Everything Else

If you’re of a certain age, you think of the Colorado Avalanche as a villain, You were a fan when they carpetbagged their way into the Western Conference from Quebec, the fully formed monster simply bestowed upon Denver. You remember how they eliminated whatever chance those mid-90s Hawks teams had, which was basically miracle-ing their ass past the Red Wings somehow. You remember how they routinely bashed the brains in of the Hawks.

If you want to get more detailed you remember Tony Amonte shredding his knee in ’96, costing the Hawks any chance they had of winning that series. Or Gary Suter getting mugged at his own blue line to turn Game 5. Or Eddie Belfour furiously searching for the puck in double-OT as Sandis Ozolinch rammed it home to end that era for the Hawks.

You remember the two parades the Avs got, feeling like they never earned it. They weren’t worthy. It seemed so unfair.

Fear not, because since that era, there has been no team more irrelevant than the Colorado Avalanche.

The Avs got Ray Bourque his Cup in 2001. Their defense of it went to the conference final next year before losing to the Red Wings, again. And they haven’t been to a conference final since. 16 years and counting since the Avs saw the final four. Here’s a list of teams that have also not made a conference final in that time:

Florida Panthers

Columbus Blue Jackets

New York Islanders

That’s it.

In that time, you can hardly think of a player or two that define them. Joe Sakic was gone in 2009. Peter Forsberg before that. Does Matt Duchene really move the needle? Gabriel Landeskog? Not until Nathan MacKinnon shows up, and we still don’t know what that will be yet.

The Panthers and Jackets don’t have any pedigree. The Islanders’ is buried in the past. Too much longer, and the Avs will get to say the same as well.

 

Game #38 Preview Suite

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

Most hockey fans roll their eyes whenever they see the Penguins vs. Capitals on their screen. Actually, they do that when the Blackhawks are on the national broadcast as well. Both are understandable, but we’ll focus on the former for now. Pens vs. Caps was shoved down our throats before we even knew what hit us, thanks to the NHL’s desperation to turn Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin into Bird vs. Magic before either had even made the playoffs. The NHL couldn’t, or wouldn’t, wait for it to happen organically, and for the most part I think hockey fans rejected it. Wrestling fans will tell you about a similar scenario with Roman Reigns, but that’s another discussion for another time with much weirder people.

And I think I, and a lot of other fans, have viewed the games between the teams the same way. But I have brought myself out of it, in time to really enjoy last year’s series between the two, and I hope more fans are as well. Because we have two very special players, ones that don’t seem to be appreciated enough, and both are doing things we might not see again and haven’t seen for a very long time.

Everything Else

Last night, the Hawks ratcheted up yet another one-goal victory, their league-leading 17th. That is by some distance, as the next best team has 13 one-goal wins. That doesn’t mean the Hawks have the best win % in one-goal games, which belongs to the Flames (Hawks are 6th in that category). No one is playing more and winning more one-goal games.

But of course that started what few functioning neurons I had left to stir. Are one-goal wins really a matter of skill or know-how, or are they luck? Obviously, the answer is probably a blending of the two but I still wanted to know. In baseball, the only other sport where the scoring is somewhat similar to hockey–but only somewhat–it’s been a given that one-run wins are mostly luck. Or at least they don’t speak to what kind of team you have. After all, your 103-win and World Series Champion Cubs were merely 22-23 in one-run games, and no one is going to say they weren’t the best team in baseball.

Does it work the same in hockey? In order to find out we’re going to have to get in up the elbow in numbers, so put on your rubber gloves. And for just another bullet point in how dumb the NHL site is, they include OT and SO wins in their one-goal wins category but not in the one-goal loss category. The conspiracy to inflate the standings goes deeper than you think, sheeple!!!