The Colorado Avalanche are insistent that this is not last year’s team. That this year’s team isn’t the same team that finished the season with the worst record in the modern era. That the team that went 0-4-1 on a five-game homestand that sent them spiraling out of control last December is nothing like the one they have now. But losing to the lowly Buffalo Sabres on the final night of their longest stretch at home so far this year gives a feeling all too familiar.

After being one of the NHL’s best teams on home ice in the months of October and November, the Avs have now lost three straight, and four of five at Pepsi Center.

While it is important to note that the Avs were without captain Gabe Landeskog for all but one of those games, that doesn’t excuse the product they rolled out in front of the home crowd. Lethargic play, slow starts, sloppy play in the defensive zone, and a real lack of offense all came to a head when the team lost what seemed like an easy win against the league’s worst team to help get them out of their funk.

“We look like we’re tired, and I don’t believe we are,” head coach Jared Bednar said after his team’s 4-2 loss. “It’s not disastrous, but it’s concerning because we’re not playing, you know, the way we can play.”

The coaching staff was looking for a spark in what felt like a must-win game. They called up Rocco Grimaldi trying to give themselves some depth scoring. However, once again the team’s only offense came off the stick of Nathan MacKinnon, who was brilliant tonight. And while it’s great to see the emergence of MacKinnon playing at an elite level, him carrying the load has become too much of a trend. You don’t win very many games when only one guy shows up.

“Yeah, it’s uh, everybody’s disappointed,” Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen said. “We knew we had to win the game, it was a big game for us but we couldn’t do that. It’s disappointing”

The team poured shots on net. Unfortunately, they were low percentage shots with very little follow-up. And even though the Avs were near 40 shots on goal when it was all said and done, you never really got the sense that they were on the verge of breaking through. And any time you DID start to feel that the Avs were threatening to take over, they would take a penalty or hand a golden opportunity to the opposition, effectively killing any momentum they might have created.

“We gave them everything, I thought,” a bloodied Nathan Mackinnon said after the game. Three of Buffalo’s goals came off of Colorado turnovers, something that plagued the team during all four of their losses at home.

Sound familiar yet? This team just can’t seem to get anything going right now. What is perhaps more concerning than the final score, is that they don’t seem to be pushing back much. And while the leaders in the locker room stand firm this is a new team, a new year, and with such a young group, there’s no telling if they are capable of bouncing back.

“I don’t really want to think last year that much,” Rantanen said. “It’s a new year and it was a tough homestand, for sure, but can’t hide with that. It’s four losses out of five so it’s not good enough. But we have to reset. There’s a lot of games left so we are going on the road and we have to come up with a lot of points there.”

The Avalanche lost what felt like a must-win game in December. They now head east to take on three of the NHL’s best teams. It’s time for the leaders of the team to not only say this isn’t the same team but to go prove it.

Jackson’s Presentation banner 728
  • Av-a-dabba-doo

    Good write-up. This sentence hit the nail on the head for me: “The team poured shots on net. Unfortunately, they were low percentage shots with very little follow-up”. Right and right. Very few quality scoring chances of late, and usually nobody particularly close for a possible tap-in. Imagine a basketball team unable to create good looks and also having no offensive rebounding. Not gonna win games that way.

  • MikeL

    they really did look tired last night

    • Charlie Anderson

      They look depressed.

  • MikeL

    Mikko is not pulling his weight, Kerfoot has disappeared, and Yak can’t keep the puck on his stick. Last night even Compher looked slow.

  • Charlie Anderson

    I have just realized that Bednar is exactly the wrong person for this rebuild. The Avs need his opposite. They need someone to ride the roller-coaster with them. That means yelling at them when they are stupid. And yelling at refs when they are stupid. They need someone that can say, or yell, “Come on we’re the underdog, lets fight harder, lets get angry, lets get our crowd into it, win or lose.” He seems to be trying to take the passion and emotion out of them. While I understand that approach with a young team, all it’s resulting in is boring play and a depressed team making lots of mistake because they are too nervous in his system. Plus he just sucks as a coach at this level, for instance, playing Bernie against the Stars and then not pulling him after 3 goals on 8 shots or whatever. Time to shake this turd loose.

    • CaliMark

      You’re blaming Bednar for this pathetic lineup? He deserves credit for keeping them competitive. The terrible personnel decisions by Sakic and the horrendous drafting over the past 10 years is the reason this team sucks.

      • Charlie Anderson

        They’re not competitive right now, and they weren’t last year. But I’m just saying that I now think Bednar is part of the problem, not the solution. I think Roy also carries some blame, and possibly the dynamic between Roy and Sakic caused a paralyzing effect on draft day. You definitely have a point about the bad drafting.

      • Durdles

        Part of the blame is always going to fall on the coach when a team is bad. This is especially true when the same mistakes are made or adjustments to deficiencies aren’t there.

    • OCMS

      This isn’t football. This isn’t basketball. Hockey coaches are like baseball coaches and show little emotion. Show me another coach in the NHL who acts the way want Bednar to behind the bench. Hockey coaches need to display calm and composure. The game is too emotional for the coach to be riding waves of emotion rather than having an even keel.

    • James G

      You must have missed the MacK interview where he states “its nice not to have a coach that is up and down all the time”.

  • Drizzt1

    Bednar couldn’t inspire a kid in a lolly shop. He’s a drone. Passionless. We’ve only won 46$ of our games this year, 26% of our games last year. As a coach, Bednar’s stats are historically bad, but no-one cares – fans even defend him, because the fanbase have just become so used to losing, they celebrate it.

  • In 2001 Peter the Great went out for surgery after the first round of the finals. The TEAM sucked it up and played hockey. We all know where that ended. Landy is out, suck it up and play. I don’t want to hear why you can’t do something I want to see you do what I and you know you can do!

    • Jimbotronn

      I think it’s fair to say that the 2001 team had a bit more talent to fall back on than this one does.

Jackson’s Presentation banner 728