The All-Star break is a natural time to sit down, relax, and evaluate everything that's happened in a team's season to this point. Doing that an Avs fan this year is worse than taking a lead pipe to the skull. What just continually blows my mind though is this season started out so promising. In several words or less, here's my recap to the first few wins of the season:
October 15th against Dallas, 6-5: Our defense still sucks but damn it we're gonna score!
October 17th against Pittsburgh, 4-3 (OT): Holy balls this is gonna be fun!
October 20th against Tampa Bay, 4-0: We can compete with any team in the league!
It's crazy to me this all took place just THREE MONTHS AGO. We were so excited and full of hope, remember?!
Obviously, the next question is, what the hell happened? Now, everything is mostly gloom and doom, and rightfully so. This has probably been the single most disappointing season in Avalanche history, and could go down as the worst period depending on how the last half of the season goes. Where did it all hit the fan?
They lost their next two games, one at Florida, 5-2, and one at home to Winnipeg 1-0. The loss to the Panthers was frustrating but understandable. A long, brutal road trip to open followed by another tough opponent on their ice was a tough ask. The game to the Jets was a bit alarming because at the time, we figured if the Avs were only giving up one goal at home to a team that missed the playoffs the year before, it was all but guaranteed to go down as a win considering the wealth of goals Colorado had before that. It wasn't panic button worth though. They won the next one out at Arizona, but the next two games is when you had to start raising an eyebrow.
A 5-1 loss to the Predators sucked. Okay, but blowouts happen. Try again next time. 4-0 loss in Chicago. WELP. Still not worth the panic button though, since they won their next matchup with the team's achilles heel of recent years, Minnesota. But the next night, they went to Missouri only to lose to the Blues 5-1, then lost to the worst team in the league (at the time) Arizona at home, 4-2. We're still not at panic button territory though, in my estimation. They got a nice win in OT against the Jets, outplayed LA on home ice, had a great 3rd period comeback in St. Paul to beat the Wild again, and then beat arguably the league's best team, Columbus, in their neck of the woods.
Where do I hit the panic button though? Good timing on that question, sir/madame. Next game out actually. That was the 6-3 loss at home to Edmonton. Here's why: it started out to be a real promising game. MacKinnon and Bourque were playing amazing together and it propelled Colorado to a 3-2 lead after two. But then... Edmonton tied it in the first half-minute of the third, and then McDavid got the game-winner not even six minutes later. Two goals and a kick to the bread basket afterwards and it was a pretty bad loss. They followed it up five losses after that, a win in Boston, then that one game in Montreal which may or may not have taken place.
The Avs went into that game against Edmonton feeling alright. They were just outside of the playoff mix in late November, the system was being learned, and things seemed promising. Then, with one bad closing period, all of those good-natured feelings became the frustration and sadness we've since felt the last two months. If the Avs won that game, be it in regulation, overtime, or a shootout, do they still remain the worst team in hockey because of that butterfly effect? Probably, but who knows. Maybe something happened in the locker room of Pepsi Center between the fortieth and forty-first minutes that shattered everything and has since turned Colorado into a laughing stock. It's the one fragment of time we can look at in this garbage season and say, "That's where it fell apart."