Am I to trust the Colorado Avalanche?? Is this ten-game winning streak (as of this writing) something I should be excited for?? With all the promise this team had in the past, it’s hard to get excited when they had 52 wins one season and then haven’t made the playoffs since. For a team that holds their alumni in as high regard as the Edmonton Oilers did throughout the 2000s and early 2010s, there was plenty of dysfunction to go around.
However, it seems that whatever Jared Bednar has been preaching to the team has finally stuck with them. Nathan MacKinnon has been a stud this season while ranking up with the NHL’s top scorers thus far. Not to mention how well Jonathan Bernier has been playing since taking over for the injured Semyon Varlamov (9-0-0 since December 31st), the Avalanche may be onto something good for once.
They’re holding onto the last Wild Card spot in a very hectic Western Conference and it almost seems like getting rid of Matt Duchene is what turned this team around for the better, at least according to MacKinnon. The Avs have have gone 19-10-3 in the subsequent 33 games since the trade, while MacKinnon has 47 points in those 33 games. More over, Mikko Rantanen is better than point-per-game thus far, while Alex Kerfoot has been a welcome surprise to the defensive corps, while adding plenty on the offensive side.
For all the guff that Joe Sakic has gotten– and maybe most of it warranted– the Duchene deal could be the thing that turned the attitude around for the Avalanche; though he could have gotten a little better in return during the summer, though hindsight is always 20/20. It’s a bit of a redemption for Sakic considering how many people have ripped him for what happened with the Duchene thing early in the season and his overall takeover of the GM from the cardboard cut-out that was purportedly Greg Sherman for those last few years Sherman had that title.
Of course, you can’t always take long winning-streaks as a hard-and-fast rule of teams coming out of a funk. Hell, last year’s Flyers had one and then missed the playoffs entirely. But maybe, just for this short time, the Avalanche can have a little bit of relieve considering the turmoil they had to deal with this off-season and into the early part of this season.