The 2011-2012 Colorado Avalanche season is over. We, as Avalanche fans, are in uncharted territory. This organization, during its time in Denver, had not missed the playoffs in two straight seasons, until now. We, as fans, aren’t happy about this, and we now have a choice to make. I have a blog, HEAR ME ROAR!
In my humble opinion, here’s what it’s NOT time to do:
It’s not time to panic.
It’s not time to find a new team to cheer for.
It’s not time to feel sorry for ourselves. We still do have a lot to be extremely proud of, including two Stanley Cup rings to conveniently plug our ears when we need them.
(I know this video doesn’t exactly align to my point, but you see my point anyway.)
It’s definitely not time to find something or someone to blame as to why the Avs don’t get a shot to go after the Stanley Cup this season. That’s wasted energy and blame gets people nowhere.
Here’s what it IS time for:
It’s time to look to the future.
It’s time to celebrate.
It’s time to say “thanks.”
And THAT’S what this post if for. It’s my personal way of dealing with the end of yet another hockey season.
(FYI, these are in no particular order at all, except for the first guy listed. I love 92.)
Thanks to Gabriel Landeskog for being the most complete 18-19 year old I’ve ever seen in an Avalanche jersey. That Calder trophy will look fantastic on your mantel. Thanks for this too, while battling the flu no less.
Thanks to Greg Sherman for creating some buzz for the organization during the trade deadline. That’s something Avalanche fans were used to for a long time. Nothing will ever top some of the moves that were made about a decade ago as it’s a different NHL now, but nonetheless it felt a little bit like old times, in a sense, this season. That was fun.
Thanks to Jean-Sebastien Giguere, respectfully known as Jiggy, for the presence and the veteran leadership you provided this season. You held things down while Varly got the chance to get his head together when he needed it. It’s easy to see why the fans in your former cities loved you so much. We’re grateful you’re here in The Mile High City.
Thanks to Semyon Varlamov for showing everyone that you were worth the picks the Avalanche gave up for you. It took you a while to get going, but when you did, you got it together and it was exciting to watch. Saves like this had us on our feet. Including the Hawks fan in the near side of the screen who went from hands in the air to hands on his head in agony. Classic.
Thanks to both goaltenders for proving to be a solid NHL tandem. It has been a while since the Avalanche had that. Knowing that either goaltender gave the team a chance to win on most nights is all a team and the fans need.
Thanks to the Avalanche organization for sticking with Joe Sacco. I always think that someone else may be better for this club, but sticking with a coach for a while is a welcome change. (I’m also thinking that the many coaching changes in the past have led to a situation where the organization doesn’t want another head coaches salary on the books, but that’s a discussion for another time.)
Thanks to Matt Duchene for playing through injuries and doing your best to help this team make the playoffs this season. It was a gutsy effort. It was clear that number nine was nowhere even close to 100% down the stretch.
Thanks to Jamie McGinn for being a welcome addition to this team. Feel free to keep scoring at this pace throughout your entire career as a member of the Avalanche organization. Thanks for this too. It was one of the highlights of the season for sure. Less than two seconds? No problem!
Thanks to Steve Downie for proving some people wrong, including but not limited to my podcast partner James “Tapeleg” Gralian. You score goals and you’ll take on an entire opposing team, bench and all. Not just anyone can and is also willing to do that.
Thanks to Milan Hejduk for showing the young players on this team that losing a step doesn’t mean you lose your class or grace. Playing on the fourth line during this point of your career could not have and should not have been easy. We hope to see you back with the Avs next season, but we understand if this is the end of the line. Either way, if I had a vote, your 23 will hang from the rafters at Pepsi Center someday.
Milan Hejduk’s final goal? We will see.
Magical hands? Check. Watching Hejduk during the shootout never gets old, ever.
Thanks to Jay McClement for performing on the penalty kill the way you did all season. Solid.
Thanks to Peter Mueller for showing us what perseverance looks like. So nice to see 88 out there after all that you had been through.
Thanks to Ryan O’Reilly for never taking your roster spot in the NHL for granted. It’s obvious that playing in the NHL is an honor by the way you play the game. Thanks as well for this. Think game is going to a shootout? 37 has different thoughts.
Thanks to Paul Stastny for being a solid two-way player. You have off-the chart hockey smarts. It’s almost like it runs in your family or something. And thanks for what I consider one of the best assists of the season. Saucer!
Thanks to Matt Hunwick for keeping your head up as you were a healthy scratch game after game after game, even as the young kids came up and played ahead of you. When you got your chance you took full advantage and that was great. Thanks for your speed as well. It’s fun to watch you skate.
Thanks to Erik Johnson for working through your early season issues. You quickly became another reason why this team’s future is bright.
Thanks to Shane O’Brien for not putting up with any shenanigans near the Avalanche goaltenders. That was a welcome and much needed change that was made this season.
Thanks for Tyson Barrie and Stefan Elliott for providing hope for the Avalanche blue line for years to come.
Thanks to Mike Haynes and Peter McNab. We kid about you guys on Twitter and in our podcast, but in the end, we all appreciate the work you do. We couldn’t do what you do as well as you do it. That’s all that needs to be said.
Thanks to Marc Moser for being a positive ambassador of the team you cover. You’re an Avalanche fan and you root for this team. That fan aspect doesn’t work for everyone in the radio and television broadcast world, and you handle it very well. Thank you also for keeping in touch with the fans via Twitter. It means a lot to know that you care about that kind of thing. Right on Mose. Let’s score the golf ball soon.
Thanks to the Avalanche’s Twitter account for making some extremely positive strides this season. We, as fans, very much appreciate that effort and are looking forward to what you’ll bring next season.
On a more personal level:
Thanks to the loyal followers and listeners of The Avs Hockey Podcast, Your Home for Almost Everything Avalanche. James and I appreciate the downloads, comments, likes, and listens and wouldn’t be near as passionate about what we do without your support.
Thanks to my partner in the podcasting business, James “Tapeleg” Gralian. I wouldn’t be the fan or podcaster I am without your support on so many levels. I am a lucky guy to have you on my team. I’m looking forward to many more years of great shows with you. You’re the best James.
Thanks to my friends and followers on Twitter. It’s good to know that I’m not alone when it comes to bleeding burgundy and blue. I hope I made your follows worth it.
Thanks to my friends and fans on Facebook. I simply strive in keeping you up to date with “almost everything Avalanche” (as well as what not to buy on eBay.) I hope I made clicking that “like” button worth it.
When looking at the big picture it’s very difficult to complain about our favorite NHL team earning at least 20 more points than last season. That’s definitely more than a step in a positive direction. If anyone would have told me before the season that the Avalanche would be in the playoff hunt 81 games in, I would have taken that in a second. The future is bright, we have a lot to be thankful for, and that’s a very good thing.
So as you figure out what to do without playoff hockey for the second straight season (besides playing golf), do yourself a favor and look towards the future of this franchise instead of dwelling for too long on the past few seasons. You’ll feel at least a little bit better, I promise.
And to conclude, I just have three words for you and in these three words I’ll always believe, Let’s Go Avs.