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11-16-2012, 06:32 AM
  #1
jnorthall
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How the Colorado Avalanche will make the playoffs

I think that the Avs will make the playoffs next season by:

Winning More Divisional Games
Less Shots on Goal from the Opposition
Gabriel Landeskog being named captain
Taking More Games to Overtime
The real Semyon Varlamov turning up


Sorry if sacking Joe Sacco is your number one priority.


Last edited by jnorthall: 11-16-2012 at 06:50 AM. Reason: Link incorrectly entered
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11-16-2012, 06:44 AM
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Funny you'd mention the Kings, whom we swept in our season series.

My thoughts:

We did fine on shots against last year actually, our defense managed to keep them more to the outside than inside. And when we did lose, it was more often the games where we out shot the competition but they got better quality scoring chances.

Paralleling off the previous point, this brings up our need for a strongest top end defender on this squad that knows how to play defensively like EJ does. Strip the puck, control the play and clear the zone. We got trapped in our own zone wayyyyy too much and for too long of periods of time.

On more games to overtime, I believe part of the problem was actually losing games in the final minutes. I seem to remember a lot of trouble in the final 5-10 minutes of games and having the other team scoring the game winning goal during those times, anyone else remember that?

As for Varly, most of us are pretty confident in him. The real Varlamov showed up from mid-Jan onwards when he played lights out and showed his effectiveness when he is tested with a lot of shots. He's a mental guy, needs to go on a roll to get himself into the game and when he's peppered with 35+ shots and stops all but 1 or 2 each game, you're definitely looking at a guy that could be a top 5-10 goalie perennially with that talent.

If I were asked, I'd say the keys would be consistent offensive threats from all of our lines. We were far too '1-lined' last year, with usually only one center's line playing up to their potential, generally that was O'Reilly or Duchene with Stastny just shaking his head at people's missed scoring attempts.

Definitely puck movement on the back end, our guys need to stop playing outside of their abilities and leave it to those that can rush the puck. Orr'Brien and Hejda specifically, just play a physical defensive game and stop pulling out the spin moves at the red line.

Re-emergence of Duchene, we need his game-breaking ability to return and give other teams trouble trying to contain his speed.

Lastly, special teams. We need to be drawing more penalties and we need to be capitalizing on them. Our success came when we had a couple PP opportunities and scored at least a goal. But we were the least favored team all season in terms of being granted PP's and it hurt our offensive abilities pretty badly.

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11-16-2012, 10:34 AM
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Winning More Divisional Games – Definitely agree, but this is somewhat of a no brainer. Comparing the abysmal Avs divisional record against other teams in other divisions, it’s pretty obvious the Avs have to compete at a minimum of .500 against other NW teams.

Less Shots on Goal from the Opposition – Disagree. The Avs were actually top 10 in SA/G, and 11th in S/G. The problem is that they didn’t get quality shots on offense. Kind of funny – we used to complain all the time that the Avs never put the puck towards the net. They did that last year, without much success. Getting a little more skill in the winger positions should help them this year.

Gabriel Landeskog being named captain – I don’t see what this really had to do with the Avs making the playoffs. Landeskog hasn’t ever been in the playoffs, so it’s not like he can get the guys ready for a series.

Taking More Games to Overtime – The 8 west playoff teams averaged about 10.5 OTL, and the Avs had 6. If they had 4 more points they would have still been on the outside of the playoffs by 3 points, but it would help. Gotta score though to get to overtime.

The real Semyon Varlamov turning up – I think this is valid, but I disagree with most on Varlamov. I think the deviations Varlamov showed last year are just too wild. If they guy was just solid we’d be off much better. If he could play EVERY game somewhere in between the end of the year and the beginning of the year, and do it on a consistent basis – we’d be in pretty good shape. Expecting him to come in and play like he did post-Jan may be too much to expect from the kid. We just need consistent goaltending on a nightly basis.

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11-16-2012, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorthall View Post
I think that the Avs will make the playoffs next season by:

Winning More Divisional Games
Less Shots on Goal from the Opposition
Gabriel Landeskog being named captain
Taking More Games to Overtime
The real Semyon Varlamov turning up


Sorry if sacking Joe Sacco is your number one priority.
I really think we will struggle to make the play-offs this year on the back of a number of factors, some of which are outside of the clubs control.

+ Chemistry: Being such a young club, our players are just learning to have chemistry with one and other, and are just starting to mature as players. The LAST thing our club needed was a lock-out, because it may regress some of the progression we made last year, and last year was a huge step up from the season before, where we had that god awful losing streak to finish the year.

+ Coaching Staff: With Deadmarsh, Lefev., leaving Sacco, and two new assistants in, I wonder what the chemistry between the coaching staff and the players will be. On the flipside, this may have a POSITIVE affect on our team, so there, some positivity.

+ Home Stadium: Is it just me, or does the ice etc seem more choppy at Pepsi Center than it does at other arena's? I think this has a lot to do with why our team appears to have poor passing, and puck handling skills especially over the past 2-3 years. Again, I could be wrong, but I do tend to believe we seem a more crisp team away from home, regardless of the results.

+ Injured Players: We have Hejda, Downie and Duchene all returning from pretty serious injury. The NHL isn't the Swedish Elite League. It's the NHL, and they'll need to step up another two to three paces to be on par.

+ Chemistry 2: I have concerns at both the introduction of new players (like Parenteau), but also the fact that he may be paired with player(s) who BOTH need a rebound year (Duchene / Hejduk). Johnson is yet to find a proper 1st pairing partner of quality and substance.

ON the positive side of things, I don't think we are far off. One blue chip scoring winger, and one number one / two D-man, and I believe we are competitors. In goal, we are outstanding. Down the middle, we are fantastic. I'm also going to say this, but what I saw in Joe Sacco his 1st year of being with the top team, shows me he CAN get the team motivated, when the team buys into his culture.

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11-16-2012, 11:04 PM
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Just get rid of Sacco, and... Boom! Playoff team.

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11-17-2012, 12:00 AM
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Just get rid of Sacco, and... Boom! Playoff team.
yes, it's clearly Sacco's fault that the team's best center scored 28 points, their shutdown pairing was a combined -22, and their starting goalie took four months to break a .900 save%

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11-17-2012, 12:13 AM
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yes, it's clearly Sacco's fault that the team's best center scored 28 points, their shutdown pairing was a combined -22, and their starting goalie took four months to break a .900 save%
It was Sacco's fault that the teams best centre was playing wing, they're best defender wasn't getting the lions share of time on ice and for riding his starting goalie to the ground.

Not saying the avs are a sure fire playoff team without Sacco but they would have a better shot with a monkey behind the bench. What's maggie upto these days?

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11-17-2012, 08:21 AM
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Ivan13
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Avs ''best'' center played like crap even before he got shifted to wing and their best d-man was battling inconsistency and chronic back issues.

It's fun to poke fun at Sacco but ''lets be reality'' here for a second.

PS

And how did he exactly run his starting goalie to the ground?


Last edited by Ivan13: 11-17-2012 at 09:51 AM.
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11-17-2012, 09:37 AM
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Also, Quenneville, Granato and Sacco three out of the last four seasons...maybe, just maybe it ain't the coach??? We can only continue to blame the coach(es) for so long.

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11-17-2012, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Bonzai12 View Post
The real Semyon Varlamov turning up I think this is valid, but I disagree with most on Varlamov. I think the deviations Varlamov showed last year are just too wild. If they guy was just solid wed be off much better. If he could play EVERY game somewhere in between the end of the year and the beginning of the year, and do it on a consistent basis wed be in pretty good shape. Expecting him to come in and play like he did post-Jan may be too much to expect from the kid. We just need consistent goaltending on a nightly basis.
Considering he was a young goalie on a new team with a completely rebuilt defense playing #1 minutes for the first time, Varlamov did fine. Consistency comes with experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drizzt1 View Post
Also, Quenneville, Granato and Sacco three out of the last four seasons...maybe, just maybe it ain't the coach??? We can only continue to blame the coach(es) for so long.
Granato and Sacco are the only coaches here for the last four years. But I'd say we can only really judge Sacco in terms of this since most of the team that Q and Granato had is gone.

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11-17-2012, 12:45 PM
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They won't.

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11-17-2012, 12:50 PM
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Avs ''best'' center played like crap even before he got shifted to wing and their best d-man was battling inconsistency and chronic back issues.

It's fun to poke fun at Sacco but ''lets be reality'' here for a second.

PS

And how did he exactly run his starting goalie to the ground?
After Duchene's initial bad start he had 12pts in 14 in November, not that great but solid. Sacco then because he's a genius puts him on wing with Stastny and completely derails his season. Matt's bad play is on himslef but Sacco definitely had a hand in ruining his season.

EJ had a bad start as well but after he came back from injury he playing like a man possessed but Sacco absolutely refused to play him as a number 1 defender. Preferring to play Hejda, ROB and even SOB at times more than EJ.

As for running Varly to the ground there were numerous times where you could see Varly was struggling and needed to be pulled but Sacco left him out there killing the kids confidence.

Right now the number 1 problem with the avs, is their moron of a coach. Whoever doesn't see that is blind.

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11-17-2012, 01:56 PM
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Avs #1 problem is the complete inabilty of their d-men to help their forwards in the offensive part of the game.

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11-17-2012, 03:39 PM
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After Duchene's initial bad start he had 12pts in 14 in November, not that great but solid. Sacco then because he's a genius puts him on wing with Stastny and completely derails his season. Matt's bad play is on himslef but Sacco definitely had a hand in ruining his season.

EJ had a bad start as well but after he came back from injury he playing like a man possessed but Sacco absolutely refused to play him as a number 1 defender. Preferring to play Hejda, ROB and even SOB at times more than EJ.

As for running Varly to the ground there were numerous times where you could see Varly was struggling and needed to be pulled but Sacco left him out there killing the kids confidence.

Right now the number 1 problem with the avs, is their moron of a coach. Whoever doesn't see that is blind.
This was abhorrent to me.

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11-17-2012, 03:42 PM
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yes, it's clearly Sacco's fault that the team's best center scored 28 points, their shutdown pairing was a combined -22, and their starting goalie took four months to break a .900 save%
I don't think you're aware of what he's done last year. Also, it worked it with St. Louis, it might just have a chance to work for the Avs. A coach can change everything.

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11-17-2012, 05:02 PM
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I don't think you're aware of what he's done last year. Also, it worked it with St. Louis, it might just have a chance to work for the Avs. A coach can change everything.
St. Louis was already the 3rd best team at shot prevention before Hitch was hired. A coach alone cannot turn Colorado into a playoff team.

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11-17-2012, 05:15 PM
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step 1: sign a cba

step 2: ????

step 3: profit

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11-17-2012, 10:04 PM
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Also, Quenneville, Granato and Sacco three out of the last four seasons...maybe, just maybe it ain't the coach??? We can only continue to blame the coach(es) for so long.
Considering that there are only Stastny, Hejduk and McLeod leftover from the Quenneville's last season with the Avs and add only David Jones to that list from the Granatool days, I don't see how this statement makes ANY sense at all. Unless you're blaming directly one or all FOUR of those players or I dunno, the crest on the jersey???

You guys can defend the coach until the cows come home but there are definitely certain facts that HAPPENED:

- Chuck Kobasew being used as a top-6 forward on Stastny's wing for the first 10 games of last season...
- 30 or so games in, Daniel Winnik was our top forward in terms of total ICETIME. (77th in NHL amongst ALL forwards) Yeah, sure he plays on the PK but that's just ridiculous and absolutely a questionable decision when you consider the talent we have on this team!
- The Duchene experiment on wing lasted WAYYYYY too long and it just didn't work.

Joe Sacco didn't even have a winning season as a coach in the AHL, let alone ever winning anything. Two losing seasons as an assistant and another 2 as head coach of the Monsters before he was promoted by the Avs.

Hey, I'm not asking for perfection but if you're going to bring in a rookie head coach, bring in some guy that's actually proved something at another level.

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11-18-2012, 10:45 AM
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Considering that there are only Stastny, Hejduk and McLeod leftover from the Quenneville's last season with the Avs and add only David Jones to that list from the Granatool days, I don't see how this statement makes ANY sense at all. Unless you're blaming directly one or all FOUR of those players or I dunno, the crest on the jersey???

You guys can defend the coach until the cows come home but there are definitely certain facts that HAPPENED:

- Chuck Kobasew being used as a top-6 forward on Stastny's wing for the first 10 games of last season...
- 30 or so games in, Daniel Winnik was our top forward in terms of total ICETIME. (77th in NHL amongst ALL forwards) Yeah, sure he plays on the PK but that's just ridiculous and absolutely a questionable decision when you consider the talent we have on this team!
- The Duchene experiment on wing lasted WAYYYYY too long and it just didn't work.

Joe Sacco didn't even have a winning season as a coach in the AHL, let alone ever winning anything. Two losing seasons as an assistant and another 2 as head coach of the Monsters before he was promoted by the Avs.

Hey, I'm not asking for perfection but if you're going to bring in a rookie head coach, bring in some guy that's actually proved something at another level.
Understand about the player turnover from Quenneville's time, but at the same time, I also believe Avs have a particular "culture", and culture is a very difficult proposition to change.

Remember, Sacco in his first season got us to 12th, with 95 points, and was runner up in the Jack Adams award.

Ok, lots of people suggest that was on the back of Andy, and maybe it was to a certain degree, but I also think the players bought into Sacco's mentality a lot more than they have done of late.

I think we don't have that many holes in our team (two to be precise, being a marquee, point per game at a minimum, SCORING winger, and a D-man, number one or two).

Get those, and even with Sacco there, I think we have the elements to compete. If we landed Parise and Suter, I think we'd be competing for a cup in the next year or two.

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11-19-2012, 09:27 AM
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Understand about the player turnover from Quenneville's time, but at the same time, I also believe Avs have a particular "culture", and culture is a very difficult proposition to change.

Remember, Sacco in his first season got us to 12th, with 95 points, and was runner up in the Jack Adams award.

Ok, lots of people suggest that was on the back of Andy, and maybe it was to a certain degree, but I also think the players bought into Sacco's mentality a lot more than they have done of late.

I think we don't have that many holes in our team (two to be precise, being a marquee, point per game at a minimum, SCORING winger, and a D-man, number one or two).

Get those, and even with Sacco there, I think we have the elements to compete. If we landed Parise and Suter, I think we'd be competing for a cup in the next year or two.
I get what you're saying. However, I don't put any stock in any 'culture' talk whatsoever. I mean, I would understand if the core of the roster was held over from the previous regime(s) but since we're talking about 4 guys, basically 2 rookies, a 4th liner and a veteran who's won the cup before and will retire soon, it's basically a moot point. Besides, if any of that 'losing culture' stuff had any real validity, the Avs would have never won the Stanley Cup because they had such 'losers' as: Sakic, Foote, Leschyshyn, Forsberg, Deadmarsh and Ricci.

My point is when was the last time a Avs team overachieved because of the coach? (and yes that 95 point season was in LARGE part because of Anderson...everyone here remembers his play that season) I'd say never with the possible exception of some of those Quenneville coached teams but those were veteran-heavy built teams.

Coaching has been one of the major weaknesses of this organization since they let Quenneville go. He was their last REAL coach. The Granato experiment was an absolute joke. The guy had no experience at any level apart from being handed an assistant job and then 4 months later, he's the head coach. Awful. The worst part in all that, they tried it again afterwards!!!

I think Pierre Lacroix is gun-shy about hiring a successful guy from the AHL because of the falling out he had with Crawford which was probably over money, although I can't remember.

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11-20-2012, 08:38 AM
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I get what you're saying. However, I don't put any stock in any 'culture' talk whatsoever. I mean, I would understand if the core of the roster was held over from the previous regime(s) but since we're talking about 4 guys, basically 2 rookies, a 4th liner and a veteran who's won the cup before and will retire soon, it's basically a moot point. Besides, if any of that 'losing culture' stuff had any real validity, the Avs would have never won the Stanley Cup because they had such 'losers' as: Sakic, Foote, Leschyshyn, Forsberg, Deadmarsh and Ricci.

My point is when was the last time a Avs team overachieved because of the coach? (and yes that 95 point season was in LARGE part because of Anderson...everyone here remembers his play that season) I'd say never with the possible exception of some of those Quenneville coached teams but those were veteran-heavy built teams.

Coaching has been one of the major weaknesses of this organization since they let Quenneville go. He was their last REAL coach. The Granato experiment was an absolute joke. The guy had no experience at any level apart from being handed an assistant job and then 4 months later, he's the head coach. Awful. The worst part in all that, they tried it again afterwards!!!

I think Pierre Lacroix is gun-shy about hiring a successful guy from the AHL because of the falling out he had with Crawford which was probably over money, although I can't remember.
Ok, a couple of questions off the back of that, sir?

+ Do you think this organization as it stands has the foundations in the coming season to compete for a Stanley Cup?

+ I'll assume I can guess your answer to the above. With that in mind, isn't it harsh to criticize Joe Sacco when that doesn't happen?

+ If JQ, TG & JS couldn't / can't get us to that next level, who possibly could, and why? I ask this because Granato went to Pittsburg, and got a cup. Quenneville went to Chicago, and got a cup. They aren't obviously dead beats.

+ RE Culture: What are the teams expectations today? What do you think their goal is? In those days of Sakic, Roy and Forsberg, what do you think their expectations were? Different?

+ RE: Sakic, Foote, Leschyshyn, Forsberg, Deadmarsh and Ricci. Do you think today's generation of kids (Duchene / Landeskog / O'Reilly / Johnson - all awesome players), have the natural, very early class and ability of their predesessors?

Sorry mate, a lot of questions. I'm not trying to argue with you here, I respect your opinion, and am interested is all.

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11-20-2012, 09:54 AM
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Ok, a couple of questions off the back of that, sir?

1) Do you think this organization as it stands has the foundations in the coming season to compete for a Stanley Cup?

2) I'll assume I can guess your answer to the above. With that in mind, isn't it harsh to criticize Joe Sacco when that doesn't happen?

3) If JQ, TG & JS couldn't / can't get us to that next level, who possibly could, and why? I ask this because Granato went to Pittsburg, and got a cup. Quenneville went to Chicago, and got a cup. They aren't obviously dead beats.

4) RE Culture: What are the teams expectations today? What do you think their goal is? In those days of Sakic, Roy and Forsberg, what do you think their expectations were? Different?

5) RE: Sakic, Foote, Leschyshyn, Forsberg, Deadmarsh and Ricci. Do you think today's generation of kids (Duchene / Landeskog / O'Reilly / Johnson - all awesome players), have the natural, very early class and ability of their predesessors?

Sorry mate, a lot of questions. I'm not trying to argue with you here, I respect your opinion, and am interested is all.
1) Not this season, the core of the team is still too young with some notable holes on the back end (#2 D-man / #3 D-man)

2) I can only criticize what I see and there have been MANY headscratching decisions on the part of Sacco during his tenure with the Avs. THAT is my problem with him. I don't expect a team this young to win the cup, I expect them to be competitive but even if they miss the playoffs, it's not that big of a surprise. My expectations on the coach, is to give them every possible opportunity to be successful. To me, putting Chuck 'Depth' Kobasew on the top line for 10 games to begin the season, is NOT doing that...what it does do is, take away an opportunity from someone else and messes up the chemistry with the other 2 guys on that line. I mean, you can try it for 2-3 games but 10?!!? That's plain stupid.

3) Again, you make statements like this as if the Avs were still the same team as when JQ and TG coached here. It's not....it's not even remotely close to the same team. Granato had very little to do with the cup in Pittsburgh as an assistant and Quenneville went into a situation in Chicago where they were ready to win. (key phrase right there "ready to win") There is a huge difference there.

In my opinion, the last Avalanche team that were poised to win the Stanley Cup was the Granato coached team that had added Kariya and Selanne in 2003-2004.

Since that time, after the lockout we lost Foote and Forsberg and replaced them with Brisebois and Turgeon, a HUGE step-down. Brisebois was awful and Turgeon had almost no gas left in the tank. We had a revolving door of goaltenders, some of who got hot, at times, but no one considered good enough to carry a team on their own. Signed some big name free agents at the WRONG TIME (Smyth & Hannan) when the roster needed to be turned-over and Sakic was on his last legs.

4) The organization's expectations are no different with this year's Avalanche than with the 1993-94 Quebec Nordiques and that would be to probably make the playoffs. If you want to compare the young Avalanche team that moved to Colorado to this one, then you're at least 2 years off in your comparison.

It's like having a full grown banana look at a sapling and saying "HA, you'll never be as big as me...look at how small you are!!!".

When the Nords moved to Colorado, they were READY TO WIN. Even with Nolan instead of Ozolinsh, even with Wendel Clark instead of Claude Lemieux, even with Thibault & Fiset instead of Roy, they had tons of depth, tons of solid, good young players. Lacroix made those moves as the final piece of the puzzle and it turned out with a cup. Who knows what would have happened if those moves hadn't been made.

I completely understand what you are saying about that Avs team though, they expected to win, as a team, every night. That comes with experience and will come to this squad in time.

5) That's a good question. The answer has to be 'no'...for now. No, in the sense that Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg were very, very high end players and I don't think we have anyone on our roster today that can compare with those guys. However, Duchene and O'Reilly are still very young and WILL improve. So it's not out of the question to say that when they are both 25-26 years old, while still maybe not on that same level, can be just one notch below and still be very effective.

Let me put it to you this way, back in 1992-93, the LA Kings had a pretty good team. They had Gretzky, Kurri, Robitaille, Blake, Coffey, Zhitnik & Sandstrom. That group came close but FAILED to win a Stanley Cup. Does that mean that Kopitar, Richards, Brown, Doughty, Scuderi etc... are better than Gretzky and the rest???

I will say this about this current Avs group, with the additions of Downie and McGinn as a top-9, we have potentially a better balanced top-9 than many of the previous Avs teams that we had during the 90s. The Avs will need to address those 2 holes on the backend and then it's going to be 'look the **** out' for the other teams in the league.

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11-21-2012, 07:46 AM
  #23
jnorthall
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Rebuttal of original theory

http://thehockeywriters.com/why-the-...s-next-season/

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11-21-2012, 09:58 AM
  #24
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Originally Posted by Bender View Post
2) I can only criticize what I see and there have been MANY headscratching decisions on the part of Sacco during his tenure with the Avs. THAT is my problem with him. I don't expect a team this young to win the cup, I expect them to be competitive but even if they miss the playoffs, it's not that big of a surprise. My expectations on the coach, is to give them every possible opportunity to be successful. To me, putting Chuck 'Depth' Kobasew on the top line for 10 games to begin the season, is NOT doing that...what it does do is, take away an opportunity from someone else and messes up the chemistry with the other 2 guys on that line. I mean, you can try it for 2-3 games but 10?!!? That's plain stupid.
Wholeheartedly agree with this statement. He oftentimes forced too many strange decisions and let others go too quickly. Winnik as our TOI leader in the forwards department, spreading defensive ice time out evenly, using SOB with EJ when it was appallingly apparent that they did not mesh chemistry-wise. Benching guys seemingly for looking at him the wrong way and favoring the 4th liners during crucial situations.

I personally expect better from Sacco, I'm indifferent to him returning overall because I don't think we're going to compete for anything significant over the next two seasons besides a 1st round berth. But that doesn't excuse him to make crazy decisions behind the bench and damaging our young guy's development.

I think he tries to force a team image too much and doesn't have enough balance in his bag of tricks. For the longest time we played an extremely high paced aggressive offensive game. Then we played a grinding game because LA dismantled his strategy and other teams followed suit. Then we starting playing a neutral-zone system which relied on the occasional trap and keeping pucks to the outside. Then he tried to develop a puck possession game...

It just went on and on and to this day he still does not seem to understand that the team doesn't need to play one way, the team needs to learn to play whatever system will best counter the opposition on any given night.

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No offense, but are you an Avs fan? Because your article looks like something an outside fan would say about our team weaknesses. Kroenke is not inhibiting our team from finding success, our payroll is not preventing us from being competitive and the Northwest division surely isn't as strong as the Pacific or Central, we simply suck playing against our rivals.

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11-21-2012, 11:20 AM
  #25
Bender
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Not really an in-depth article. Just scratches the surface instead of looking deeper probably due to a lack of knowledge on the ins and outs of the franchise.

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