This has been a very interesting month and a half for the Colorado Avalanche. Expectations going into the first game were fairly high. Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene had just had extremely successful outings in the Word Cup. New head coach Jared Bednar entered the job fresh off an AHL championship and with an attitude and coaching style that seemed to be perfect for this club.
At first, things started off really well. The first two games against Dallas and Pittsburgh were really fun, exciting games. The Avs trailed 2-0 in the first period of each game, and came back to win each by a single goal in beautifully chaotic fashion. Against teams with Stanley Cup talent and aspirations, that was Avalanche hockey at its best and peaked the hopes of many. After a loss to the Capitals, the Avs bounced back with a 4-0 routing of the Lightning in Tampa, and we were all thinking that the Avs may have something going here.
Since that fateful game at Amalie Arena, Colorado has gone 6-11-1, and currently in the midst of a four game losing streak, all of which have been on the home ice in downtown Denver. It's been about as bad an eighteen game stretch as I can remember in this team's history. Players have been injured. There have been a lot of really bad, ugly losses. Some of which have been to teams that are among the worst in the league.
Through all the thinking about what the problems are, where to go from here, and how this can be fixed to make this season salvageable, I've only made one conclusion. This team is so bad that they're not enjoyable to watch.
This is not going to be an analytical article. If that's what you're looking for, I'll redirect you to Earl's article from the other day. This article is going to be me venting about the fact for the first time in my memory, I am getting no joy out of watching the Avalanche.
During the lockout shortened year in 2013, I could deal with the fact the Avalanche were one of the league's worst teams. They were rebuilding and they weren't supposed to be any good. Yeah, it sucked and I hated every second of it. I just had the never-ending hope along the way it was going to lead to something successful in like four years. I was pretty confident in that too.
Well, here we are in the last month of 2016, and this team has made little to no progress since then. The 13-14 season was awesome. It was probably my favorite Avalanche season in my years because they won games in the most improbable fashion time after time and it was so totally unexpected. It ended on a bad note, but there was an optimism the team had moved on from the rebuilding process and was on pace to get its third Stanley Cup before this decade reached its conclusion.
It has instead gotten progressively worse since then, and I am struggling to find positives about this team right now. I'm frustrated because this team by all accounts should be consistently good by now considering the expenditure of bad years we went through after Joe Sakic retired. Matt Duchene and Gabe Landeskog, the guys who were supposed to be the faces of the new phase of the Avalanche, have only seen the postseason twice and once respectively. Is it their fault, the front office's fault, the other players' fault? That's a question for another day.
Right now this team is like watching political news. You don't get any joy out of it, and it makes you angry, but you've convinced yourself it's important enough to you that it's something you've just gotta know about. I've seen a lot of comments from fellow members of the site in the last couple weeks expressing this same kind of thought. I'm glad it's not just me and that I'm not alone. I am fully aware that me and those other members thinking the same thing have every right in the world to just stop being a fan, and do something else with our pathetic lives. I will personally not do that because I am hopelessly loyal and am a sucker for punishment, so I will continue watching and following this team's every move.
Now sure, the Avs, and every bad team have their moments when something cool happens. Sam Henley scoring his first goal in his first game last night? That's the kind of thing I'm talking about where you just love sports and get riled up and thank every deity there ever was you're an Avalanche fan. Unfortunately for every one of those moments, there's ten bad moments that make you question everything you've ever done with your life.
God willing that starts to turn around. I have a feeling it won't though. The Avs are tied for the fewest amount of points in the league with Arizona. I'm not going to try and convince myself anymore of something contrary to this statement: This is one of the worst teams in hockey. Maybe even the worst. That's really too bad because they've been chilling at or near the bottom for several years now. I've been able to tolerate it for most of that time and look on the bright side, but as of December 2nd, 2016, I'm unable to do it any longer until things turn around consistently, which could be a while from now.
This team's not going to make the playoffs. Not when you play in the toughest division in the league and the other division in your conference is pretty solid too. They're going to be selling at the trade deadline and probably enter yet another unofficial rebuilding phase. But ultimately even though the Avalanche are doing quite a bad job with the whole "be good at hockey" thing, there's something else that's more of an issue that is a bigger problem as evidenced by the lack of butts in seats at Pepsi Center. They're meant to entertain, and they're doing anything but. There's little to anything about them that's quality entertainment so far this season.