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Darryl Sutter would bet on the Avalanche making the playoffs

LAB #11: The Calgary Flames head coach says the Avalanche will likely finish one of the Central Division’s top three teams.

NHL: DEC 31 Canucks at Flames Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Darryl Sutter was interviewed by media members ahead of the Colorado Avalanche coming to Calgary to meet the Flames in a much-anticipated matchup. Sutter is well known for his golden quotes. A couple of those quotes have been about the Colorado Avalanche. This week's Mile High Hockey Lab features a conversation about where the Avalanche should aim to end up in the standings and is hosted by Adrian Hernandez, with Jackie Kay, Evan Liu, and Jacob Weindling making up our panel of writers.

Last season Sutter mentioned that playing the Avalanche in the first round of the playoffs would be "a waste of eight days." This time, his quote revolves around whether an injury-riddled and struggling Avalanche team has what it takes to return to the playoffs and repeat as Stanley Cup champions. Here is the clip:

In this week's Mile High Hockey Lab episode, we also discussed the most likely outcome for this squad. Before hearing the comments from Sutter, our very own Jackie Kay saw things very similarly. The entire panel agrees that taking on the whole division doesn't seem likely, and aiming for third in the division is reasonable.

Colorado's consecutive and high-scoring victories over the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings naturally spurred on talks of this Avalanche team returning to their old form. Jacob Weindling thinks that Colorado is missing one essential piece to the truth of that statement. That piece is captain Gabe Landeskog.

This leads our conversation into recent injury status updates again, courtesy of Jackie Kay. Starting with Landy, he is not in Colorado, according to Jared Bednar but receiving treatment elsewhere. Is it possible he's working with the same world-renowned establishment that Bo Byram recently visited? It's possible.

On the positive side, it sounds like defensemen Josh Manson and Bo Byram should return after the all-star break. Manson made the trip to Calgary, but it's still unclear whether he will return to the lineup against the Flames. Maybe later on in the road trip against the Kraken? Jackie broke it down for us.

We then circled back to why we don't believe we've seen enough to say the Avalanche are "back." Whatever that means. Editor Evan Liu gave more context to a tweet sent out during Colorado's win over the Detroit Red Wings. To paraphrase, the Avalanche must consistently show this effort and success against more formidable opponents to be considered as dangerous as last year's cup-winning club.

Please don’t forget to listen to the entire episode of Mile High Hockey Lab #11 on your preferred listening platform. All shows are available in their recorded form on iTunes, Spotify, and Audible. Also, subscribe to our YouTube Channel and turn on notifications to be alerted to our live broadcasts!