“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...
“It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way...”
The famous opening paragraph of Charles Dickens’ classic A Tale of Two Cities very accurately summarizes the state of the Colorado Avalanche and its fan base.
Yes, the last two weeks have been tough and trying times. And by most accounts, fans want to go scorched-earth on the team, trade away all of its players and try it again next season.
Here’s a reminder that we’re not even at the quarter-mark of the NHL season. Colorado can’t lose — and won’t lose — the remainder of its games, or even a majority of its games. They’ll figure it out eventually.
Let’s get to it...
Hey Scott. Do you think there is some overreaction going on right now in the Avs fan base? We arent even a quarter of the way into the season yet.— Bryan Pedigo (@BryanPedigo2) November 4, 2019
Yes, thank you, Bryan.
This was really the only level-headed response I received in this week’s Twitter Tuesday mailbag. I threw it in as the first question this week so fans can keep scrolling back to the top of this page and reference it.
A reminder that it’s all going to be ok.
The hot start was nice, but half the forwards are new faces. And, a third of the D corp is 21 years old. This team is very young. Is it possible this team has to much expectation at this point?— GreatBaldyOne (@GreatBaldyOne) November 4, 2019
I’m also glad this was brought up. It’s one of the 10 questions I posed for this Avalanche team at the beginning of the season (see “Related” below).
Indeed, heading into the season, the exceptions were fairly high, if not maybe a little too high. For a team to enter a campaign with the fifth-best odds to win the Stanley Cup just a few seasons after posting one of the worst seasons in modern NHL history was probably a bit of a long shot. On paper, this team is very good. This was to be expected. In the journey to success, there are always a few roadblocks along the way. Like A Tale of Two Cities — or really any book or movie plot-line — one must face adversity to find success.
While, yes, I think the expectations were a bit lofty heading into the season, I think the Avs will still have somewhat of a Cup-run of a year. This team will make the playoffs and will likely do some damage there as well. Losing two-thirds of your top-line pretty much at the same time aren’t ever going to help your cause. That’s really all that’s happening here. The team will need to readjust in the next couple of weeks, and they will, while two of its biggest stars are sidelined. They’ll figure it out, and then when the team gets back to 100 percent healthy, we’ll be back to our regularly-scheduled programming of top-notch Avalanche hockey.
How long until they look for help on the trade market? It’s not do or die, but this team has very high expectations, and they’re not meeting them right now. Mikko probably isn’t far off, but I’m not sure that will be enough.— MakarForCalder (@AvsCOL) November 4, 2019
What do our trade prospects look like at this point?— J.T. (@azavsfan) November 4, 2019
Ah, yes. This happens every time a team loses more than like four games in a row. Everyone looks to the trade market for answers. It’s way to early Sakic to look at the trade market right now. Especially given how deep this organization is now, the team would look to Loveland for a call-up before, which they’ve already done, rather than give up assets in the trade market.
If it were like this nearer the All-Star break, then maybe the team looks at the trade market. In November, however, no chance.
Let’s re-posit this question in this way. “What do the trade prospects look like...down the road?” If there’s anyone on the trading block for Colorado right now, it’s likely guys like Nikita Zadorov, Ryan Graves, Mark Barberio, Colin Wilson and Matt Nieto. Those would be my guesses as to who the Avs might trade nearer the February NHL trade deadline.
Are the Rantanen and Landeskog injuries affecting the Avalanche?— Marqis (@marQisHG) November 4, 2019
100 percent, yes. The team is 1-4-1 in the last six since losing Rantanen and then Landeskog the following game. The Avs were out-scoring opponents 36-21 (4.5 goals-per-game average). Since losing its two stars, Colorado has been out-scored 21-11, scoring just 1.6 goals per game on average.
So yes, there’s a very clear correlation between how the Avs do with their complete line versus how the team does without two of its biggest stars.
Adjusting on the fly in game to what is working and not, along with dealing with injuries is a key to effective coaching. What is Bednar doing right, wrong and what should he be doing differently?— Jim (@JimCarlson1571) November 4, 2019
When does Bednar move to a more defensive strategy to account for the loss of high end talent? When does Bednar simplify the PP to a shot volume system, rather than shot quality?— dio (@JBenn4Buffs) November 4, 2019
I think the only thing Bednar is doing wrong is trying to load up the top-line to play around MacKinnon, adding Kadri and Donskoi to his No. 1 unit.
The Avs’ strength this season has been its ability to roll with all four lines and create some depth scoring. The problem that has plagued Colorado in the past has been it’s been a “one-line” team with little to no depth scoring. Bednar fell into his old ways by trying to put his most talented guys around MacKinnon on the top-line. I think he needs to roll with the punches, put Kadri back in his center position on the second line, move Burakovsky to the top unit and keep your bottom lines the same. That’s my opinion, at least.
As far as the “defensive strategy,” that’s not, and really won’t be, the Avs’ modus operandi. They’re a quick, puck-moving team, as are its defensemen. They need to keep rolling with that identity. Stay the course, Bednar and the team will right the ship eventually.
Do Eagles questions count? Would love more info on the Kaut and Joly injuries.— Marie Sexton (@MarieSexton) November 4, 2019
I always love me some Eagles questions. I’m down in Loveland once or twice a week talking to those guys, so arguably I’m probably a little better-versed in that regard.
Here’s your update:
Coach Cronin told me after @ColoradoEagles practice today that both Martin Kaut and Michael Joly (both upper-body injuries) are day-to-day.— Scott MacDonald (@0ffScottFree) November 4, 2019
Said he "doesn't expect to see them this week, but who knows."
No update on Antoine Bibeau. Coach said "no idea"#EaglesCountry #GoAvsGo
More questions? Hit me up on Twitter @0ffScottFree and I’ll see you next Tuesday!