Bill Parcells had the best quote that an athlete or coach ever uttered. He mentioned you are what your record says you are when assessing his team’s season. That quote is point on.
We can use Parcells’ quote to the Avalanche as we look at the standings today. They are 9-13-6 after 28 games. That’s good enough for last place in a tough Central Division.
After a listless 3-0 loss to the Predators last night at the Pepsi Center, there has to be concerns about the Avalanche this season. This team hasn’t been good all season. Something is missing about this team. It’s not early anymore. Not in a division that features great teams.
The Avs often come out flat in every game. They don’t play 60 minutes. They come out unprepared. They get outworked by their opponents. No one said this about them last year.
It’s surprising the Avs have played like this so far this season. This is something no one would have envisioned under a Patrick Roy-coached team. This is a team that always plays smart. This is a team that will give everything they got every night.
The Avalanche knew they would not sneak up on any team after last year’s success. That was harped on by their head coach when training camp started. It was repeated often during the season. It hasn’t clicked in for whatever reason.
The Avs’ problems start with defense. They give up so many odd-rushes. They give up too many odd man rush. They often don’t check their counterparts. They let a goaltender battle a scorer all alone. They give up too many second scoring chances.
It’s going to be hard to win games when the defense doesn’t do the little things.
It remains to be seen if that will change. The Avs may not have the personnel to play defense. This is the same unit that struggled in Game 7 against the Wild in the Western Conference quarterfinals in April.
The Avs tried to make changes on defense by signing guys like Brad Stuart, but he hasn’t made an impact whatsoever.
The offense has been maddening to watch. That’s the frustrating part for the Avalanche. This is a team that has many game-changers that can make it happen on offense. These players just shoot the goalpost or they are tentative when it comes to scoring. There has been too much passing. Last night was their fourth shutout of the season.
Nathan MacKinnon’s struggles have been surprising. He has five goals in 28 games. He hasn’t been the difference maker like he was in the playoffs last season. Often times, he has been invisible. He has been passive on the ice rather than making an impact on offense.
There’s no question he would have growing pains in his sophomore year, but it’s stunning he has been this bad so far.
Losing Semyon Varlamov to injuries has not helped matters for the Avalanche, but it wasn’t like they were good with him. It’s tough for him to be great when his defense does not give him any support.
Goaltending is the least of Avs’ worries. They are not going to win games if they are not getting anything from their defense and their offense. Roy continues to express patience after a loss. He keeps saying he has faith in his guys. He thinks the goals will eventually go in.
This might as well be a cliché at this point. There’s no way he is going to lose his mind and rip his guys to the media.
One has to wonder about his patience. He can only be patient for so long. He is normally impulsive, and it’s hard to believe he lost that trait. He probably is fuming at practice these days.
It’s not early anymore. Everyone keeps waiting for the Avalanche to click. They have been awful since their Opening Night loss to the Wild.
The Avs have to play with a sense of urgency starting tomorrow night against the Jets at home. Being 0-3 in this homestand could set the stage of what could be a hopeless season for the Avs.
The more the Avs keep losing, it becomes a habit where guys are used to losing.
The takeaway of this season is the Avs know how to lose. It’s evident when they can’t protect leads.
It’s one thing or another when it comes to analyzing Avs’ losses these days.
This isn’t early anymore.
It’s getting to the point where one can say the Avs aren’t a good team.
They certainly have played like a bad team after 28 games.
The record doesn’t lie.
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