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Avalanche finished 2013-14 with plenty to be happy about

Aug 7, 2014, 10:57 PM EDT

Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy watches play from the bench in the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars, Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) AP

Colorado’s playoff run was short-lived thanks to the Minnesota Wild, but it’s hard to look at the Avalanche’s 2013-14 campaign as anything but a success.

In the lockout shortened season, the Avalanche finished with their worst record from a points percentage perspective since they moved to Colorado and they followed it up with the second best regular season in their franchise’s history. They gave fans a reason to be excited again, with past heroes Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy shaping and coaching the team respectively, and youngsters Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Matt Duchene leading the charge on the ice.

From the beginning of the season, Roy pushed the underdog Avalanche to ask themselves the question, “Why not us?” With that mentality, they took an early season hot streak and developed it into a 52-22-8 record.

The new sense of hope was contagious as that combined with the on-ice results led to a spike in fans attendance from 15,445 per game in 2013 to 16,296 in 2013-14, according to the hockey database.

The team had been dealing with attendance problems for years. Part of the issue, as Denver Post report Adrian Dater argued years ago, was that the team lacked identity and direction.

That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, but then, we’ve only been through one season of the new Sakic/Roy-era. There’s an argument to be made that the Avalanche might have been playing above their heads and were leaning too heavily on Semyon Varlamov, who they need to hope has another spectacular season after breaking out in 2013-14.

The silver lining is that while a regression is certainly possible, given the overall youth of the team, it wouldn’t be devastating. Perhaps they won’t do as well in 2014-15 compared to last season, but they have a core in place that could be fun to watch for years to come.

  1. dunc89 - Aug 8, 2014 at 3:16 AM

    Hard not to like what you see here. They’ve got great young talent up front, a solid veteran presence and a pretty good goalie. Defense is obviously a question mark but we have drafted d-man high the last couple years and within our system we have a group of solid young guys who we just need to be patient with and let them develop. If Duchene can stay healthy and play like he did last year we’ve got an absolute stud to build around. If Landeskog keeps growing as a player and leader he could become a force to be reckoned with. If O’Reilly let’s go of the whole contract thing and is happy to be here we have our high end two way player. If MacKinnon takes another step towards stardom (if you haven’t watched this kid play yet, you really should), this team could be very, very good. I know, I know, that’s a lot of ifs. Don’t sleep on that D core either, while obviously nowhere near the best in the league, Eric Johnson played great last year, Tyson Barrie emerged as a top 4 d-man with high end offensive abilities, Nick Holden grabbed a spot in the line up and isn’t going to let it go anytime soon I don’t think, and Hejda is a capable 2nd pairing guy. They’re not going to win 52 games again next year, that’s a phenomenal season for any team, but they’ll be a better team overall I think, and much tougher to play against. They will definitely be in the hunt for a playoff spot come April in a very tough western conference.

  2. capsfan14 - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:40 AM

    Let me speak for Joey and Blomfeld.

    Joey: “Ovechkin is a the worst player in the NHL. Who cares if he finished first in scoring last year? I’m just gonna repeat myself over and over and continue to be oblivious to the skills and assets this guy brings to a team. Am I right blomdfeld?”

    Blomdfeld: “Thats right joey. I’m an idiot.”

    • capsfan14 - Aug 8, 2014 at 7:43 AM

      Excuse this post. Was meant for the “Ovechkin thinks little of his plus/minus” article. But I guess their rambling makes sense anywhere.

      • jziii - Aug 8, 2014 at 5:04 PM

        Oops. You had a great bit, there…

  3. paulerhythm - Aug 8, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    Fun team to watch, that’s for sure. They’ll come back down a little but, I think they can reach the playoffs again. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t, being in the tough Central Division…

  4. jziii - Aug 8, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    “15,445 per game in 2013 to 16,296 in 2013-14” is considered a “spike” in attendance? 851 more fannies in the seats is a “spike”? I mean, good for them, but…

    • mogogo1 - Aug 9, 2014 at 12:06 AM

      Agree with this article just like I did a few weeks back when they ran it last time. Even the title was almost the same.

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