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A Mile High Thank You to the Colorado Avalanche

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The 2017/18 Avalanche put the league on notice and revitalized hockey back in the city of Denver.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Forty-three wins. Ninety-five points. Playoff berth.

Words none of us would have said about the Colorado Avalanche to start the year, but boy were we all wrong. The roller coaster season that was will have Avalanche fans salivating for some October hockey later this year. After playing through the season from hell in 2016-17, the Colorado Avalanche blew the Zamboni doors off all expectations in 2018.

Their 47 point turnaround was the 4th highest year-to-year improvement in NHL history. They also had more wins at home than they had all of last year with much of that improvement credited to Nathan MacKinnon. It’s safe to say we all witnessed a great player turn into an elite player this year. Nate was 1 goal short of potting 40 for the season and 3 points shy of joining the century club. He played like a man among boys for much of the season and I don’t think we’ve come close to seeing the ceiling for MacKinnon.

The team ended the regular season campaign as the youngest squad in the National Hockey League at a ripe age of 25.8 and took the best team in the NHL to 6 games, winning one in their barn.

No one had predicted this.

Earlier in the season, the writers here at MHH put together a list of season predictions. No one had Colorado exceeding 86 points and certainly no one thought they were going to be in a position for a run at Lord Stanley’s cup. They were, for a big part of the season, the most exciting team in hockey.

And for that, to the players and coaches of the Colorado Avalanche, we want to bestow a big Mile High thank you.

Thank you scrubbing the stink off from last season and replacing it with a future that smells like coconut & hibiscus.

Thank you for proving the doubters wrong and the believers right.

Thank you for almost blowing the top off the Can here in Denver during the month of April.

Thank you for lasting longer in the Stanley Cup playoffs than the Minnesota Wild.

Thank you for waking up the city and bringing excitement back to the sport in Colorado.

Thank you for never giving up. Even when you’re down 3-1 in the series and losing by a goal with 4 minutes left in an elimination game.

Thank you for having fun out on the ice each and every game. Your smiles make us smile.

And most importantly, thank you for representing the A and all that it embodies. You’ve made us all proud in what you were able to accomplish this year.

The season labeled as the bounce-back year can only be said once before the novelty wears off. And where there’s success, there’s expectation.

Next season will be playoffs or failure. But I have a feeling for a team where each player has 3 big ol’ cow hearts, 2 pancreases and 5 stomachs, the playoffs should easily be within reach.

No guts, No glory!