This has been an all around fun season to be an Avalanche fan. It’s been especially fun for me. I found a great community of Avalanche fans via Milehighhockey.com. I only missed about 5 games all season and I got to go to 3 games (most I’ve done in 1 season) at the Pepsi Center.
5 Best Thing About the Regular Season
1. New coach. New players. New goalie. A new hope!
The beginning of the season, we had no idea what was going to happen! We all just knew we didn’t want a repeat of last season. All we knew was our hopes were on the shoulders of a first-time NHL coach, a bunch of young players, and a goalie who was mostly known for checking out ice-girls in Florida.
Now, at the end of the regular season, we’re looking at a Jack Adams contender in Sacco and a Calder finalist in Matt Duchene. The Avalanche rookies have amassed a total of 166 points. And Craig Anderson is legitimately being compared to Patrick Roy.
2. Sakic’s Retirement
“What’s retirement?”, my 6 year old daughter asked on opening night. After I explained what it was she said, “I wish Joe Sakic would keep playing.” Yeah, me too kid. Turns out his timely goals and humble attitude live on with the Avalanche in our young players. This may or may not have anything to do with the creepy Sakic locker shrine in the Pepsi Center.
3. Bernie, The New Mascot
Despite what I may have said towards the beginning of the season, Bernie is a pretty damn cool mascot. My daughter came with us to the 3 games at the Pepsi Center and she instantly fell in love with the mutt. He does a decent job at trying to get the crowd going. Well, what crowd there was.
4. First Avalanche Hat Trick Since December 9, 2007
If it wasn’t a big deal to score 3 goals in one game, it wouldn’t have it’s own special name. On March 6, 2010 Chris Stewart scored his third goal of the night on a penalty shot against the St. Louis Blues breaking a long hat trick drought by the Avalanche.
5. Budaj, The Coach With All The Pads
Craig Anderson started 71 games in goal for the Avalanche. That’s a lot. It’s a record, actually. That meant Budaj spent a lot of time on the bench. He was more than just a talented door closer. He was often seen giving advice to Avalanche players before shootouts, leading to great results (such as a playoff berth!). I could easily see him taking up permanent residence on the bench one day…as a coach.
5 Worst Things About the Regular Season
1. Attendance Woes
On average, the Pepsi Center was at about 77% capacity for Avalanche games. This fact was harped on a couple times by Denver Post writer Adrian Dater and was not well received by some. Considering the Avalanche hold the NHL record for the longest consecutive attendance sell outs with 487, this was something to talk about.
2. Blueberry Jerseys
The Avalanche unveiled their new 3rd jerseys to an ambivalent reaction by fans. The Avs went 4-7-1 in their “Blueberry” jerseys, which did not help the jersey’s cause. I”m not too thrilled with them, but I’d rather they stick around for a while. I don’t want the Avs to turn into the Islanders with jersey redesigns every year.
3. 3rd Period Woes and the Invention of the 2nd 2nd
The goal differential for the Avalanche goes as follows…
- First Period: +9
- Second Period: +21
- Third Period: -19
This is something the Avalanche need to work on for the playoffs and for next season. This is not NCAA basketball. There are more than 2 periods.
The Avalanche finished 25th overall in Shots Against/Game. Allowing 32.1 shots on average. The only other playoff team in the bottom third of league in shots against are the Buffalo Buffaslugs. The Avs cannot expect Anderson to stand on his head for ever.
5. Liles Drama
In Colorado we have plenty of options if we want drama between professional coaches and players. The Broncos have basically taken the “Battle Like It’s Reality TV” title. There’s no reason for the Avalanche to attempt to copy them. Whatever happened between John Michael-Liles and Joe Sacco needs to never happen again.