Last night the Avalanche lost. I had a really hard time watching the game. I feel like the team was ready for the all-star break and they felt like they had done enough work up until this point. Never revel in the moment until the job is done. The ultimate goal is winning a Stanley Cup not making it to a position where you have a 70% chance of making the playoffs. The machine marches on. Small victories are exactly that, small. A great team does not simply give up when they think they have exceeded expectations, that is a lack of focus on the true objective. This team has given up for the time being. The focus of this team is not grand enough. Complacency is death and we have seen that over the passed two games. The focus should be the Stanley Cup. Not a playoff spot, that is a step in the journey.
The thing is last night there were plenty of wake up calls where you could see the Avalanche realized they weren’t playing hard enough or fast enough. It took goals from Paul Statsny and Brayden Schenn to light a fire and start the Avalanche. Too bad it was already the Second period by the time this all happened. Both of these goals ended up being PPGs, one of which was scored while the best player on the Ice and currently, best player in the league, Nathan MacKinnon was in the box. The Avalanche have not been drawing a lot of penalties in these last three games. I think there is a correlation between outworking an opponent and them taking a penalty to stay with you. The Avalanche need to recollect themselves and get healthy.
The boys have been dealing with a lot of injuries lately and the call-ups are not performing at a level where the team can sustain a playoff position. Last night 5 AHL level players were in the lineup, Warsofsky, Lindholm, Greer, Toninato, and Bourque. Of these 5 I think one player belongs and that is Gabriel Bourque. He plays to the current identity of the team, small fast and gritty. The rest of the guys are not fast enough physically or mentally to play with this teams identity. Warsofsky could not make a pass or maintain puck control last night. He seemed to be lost in space the entire time he was out there. I do not understand Coach Bednar’s obsession with Toninato. The guy is not even good positionally, disregard his skill level/composure. A.J. Greer is not horrible but he is clearly not the first guy I would call up. Lindholm just does not make great decisions with the puck. The only guy I think is fast enough to play with this team is Rocco Grimaldi but he is still sitting in San Antonio. Bourque can stay up for all that I am concerned. I wish the Avs kept Ben Smith from last year because he fits in this system. I never thought last year that I would miss JT Compher this much, but here we are.
Other than that there were a couple positives from last night. One of which was Patrick Nemeth. The guy can play Defense. His stick is always in the right place, He makes great jumps up into plays, and he is positionally sound. He is one of the four defensemen on this team that can play at this level. Girard is another one of these guys. Last night Girard broke his stick on Slap shot.. well just watch this link Sam Girard’s play.
All in all the Avalanche just need to get it together and get healthy. Hopefully this All-star break is positive for the team and we get some of the guys are out, back.
Complacency does not cut it at the highest level.
Shoutout Cody Mcleod for not clearing waivers, thats amazing.