Monday, November 19, 2007

Colorado; The Rocky Road

I think it's safe to say that the one team most people expected a vast improvement from this season, would have to be the Colorado Avalanche. With their incredible playoff push late last season, which inevitably fell short, only the New York Rangers managed to put up a better 2nd half.

In the offseason, Colorado GM Francois Giguere managed to add two more pieces to his quickly rebuilding project in the likes of free agents Ryan Smyth and Scott Hannan. Further allowing his fans to come into the 07-08 season with much to anticipate. And now that we've nearly reached the quarter pole of the season, we can take a deeper look into the Avs now vs. then.

Today the Avalanche sit in 2nd spot in the Northwest Division, just 1 point behind the Wild. Although with 1 game in hand. Their 23 points in 19 games also puts them tied for 4th in their Conference. And again, with games in hand. An obvious improvement you say? But of course, "obvious" is not what I've come here to talk about.

Right now, the Avalanche are on pace for a 99 point season. A mere 2 wins better than the season that saw them on the outside looking in, on a very rare occasion. 2 more wins would have made all the difference in the world, allowing them to surpass the 8th seeded Flames. But it still wouldn't have been enough to earn home ice advantage no matter who they faced or how many rounds they survived.

Why do I bring up home ice advantage, you ask? Well for one, the Calgary Flames who barely backed their way into a playoff round, knew full well about home versus the road. They were known as the Jeckyll and Hyde. A term that has now made it's way to the Rockies. Let's try and put this into better perspective...

Had the Colorado Avalanche played just .500 on the road this season, their current overall record would be 13 - 5 - 1. Good enough for 27 points, second only to the Detroit Red Wings. And yes, you guessed it... with a game in hand. Prorating that into an 82 game season, the Avs would end up with 116 points. A feat nobody in the league could accomplish last season, earning them the hypothetical Presidents Trophy.

And before someone suggests that I am putting forth a 'perfect scenario' here, please keep in mind that I said merely a .500 record on the road. Hardly an earth shaking expectancy.

So in retrospect, yes the Avs are moderately improved as a team, which was to be expected. But they are far from the team they should be, right now.

~ LeaferSutherland


I invite all Avalanche fans to drop by and put your own two cents worth on your team.