Dear Avalanche


Hell hath no fury like an Avs fan watching her team on the brink of losing their chance at the playoffs. So instead of my typical format, I am writing an open letter to the Colorado Avalanche following their untimely loss to the Anaheim Ducks (i.e. purely opinionated, pretty biased piece.) Please bear with me. 

Dear Avs,

What the heck is going on in the organization? As a fan who has stood by you for the past 15 years I have never been more embarassed by the lack of play, lack of effort, and horrible coaching than I am right now. This past game against the Anaheim Ducks highlighted each and every single vulnerability. IF you make it to the playoffs then opposing teams need only watch the highlight reel from this game to know exactly how to sweep you. Let’s get it together, shall we?

Anderson
Poor Anderson, it’s not that he’s particularly stinking out there, he just needs a break. He’s allowed way too many goals in the past few games (14 goals in three games) but it can’t all be blamed on him. To a degree, if he’s not feeling as sharp as he needs to he should ask to sit out. Then again, he doesn’t want to get cut. So whose responsibility is it to make sure he’s getting his mental edge back, Andy or Sacco? Anderson has to do the best he can when he’s put in between the pipes. Sacco needs to pull him if he gets beat the same exact way all three times (last night against the Ducks, they kept going top shelf on him, it was painful to watch.) While Andy has had the ability to pick up the slack of the defense in previous games, it’s obvious he’s tired and not as mentally focused as he could be. If the Avs keep riding Andy they won’t make it far in the playoffs, if they even get there. Step one for failure, overplay your goaltender when he looks like Andy has these past few games.

Defense
I beg you, please do not pinch up! If you are going to play Foote then we can’t pinch up when he’s out there. If you want to pinch to try and generate offense please use younger players that can skate back faster. Every single time the Avs had the puck and turned it over in the neutral zone there was a two on one breakaway, Koivu/Blake/Selanne goal. It was mortifying. The Avs should take a page out of the Lightning’s book, their penalty kill was unbelievable. Instead of spreading themselves out and trying to cover the man, they maintained a pseudo box, keeping themselves between any Penguins player and their goal. All shots had to come from the outside. There was a reason they were able to kill off a five minute penalty and blank the Penguins. Defense may not have the glory of scoring goals, but you can’t win games without it. 

Foote
There was a time when Adam Foote was critical to this franchise, that time has passed. The Avalanche have had a history of making sentimental trades that not only hurt their chances of getting anywhere, but insult fans in general. Fans will always love Rob Blake, Adam Foote, Stephane Yelle. That doesn’t mean you bring two of the three back. Fans may not be filling the Pepsi Center like they used to, but picking up old guys who are too slow and ultimately hurt the team does nothing to fill it. The current roster has a lot of promise, but the Avs need to stop looking back at those two cups and start looking forward in search of some new ones. If they don’t take advantage of all the young talent we have here in Denver by giving them a more able defense, then I don’t think they’ll be in the finals any time soon.

Sacco
Some Avs fans disagree that Sacco needs to figure out what he’s done wrong to move forward. While I do not believe spending all your time reminiscing about the past will do anyone any good, Sacco needs to look at what he did right and wrong and what his team did right and wrong. With such a young team he needs to be providing more leadership than he’s shown. Doing the same tired thing when you’re losing doesn’t inspire confidence in your players or your fans. Figure it out today Sacco, come back with a game plan to keep us in it. And give Andy the night off, or at least pull him if he looks sloppy.

Stewart
Chris Stewart, I love you, but where the heck have you been these past three games? Now is not the time to play Casper the Friendly Ghost. The reason Avs fans count on you is your speed and quick stick. We really need someone to put the points up on the board, we’re looking for you but we just don’t see you. It’d be nice for you to make it happen when it counts, which is right now. Don’t disappoint us, you have such a promising career ahead of you.

Let’s review, since the Avs keep hitting themselves in the head with a hammer it may take more than one tme saying it to get through. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but if it IS broke (and it is) do everything you need to make it work. Stop playing sloppy and more importantly stop playing lazy. No one else is supposed to be responsible for picking up your slack. Play each game so that you leave nothing on the ice and you never have to tell your teammates, coach or fans “I’m Sorry I didn’t try harder”. Almost doesn’t count. If you almost make the playoffs but don’t, it doesn’t matter how great you were all year long. If you keep making big mistakes but still do the little things right it doesn’t matter. 99% (and that’s being generous, it’s more like 51% to be honest) doesn’t cut it. You get paid to play in the greatest sport of all time. Stop saying you’re tired or the pressure is getting to you. Figure it out, for all of our sakes.

I still love you Avs, but the emotional whiplash you are giving me is getting old. Please stop. That is all. 

Thank you,
Courtney

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