AVALANCHE

Struggling Avs hold team meeting, The Athletic gives them near-failing grade

Jan 13, 2023, 12:45 PM

The Avalanche were more than 20 minutes late to the ice for their scheduled practice on Friday afternoon.

The reason appears to be a team meeting, as Colorado is stuck in a brutal slump. The Avs are just 1-6-1 over their last eight games, and lost to the lowly Blackhawks 3-2 on Thursday night in Chicago. Colorado is 11th overall in the Western Conference and four points out of a Wild Card playoff spot.

Reporters on the ground at Family Sports noted superstar Nathan Mackinnon was the first to come out of the locker room after the supposed meeting.

It’s a crazy spot for the defending Stanley Cup champions to be in, with just 43 points through 40 games and a 20-17-3 record. Colorado has scored and allowed the same amount of goals on the year at 118.

Injuries have been a well-documented factor, as captain Gabriel Landeskog hasn’t played the entire season and forward Valeri Nichushkin has only been on the ice for 15 games. Josh Manson and Bo Byram remain out, and Mackinnon missed most of the month of December.

In their midseason Power Rankings, The Athletic assigned a grade to every NHL team. The Avs checked in No. 16 in the league, but received a “D” for their efforts thus far. Here’s part of what the publication wrote, also mentioning the injuries, but not buying that as the only excuse:

It’s hard to give the Avalanche a fair grade given all the injury troubles they’ve dealt with. But this is still a team many expected to be at the top of the league and instead they’re middle of the pack, outside the playoff bubble, with an even goal differential, playing at an 88-point pace. Anything but a D-grade is generous — and even that feels a little high. It’s the defending Stanley Cup champions we’re talking about and their first half simply hasn’t been good enough.

The Avalanche only have eight more games before the All-Star break arrives, and that will provided some needed time off. Still, they have to get points between now and then, as the playoffs are slipping away.

We’ll see if the team meeting helped, starting on Saturday night at Ball Arena against the beatable Ottawa Senators.

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