' current record has turned me bitter, but I believe we need to start looking forward -- not behind us like Reto Berra after the puck slides past him.
The current franchise slogan "The Story Continues" seems a bit of a joke at this point, because it unfairly associates the present roster with the team’s successful past. We see a great game here and there, but they are too often clouded by disastrous losses. The four power-play goals against Toronto, the three scores allowed in 2:08 against the Pittsburgh, or the general minor league-quality play we see from the team on a nightly basis. If the story really is going to "continue," the product on the ice simply must improve. Whether it is in the locker room or upstairs, something must be done.
The Avs showed some consistency against Winnipeg on Saturday, but for the most part the Avs are bipolar. What that medication is, I’m not quite sure. It is a far different game today than when the Avs were dominating the league. We have not been able to adapt to changes as seamlessly as other teams have (I’m referring to one team in particular, but out of stubborn pride refuse to name them). I thought that Sakic and Roy would be the ones to bring us back, but now I’m starting to question that. They might be veterans on the ice, but they are still relative rookies in NHL management.
The banners hoisted in the rafters of Pepsi Center will always be there as a symbol of what the Avs have accomplished. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we can be thankful for all that Sakic, Roy, Forsberg and Foote have done for this team, but it is time to start looking forward and realizing that Landy, Dutchy, Natty Mac, and Varly are the ones who now carry the torch. If they can’t, then we will need to find the personnel who can -- and that includes management. After all, when I’m really feeling nostalgic for 2001, I can always tune-in to FLO 107.1 for throwback hip hop and R&B, but I much prefer to live in the age we do now.
Once the Avs get back on track, of course.