DROP THE MIKE
There’s nothing left for the Avs to accomplish (in the regular season)
Mar 29, 2023, 6:40 AM
(Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
I’ve seen enough. Bring on the playoffs. There’s nothing left for the Avalanche to accomplish during this interminable regular season.
The evidence is there. I loved the back-to-back wins in Arizona and Anaheim. Two professional victories against lousy hockey teams. There was no let up in focus, save for one period in the desert.
The Avs have been dominant in back-to-backs this season. Check out these astounding numbers. They are 15-5-2 in back to backs; 8-2-1 in the second game of those twin bills. They’ve swept six of their last eight BTBs.
Those numbers are a ringing endorsement to the standards set by this hockey team. They don’t mail-in games when most teams would. Plus, in this abhorrent age of “load management,” the Avs don’t play those silly games. All of their key players played both games in Arizona and Anaheim.
If ever there was a hockey team that could give some stars a night off, it would be this team. Win the Stanley Cup in June. Short of-season. Long grind of the big 82. The likelihood of another grueling playoff run. But no. They seem to believe it’s their job to go out there every night. Wow, what a refreshing concept!
Playing the load-management game would’ve made sense with home games this week against Minnesota and Dallas, the teams behind and ahead of them in the Central Division. These games will go a long way towards deciding first-round playoff matchups and home-ice advantage.
Notice I didn’t call these games big, or crucial? That’s because they aren’t.
Long ago, I came to the conclusion it doesn’t matter who this Avs team plays or where. Just like last year, there’s no one I really sweat in the Western Conference. Last year, the team that gave me a little pause was St. Louis. I was correct about that. This year’s “concerns me, but doesn’t scare me” team is the Los Angeles Kings.
Home-ice advantage? Another case where it doesn’t matter with this team. This season, the Avs have already rung up 24 road wins. They need just two more to tie the franchise record. This coming on the heels of a playoff run last spring that saw them go a scorching 9-1 on the road, as they rampaged their way through Nashville, St. Louis, Edmonton and Tampa.
Big games on the road? Huge pressure? Intimidating crowds? Unfriendly whistle? With this team? Yawn.
So lets get this thing over with, shall we? Keep the boys healthy. Get some key guys back. And let’s get down to the business of doing this all over again.