The Colorado Avalanche didn’t fare so well when they made a trip out to Alberta.
Although the Edmonton Oilers have been the league’s most laughed-at team recently (and are inarguably one of the worst teams in the Western Conference over the last two months), the Avalanche managed to drop a 3-2 OT decision to them on their home turf last Thursday night.
They followed that up with an absolute thrashing at the hands of the Calgary Flames on Saturday, losing a 5-1 game in regulation to a team they’re currently neck-in-neck with in the fierce post-season race.
A new week, though, has brought a new Avalanche team. Although they’re now down both Jonathan Bernier and Andrew Hammond in net, the team managed to pick up a decisive 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday (not too difficult, as Vancouver is the worst team in the Pacific Division over the last two months). And now, they’ve also brought home a win in Denver over Calgary, evening the score following the tough Saturday contest. [Mile High Hockey]
That’s some bright news for a team that needs every point they can get in the next month and change, but there’s even brighter news in Texas. The team’s AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, are making a playoff push of their own - even without Spencer Martin. [MHH]
Looking back at the trade deadline, the Avalanche managed to stay pretty quiet (or so I’ve been told, as I spent the day in the air on a flight home from family).
They did add a new prospect, though, picking up Ryan Graves from the New York Rangers. Here’s a look at what he can do. [MHH]
Speaking of the trade deadline, here’s a stick tap to editor of Fear the Fin Sie Morley, who handled the addition of Evander Kane to the San Jose Sharks in an incredibly professional manner. With multiple assault-related allegations against him in the past (and at least one video of evidence in one case), he’s going to be a tough player for her to cover as a survivor of assault herself. Her perspective on how that can be addressed, though, is top-notch, and is well worth the read. [Fear the Fin]
Here’s an excellent quote on sticking up for your goaltender as well, from some guy who plays for the St. Louis Blues.
Blues fans are frustrated, which is understandable, but they always, no matter what, blame the goalie when the team isn’t winning.— Kane Van Gate (@KaneVanGate38) February 26, 2018
Nice quote here by Vladi to stick up for his goalie (and goalies in general) pic.twitter.com/iUGcA01td8
We’d also like to congratulate backup goaltender Aaron Dell on inking a new deal with San Jose. One of the league’s late bloomers, he’s been one of the best number twos over the last handful of years. [Twitter]
Some more bright goalie news: Dartmouth starter Devin Buffalo, a member of the Cree nation from Wetaskiwin, Alberta, will become one of the first indigenous players nominated for an NCAA award as he sits in the top-5 in voting for the Hobey Baker. [CBC]
One more goalie story for the masses: Henrik Lundqvist’s 50-save win on Wednesday night tied a career high (in case you were wondering how his season is going in New York). [MSG Networks]
I’m going to wrap this up kind of quickly, but I want to end by giving a moment to the Staal family in Carolina.
On Monday morning, the Hurricanes announced that co-captain Jordan Staal - who had missed their last few games due to personal reasons - had been out because his infant daughter, Hannah, had passed away on Saturday.
On Wednesday, the Staal family put out a statement, further clarifying the incredibly harrowing situation they’re dealing with this week:
Hurricanes Captain Jordan Staal and his wife, Heather, today issued the following statement. pic.twitter.com/dVdO5rx5oj— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) February 28, 2018
For me, this hit home on a very personal note.
A friend of mine celebrated her daughter’s first birthday on Friday, but none of us in our immediate community were there to celebrate. Instead, she was preparing to be flown to Stanford to be better treated by the team of cardiologists who have been working on her for the last 365 days, performing three open-heart surgeries (so far) in addition to the myriad of other medical procedures she’s needed.
Born with congenital heart disease, heterotaxy, and a chromosomal disorder, most doctors gave her daughter little to no chance at survival. And although they very much live every day one by one, expecting nothing more than what they’ve gotten so far, what the Staals are going through was a harsh reminder that many families in their shoes don’t even get that first year.
No religion needed, but let’s all keep the Staals in our thoughts for a little bit here. The playoffs are incredibly exciting, but this is bigger than hockey.