April 16th, 2014 at 4:42 PM
By Corey Dunkin
In anticipation of the Colorado Avalanche going on a playoff run, the city of Denver is rallying behind its hockey team in a manner most official. At the capitol building downtown, Avalanche flags can be seen waving alongside the state flag, and they will remain there for as long as the Avalanche are in the playoffs. Additionally, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock proclaimed this week to be "Burgundy and Blue" week. This week, several prominent buildings downtown are decorating the skyline with burgundy and blue lights, city employees are wearing burgundy and blue apparel, several signs and streets are being illuminated burgundy and blue, and passengers at Denver International Airport are being greeted by a message from team captain Gabriel Landeskog as they ride the transport train.
There has been a resurgence of Avalanche support throughout Colorado this season. Between 2008 and 2013, when the team was struggling mightily, it felt as though interest in the team had fizzled out. Pepsi Center didn't sell out Avalanche games during that time, and it was exceedingly rare to see anyone sporting Avalanche gear. It would be fair to say that fans had been spoiled during the early years, and understandably, it was difficult to watch the team struggle in vain after the standard had been set so high. This year represents the return of Avalanche hockey as we used to know it. Read more... Join the Conversation...
April 15th, 2014 at 4:36 PM
By Corey Dunkin
At last the time has come. The book is closed on the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs are here. And the Colorado Avalanche find themselves in a better position than anyone could have hoped for. On Thursday they will commence their opening round series against the Minnesota Wild in the third series all time between these two franchises. In both of the previous playoff meetings, one team had won the division, and the other team won the series. The Avalanche will look to put an end to that pattern.
Colorado has home ice for this series, which could prove to be critical not because of what it means for the Avalanche, but because of what it means for the Wild. Incredibly, Colorado had identical records at home and on the road this season, posting a mark of 26-11-4 both at and away from the Pepsi Center. In fact, their road record was the best in the entire league. The Avalanche play consistently well regardless of location. Minnesota, meanwhile, had one of the league's best home records, going 26-10-5, almost the same record as Colorado, but on the road they were just a .500 team, with a record of 17-17-7. The separation between Colorado and Minnesota in the standings comes down to the fact that the Avalanche are good on the road and the Wild are not. Read more... Join the Conversation...
April 13th, 2014 at 10:30 PM
By Corey Dunkin
The National Hockey League regular season concluded today, and the Colorado Avalanche have won the Central Division following a St. Louis Blues loss to the Detroit Red Wings and after earning an additional point against the Anaheim Ducks. This is Colorado's first division championship since 2003 and it is well deserved. When this season began, even the most optimistic fans were just hoping the Avalanche could find a way to get into the playoffs. Now they are Central Division champions, finishing second in the Western Conference and third overall in the entire league.
This has been the greatest single season turnaround in NHL history in terms of how much higher the team finished in league standings one year after the other. Just one year removed from finishing 29th out of the NHL's 30 teams, Colorado has finished 3rd. It has been incredible to behold. Read more... Join the Conversation...
April 13th, 2014 at 7:00 AM
By Corey Dunkin
For the last two days, it briefly appeared as though the Colorado Avalanche could end up finishing first in the Western Conference. But just as quickly as that opportunity appeared, it vanished when the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in a shootout last night, thereby clinching first place for themselves. Now as the Avalanche enter their regular season finale against the Ducks, it is only the Central Division title Colorado will potentially be playing for. On that note, it seems a bit strange to say "only" the Central Division title. Barely over a week ago, even that was beyond what anyone dared hope for. But that is what is at stake in the 82nd and final game of what has been a spectacular regular season.
With 111 points each, the Avalanche and the St. Louis Blues play their last games of the regular season today, and the Blues must gain at least one point on the Avalanche in order to win the division. If the teams remain tied, or if the Avalanche gain points on the Blues, then Colorado wins the division. The winner of the Central Division is the only detail that remains to be settled in the Western Conference playoffs. Read more... Join the Conversation...
April 11th, 2014 at 10:00 AM
By Corey Dunkin
The good times just keep on rolling. With a 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks last night, the Colorado Avalanche have ensured that they will finish no lower than second place in the Central Division. This means that they are guaranteed home ice in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that the St. Louis Blues have lost four games in a row, leaving the door open for Colorado to potentially win the division. One week ago, the Avalanche trailed the Blues by seven points with only six games remaining. Given how dominant the Blues had been up to that point, the idea that the Avalanche could catch up to them seemed too preposterous to suggest, even though it was mathematically possible. While it is still a long shot, that possibility has gone from unfathomable to distinct. Both teams have two games left. Colorado currently sits in first place by virtue of a tiebreaker. All of a sudden, the Central Division, which St. Louis very recently appeared to have a stranglehold of, is completely up for grabs. Read more... Join the Conversation...