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Disjointed Avalanche need a reset

There’s plenty of issues surrounding this team.

NHL: JAN 12 Avalanche at Blackhawks Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche can no longer say injuries are the only problem.

In fact, there’s probably so much more going on behind the scenes no one knows about which is more concerning. Specifically: a lack of identity as one of them. Duct tape and bandages won’t fix any of those issues.

Yes, injuries are still certainly a concern and play a part in this as well. We just saw another example of this Thursday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. Pavel Francouz returned from injury and illness in the losing effort, while also losing Darren Helm in the process with currently an undisclosed injury.

A prime example of having no identity comes in the form of a man in the locker room to lift their team up. Evan Rodrigues has said the same quote multiple times recently: “just not good enough.” How do the Avs move on from saying it’s not good enough every time after a loss and make the changes necessary?

There need to be changes within the organization. Not in terms of the back office or on the bench. Rather, in the personnel going on the ice on a nightly basis. This is tough in this instance of course due to injury. However, the same 18-19 players Jared Bednar has used recently have not met expectations, and some new faces and fresh starts might be the place to go.

One example might be changing the fourth line a little bit. Martin Kaut has been a name on the roster the last few games and has done nothing to show he’s worth staying up on the fourth line. He also has not gotten any play in the middle six as he had earlier this season.

Perhaps getting a grittier player to fit the play style of Kurtis MacDermid or Jacob MacDonald will work better on the line. One or a combination of Anton Blidh, Alex Galchenyuk, Shane Bowers, or Charles Hudon could get another shot with the organization.

However, Jared Bednar may be forced to coach them more than he’d wish which may be a concern for him. Something just needs to change to show this team still has some fight in them. With recent results, it almost seems as if last week’s overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers was a fluke win. If it weren’t for the win, the Avs would be on an eight-game losing streak.

Incredibly, Colorado has fallen behind both the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators in the standings down to sixth in the Central Division. They sit in eleventh in the Western Conference. They are seven points behind the third-place Minnesota Wild and an impressive 14 points behind the Central-leading Dallas Stars.

At this point, winning the division for a third year in a row is out of reach. It’s time to watch this team like the 2017-18 and 2018-19 teams: just hope and pray they can find a way to get into the playoffs with a wild card spot.

This is the best shot for the Avalanche to make their way into the postseason for the sixth straight year. They sit four points out of the second wild-card spot, currently held by the Edmonton Oilers. The Avs have games in hand over everyone above them in the standings. They also have one of the easier schedules to end the year. They need these factors and more to work in their favor to have any chance at securing a postseason spot.

Despite the position Colorado sits in, there’s no way anyone in the organization is thinking of throwing in the towel on the season. They are still going to hunt for the playoffs and pray results to work in their favor along with players returning from injury and staying healthy.

At this point, they have eight games remaining until the All-Star Break. If they can stay above .500 by the time the All-Star Break begins, they can do their best to save the season best they can. It’s all they can hope for now.