Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche are growing up

The Colorado Avalanche are finding themselves in this young NHL season.

Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Every locker room has a certain vibe when you walk into it immediately following a game. After losses, you can expect to hear the ripping of velcro as the definitive noise in the room.

But last night, after the Colorado Avalanche dispatched the Los Angeles Kings with relative ease, there was just the occasional small talk…about breakfast food?

As Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog argued about whether or not pancakes were a “superfood” (they most definitely are), the crux of the issue seemed to come down to the inclusion of syrup or not.

That kind of postgame conversation goes to show how casually the Avalanche had just taken care of the team currently inhabiting last place in the league. The 7-3 beatdown in Los Angeles came just days after the Avalanche had come back from a two-goal deficit to beat the Anaheim Ducks in overtime, a game in which the score was deceiving relative to the dominance the Avalanche displayed on the ice.

Wednesday night at Staples Center, there was nothing deceiving about the score. These are two franchises headed in vastly different directions as the Kings, who have already fired their head coach, look to find an identity amidst their unexpected struggles.

Colorado, on the other hand, is a team with legitimate aspirations for the first time in years. They were a surprise playoff team last season and that success raised the bar on what this year’s team should be able to accomplish. A strong start was betrayed by a five-game losing streak and it looked like Colorado was on the verge of sinking back to the depths of being a pretender.

And then instead of allowing the hole to get deeper, this Avalanche group climbed out. They responded to their skid by winning four of five, their only loss coming in overtime against the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals (albeit one missing three key players).

The Avalanche welcomed in a Boston Bruins team that regularly gets talked about as a team with the best top line alongside Colorado’s. The big guns for the Avalanche didn’t say anything leading up to the game but walked the walk come game night. They dropped six points on the Bruins as they came back from a two-goal deficit and blew them away in a dominant third period, winning 6-3.

Comebacks have been a theme of this team’s success since ending their losing streak. Their only wire-to-wire victories were against Edmonton and Los Angeles, both road victories against weaker teams but in venues the Avalanche have badly struggled in recent years.

And that’s part of what makes this stretch as impressive as it has been. The Avalanche have won three consecutive road games and have seven already this year. Consider they had 15 road wins all of last year and they’ve played just eight of 21 games in the Pepsi Center and you see a team that’s beginning to grow up right in front of us.

Last year was considered purely a development year where results didn’t matter much and the maturation of young players was all anyone was concerned with. Because that scrappy forced their way into the postseason with a beatdown of the St. Louis Blues in game 82, there was a temptation to try to fast track this group and go spend money on external improvements.

Instead, the Avalanche stayed the course. They played the patient card and said they wanted to see another year of what they had in the young guys. So far, the response has been very positive.

Alexander Kerfoot is on pace for a 66-point season. Sam Girard has been elevated to playing on Colorado’s top pairing and has responded by putting up a 35-point pace while quarterbacking arguably the league’s most prolific second power-play unit. Tyson Jost had a slow start but has five points in the six games since he returned from injury. J.T. Compher had four points in five games before suffering a concussion that it looks like he’s finally ready to return from. Even Vladislav Kamenev has found his way to five points despite averaging under 10 minutes of ice time.

All of this is to say Colorado’s youth movement is still working. It wasn’t just about last year’s team but the continued growth and maturation of the key young pieces on this team. This road trip has already been successful but a win tomorrow night in Arizona against a similarly upstart Coyotes team would be huge for an Avalanche squad that is still finding their way through the ups and downs of confidence swings.

In recent years, tasting a little success left the Avalanche self-satisfied, leading to complacency and the predictable losing that followed. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure as they found success, got on their high horse, got knocked back down, found their hunger, and repeated the cycle.

But this year’s group feels different. It all comes back to the vibe you feel when you walk into a locker room. Instead of carrying on as they’d just won something big, Colorado’s biggest stars were talking about breakfast choices.

It’s like that moment we all experience in life when we find ourselves in the store eschewing the pull of the marshmallow gun in favor of the deal on kitchen trash bags. Maybe you end up with both, but you’re definitely walking out of there with the trash bags. Maturity gets to most of us eventually.

It looks like that moment might finally be here for the Colorado Avalanche.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Rufus_Leaky

    November 24, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    I’m waiting for my super food while reading this. Great stuff. And I’m betting MacK is advocating for it being a super food. Hard to argue with that.

  2. aaherter

    November 23, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Thanks for the update. BSN is definitely the go to for AVS coverage these days. Also, has anyone tried to putting french toast in their waffle maker? You get the best function of a waffle with the flavor of french toast.

  3. bjjones05

    November 23, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Well written article. If this a taste of the breakfast menu, I can’t wait to see what awaits us for lunch and dinner!! Go Avs!!!

  4. Dayton Buchanan

    November 23, 2018 at 9:56 am

    was… was that a parks and rec reference I see?

  5. BHGodlyGovt

    November 23, 2018 at 7:13 am

    Of course, we all have to realize that the 5-game losing streak came with the worse schedule I have seen over 2 weeks in ANY sport, and now that we are back to a normal schedule we are 4-0-1?!? Can’t tell me that’s just a coincidence. I am firmly convinced that 5-game losing streak was a fluke, and their resiliency these last 5 games proves that to me. This team definitely has grown up, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this season holds. Who knows, maybe we will be one of the teams looking for a rental this year, instead of being one of the teams that is trying to sell off rentals!

  6. ljp78

    November 22, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    I had a sampler plate about a month ago with pancakes, waffles, and french toast. I couldn’t honestly make a choice as to which one one best.

  7. Clint16

    November 22, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    I like you’re take on waffles.. and I fully support the flavour compartments and their advantage over traditional pancakes…. but nothing beats Finnish pancakes, or “crepes” as some people call them ❤️

  8. KCRybek

    November 22, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    I think we can all agree waffles are better than pancakes. And also that Led Zeppelin is disgustingly over rated

    • i2strange97

      November 22, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      Waffles have little flavor storage units all over them…

    • coker.nathan

      November 22, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      Led Zepplin is the greatest rock band of all time.

      • i2strange97

        November 22, 2018 at 5:56 pm

        Why in Howards name would you want a zeppelin made out of lead?

        • jpwheels

          November 22, 2018 at 6:50 pm

          lmao…
          i had to read it twice before it clicked…
          but too damned funny…

      • KCRybek

        November 23, 2018 at 9:04 am

        Lol not sure if serious

        • Nels

          November 23, 2018 at 9:50 am

          My dad told me they got the name because they were practicing in one of their garages and whoevers place it was, their dad walked in and said they were going up like a lead zepplin. One of the top 5 bands of all time, if only for Immigrant Song. French toast all the way baby!

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply