When Dallas Stars forward Jason Dickinson tied the game at two in the third period on Tuesday, a sense of “here we go again” came through Pepsi Center like a bad storm. Overall, the Avalanche had played a very solid game despite again giving up a third-period lead and losing the game. Optimists may recognize the point that was gained in the standings, but many are concerned with the Avs’ inability to close out games.
In a league where coaches are being relieved of their duties more often in the middle of the season, some are suggesting that fate for Jared Bednar. Although there are some quality head coaches in the market, there is something to be said about a guy who helped lift the franchise from the basement of the NHL to a Stanley Cup contender. Bednar also seems to really believe in his team, finding many positives despite the final score.
All good teams go through growing pains and this challenge isn’t unique to the Avalanche. They are no longer going under the radar. With the amount of press the Avs got from national media who picked Colorado as one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, it’s not surprising the Avs have tough competition every night. Much like a team that just won the Stanley Cup, a target is on the Avs’ back as the league’s most up-and-coming team that everyone can use as a benchmark.
With some flexibility, Joe Sakic may make a trade to add some depth to the Avalanche but I wouldn’t expect anything drastic. His changes may even come in the form of more call-ups from the Eagles. It’s bizarre that now the team is 100% healthy and they’re playing worse than they were short-handed. But those Eagles players brought youth and excitement. Forwards Shane Bowers and Logan O’Connor are playing some really good hockey and could help the Avs down the stretch.
It’s important to note the importance of veteran leadership on the team. There are a few players that know what it takes to win a Stanley Cup on the Avs and that goes a long way. They understand that the season is long and that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. But that doesn’t mean that trends like these still don’t bother them. Captain Gabe Landeskog was visibly upset after Tuesday’s overtime loss to the Stars after he stressed that divisional games this time of year are like playoff games. Hopefully the Avs can make the necessary changes coming out of the break.
— AltitudeTV (@AltitudeTV) January 15, 2020