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Halfway There: The state of the Colorado Avalanche

Assessing the Stanley Cup champs after playing Game 41.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time to address the nation with The State of the Union. The State of the Colorado Avalanche union, rather. I may be a political science student, but not at this moment.

Aside from the digression, the Avs have had quite a tumultuous first half of the season. Saturday night’s decisive 7-0 win over the Ottawa Senators was Game 41 of the year, crossing the halfway point of the season en route to Game 82 in April. Here’s where the Colorado Avalanche sits right now.

The Avs have been a part of history in both good and bad ways this season. Colorado has used 38 players this season, the most of any team across the league. They are only one player away from tying an Avalanche record for most players used in a season.

While it may be bad history for the Avs, there is some good history too. Mikko Rantanen set a franchise record, scoring 29 goals by the halfway point of the season - the most in Avalanche history. He has easily been the star of the season for the Avs so far.

Of course, Colorado is certainly not where they would want to be. The fan base has been spoiled by winning the 2022 Stanley Cup, and the expectations are to do it again and again and again. Being out of the playoffs at this moment in time is not ideal for anyone within the organization.

No matter where people stand - whether they should stock up for the upcoming NHL Draft or continue to push for a lower wild card spot - the Avs will continue to push forward. There’s no way anyone within the organization is going to curl up in a ball and give up on the season.

With that being said, it has been a subpar first half of the season.

It is what it is at this point. Colorado needs to put the first half of the season in the rearview mirror and push ahead with the second half of the season. They just finished the first half of the season, while every team ahead of them in the standings has played more games than the Avs.

Colorado theoretically speaking has an easier schedule to end the season. This includes several games against the St. Louis Blues, Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks, and San Jose Sharks. While they seem winnable on paper, we saw what happened a few days ago against the Chicago Blackhawks. Therefore, who knows what’ll happen when they play teams who have a negative record. But, wins against these teams multiple times will only help them climb up the standings.

Saturday night’s win over the Sens could be a season-changing win. However, it does inflate the numbers above a little more than they had been before the blowout. The team did have a meeting before practice on Friday, delaying the start of practice by about half an hour. Whatever was said in there will hopefully steer the team in the right direction like the win they earned not too long ago.

Along with the subpar first half of the season came with the storyline of the season: injuries. Of course, the Avs have still not been with captain Gabriel Landeskog all season. Darren Helm returned after being hurt all year for a couple games, before re-injuring himself. Same can be said about Valeri Nichushkin. Defensively, Bowen Byram and Josh Manson also continue to suffer setbacks and remain out for an extended period of time.

At this moment, the Avs just need to get to the NHL All-Star Game and break. They have seven games remaining until the end of January/beginning of February when the break begins. Currently sitting just above a .500 record, the Avs need to stay at it or higher to feel as if they’re in a good position to keep competing.

If they can keep up the heat, stay on top of things, and admire the pressure, they will be okay. Should they also get those injured names above back and healthy by late February - and most importantly stay healthy - they could rock and roll in the second half of the season.

For now, the second half kicks off now. Let’s see where the Avalanche take us on the journey from here on out.