Avalanche Will Bounce Back from Early Woes

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Avalanche Will Bounce Back from Early Woes


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By Corey O’Leary

The Colorado Avalanche season start has so far been disappointing and has neglected to display the clubs true potential.

Last season’s start by the Avs took hockey fans everywhere by surprise and had the former second-worst team in the NHL off to an 6-0 start. This can be partly attributed to the firing of former head coach Joe Sacco and hiring of former Avs goalie and hockey hall of famer Patrick Roy to take his position.

Roy, who as a player was known for his aggressive attitude and explosive behavior, brought his fire with him to the Avs during the 2013-14 season and helped the team nab the title as Central Division champs with a record of 52-22-8.

Despite a disappointing series loss in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to the Minnesota Wild, high expectations were now in place for the Avs to continue to be one of the top teams in the NHL. Sadly, after the Avs first six games, these expectations have not been met, with the Avs carrying a disappointing record of 1-4-2. Starting out the 2014-15 season, the Avs suffered a heartbreaking 5-0 loss to the Wild in Minnesota, registering only 16 shots. Thankfully, during their next five games they showed improvement and received their first win against the Boston Bruins and garnered more shots on goal in subsequent games.

While it is still early in the season, this leaves us to wonder what has caused the change in the Avs game. The first thing that comes to mind is the change in the Avs roster. The club lost key player Paul Stastny to the St. Louis Blues as well as important forward P.A Parenteau to the Montreal Canadiens. Gathering a combined total of 39 goals in the 2013-14 season, these are two players who will definitely be missed.

Replacing those spots on the roster are Daniel Briere and Jarome Iginla, brought in from the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins respectively. The Avs also received defenseman Brad Stuart in attempt to strengthen the Avs often weak defense.

The most interesting of these new players is Jarome Iginla, future Hall of Fame hockey player and overall great guy. Iginla, 38, served as captain of the Calgary Flames for nine seasons and has scored 560 goals in his career in the NHL. The decision for Iginla to join the Avs is a huge one. Nearing the end of his career and having never won a Stanley Cup, Iginla was very careful about who he signed with, and would only choose a team that he thought had incredible potential.

Hailed as one of the best players of all time, and surely one of the most respected throughout the league, Iginla will bring a sense of leadership and experience to the relatively young Avs team. With the loss of the Avs former alternate captain, Paul Stastny, Iginla was awarded this honor just a few short weeks after signing with the club.

These roster changes are significant but not enough to completely change the Avs winning ways from last season. The Avs still have an extreme amount of talent and solid net-minding courtesy of Semyon Varlamov and Reto Berra. Varlamov is a key part of the Avs game and is looking to stay that way. Last year he had the third-best save percentage in the NHL and faced a total of 2,013. Although the Avs might not quite reach the soaring heights they did last season, the talent possessed by the team is undeniable. The slow start should not be an indicator of how the 82 game season is going to end and the potential of the Colorado Avalanche remains intact. Let’s just hope that they tap into that and make the 2014-15 season one to remember.