AVALANCHE

Forget one parade this summer, Avs and Nuggets can throw two

Apr 2, 2024, 4:00 AM

Gabriel Landeskog Avs parade...

(Photo by Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

One parade this summer from the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets would be a blast.

But forget that.

We want two.

In a summer that’s going to be brutal for baseball in the Mile High City and (potentially) lacking hype for football, the Avs and Nuggets need to do what the Rockies can’t. They have to try their best to get us to Broncos training camp.

That used to be the old joke about the Rockies, can they keep our interest until the end of July? With their embarrassing 1-4 start plagued with Little League mistakes, Dick Monfort’s team might not be worth watching in April.

And while Broncos head coach Sean Payton says it’s “realistic” for his team to trade up in the NFL Draft, we’ll wait and see if that happens. Even if Denver can get up the board and select a franchise quarterback, it’ll be months and months until we see him on the field.

That’s why it makes sense to put all our eggs in the Nathan MacKinnon and Nikola Jokic baskets. What better two to rely on than the best hockey and basketball player on Earth?

Over the holiday weekend, both the Avs and Nuggets locked up playoff spots. It’s become habit in this town, but something we shouldn’t take for granted. The Avalanche will skate for a Stanley Cup for a seventh straight year. The Nuggets are in the NBA postseason for the sixth time in the last six years.

These are the days you will tell your kids, grandkids and great grandkids about one day. Yes, it might be the best era in the history of Denver sports.

So, why not get a little greedy? It’s absolutely realistic we could all gather downtown for two parades within a week or so of each other in June. Heck, the NHL says the Stanley Cup Final could go until June 24. The NBA says its season will end no later than June 23.

Can you imagine the conversion crew at Ball Arena swapping out the ice and hardwood at that point in the year? It’d be too much fun going to a Nuggets / Celtics game one night and then an Avalanche / Bruins contest the next. Both with tremendous stakes on the line.

And while the opponent might not be Boston in one or either sport, you get the gist. Both the Avs and Nuggets are good enough to beat anyone. As the regular seasons have a finish line in sight, the No. 1 seed is still a possibility in the Western Conference for each squad.

MacKinnon and Jokic are the headliners, but both rosters are full of stars. On any given night you could see Cale Makar, Mikko Rantanen, Valeri Nichushkin, Jamal Murray, Aaron Gordon or Michael Porter Jr. put on a show.

Jared Bednar is a top-5 coach in hockey. Michael Malone is a top-5 coach in basketball. Hopefully, the picture being painted here is clear. It’s championship or bust in 2024 for the Avalanche and Nuggets.

Yes, circumstances could happen. Knock on wood neither team faces a significant injury. That’s first and foremost. But also, one of them could lose a Game 7 in heartbreaking fashion. We’ve seen that happen in Denver before and it’s surely going to happen again. Let’s just hope it isn’t this year.

The top players in both locker rooms will tell you a title is the goal; anything else will feel like coming up short. And with that much talent on each roster, that should be the expectation from the guys.

The best part is as fans we just get to sit back and go on the ride. This is why we invest so much time, energy and money into our favorite sports teams. It’s to have a shot at a parade.

You better believe both the Avalanche and Nuggets can make that happen in just three short months.

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