Eulogy: Remembering the 2013-14 Colorado Avalanche

(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we're bound to lose some friends along the journey. We've asked for these losers, gone but not forgotten, to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The bloggers who hated them the most. Here is Daniel Wagner of Pass It To Bulis, fondly recalling the 2013-14 Colorado Avalanche. Again, this was not written by us. Also: This is a roast and you will be offended by it, so don't take it so seriously.)


Congratulations, Colorado, on dragging out the inevitable. As you hang up your sweaters, that appear to have been designed by the world's most boring 8-year-old, you can look back at your playoff run and feel proud of almost winning a round.

You had your fans high on nostalgia to start the season, with Joe Sakic in charge in the front office and Patrick Roy behind the bench. Rumoured plans to hire Peter Forsberg as head trainer were scuttled when the 40-year-old Swede reported he was training for one more comeback attempt.

Now you're just high geographically and on legalized marijuana, as nostalgia has gone awry, like adding noses to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

It's been over a decade since the Avalanche were at all relevant in the NHL, so it's understandable why you would want to recapture some of that former glory. It almost worked. Instead you became the only division winner to get knocked out in the first round.

You should have known better.

After all, adopting a team slogan like “Why not us?” was just asking for trouble.

Why not us? Oh, there are so many reasons.

Let's start with the obvious: You're just not that good.

Sure, you looked fine during the regular season with your makeover, showing off your new18-year-old beau around town, but it was all just a facade. You got out-shot all season long, but it was so easy to ignore when everything still somehow went your way.

You finished the season 27th in Fenwick Close, a statistic that tracks shot attempts minus blocked know what, nevermind. I don't want to write a primer on advanced statistics and you don't want to read one. Even just mentioning Fenwick already caused half of you to immediately scroll down to the comments section to bitch about “watching the game” and how hockey “isn't about numbers, it's about grit, heart, gumption, and bein' clutch.”

Either way, the numbers and giving up four separate leads in game seven say the same thing: When it came down to it, you just didn't have what it takes.

Suffice it to say, the teams around you in Fenwick Close were the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Buffalo Sabres. Like them, you were terrible all season. Unlike them, you won a bunch of games with your unsustainable goaltending, shooting percentage and power play.

Like them, however, you'll more than likely be back to battling for draft position next spring, at which point you should maybe consider drafting some defence.

Why not us, you ask? Because you couldn't even beat the Minnesota Wild in the playoffs when they were playing their third and fourth-string goaltenders.

Okay, you did beat Ilya Bryzgalov in the first two games, but that's because he's Ilya “Not even the Oilers want me” Bryzgalov. As soon as the Wild replaced him with the actually competent Darcy Kuemper, you were sunk.

You only survived as long as you did because Patrick Roy apparently has two Stanley Cup rings in his ears and a silver spoon up his ass.

You were out-possessed, out-shot, out-chanced, and out-scored by the Wild, but you scraped through with an obscene amount of luck with the net empty (and a game-tying goal in game five that was pretty blatantly offside).

But Bryzgalov came back, which should have been cause for rejoicing. When he came in cold at the end of game seven, when you were already up by one, it should have been game over, series won, bring on the Blackhawks. It was time to start throwing pucks on net to test the goalie who had already given up 8 goals in two starts.


One shot.

That's all you managed, even as the Wild tied up the game and took it to overtime.

One shot, with your entire season on the line. One shot with one of the NHL's punch lines in the opposition net.

One shot.

It was the same problem as the regular season, only this time your goaltending didn't bail you out. The Wild out-shot you 233-174 in the series and 35-22 in the deciding game.

Hell, you had just 12 shots total in game four. Twelve. That's tied for the fifth fewest shots in a playoff game in the modern era, to give you some idea of how terrible that is. Basically, you should feel ashamed of yourself, but since you live in Colorado, you probably already have that covered.

Why not us?

Because Patrick Roy just can't beat the Wild in game sevens. Should have gone with your backup coach.

Why not us? Because your defensive depth is shallower than Jon Heder's filmography. Because a bunch of flashy young forward talent can only take you so far.

Congratulations on your cadre of talented young forwards selected with a series of high draft picks after being terrible for multiple seasons. Maybe at some point down the line you can return the Ray Bourque favour and trade them to another team so they can win a Stanley Cup before they retire.

Why not us?

Because Semyon Varlamov fell back to earth.

Regrettably, he didn't burn up on reentry.

After a stellar regular season, Varlamov returned to the alluvial plane with a nice, average .913 save percentage, coincidentally nearly identical to his career average prior to this season.

Anyone care to bet that Varlamov can repeat his .927, Vezina-candidate save percentage next season? Anyone? Anyone at all? No, not you, delusional Avalanche fan who thinks Patrick Roy has somehow taught Varlamov how to be an elite goaltender over the space of a couple months. Anyone whose brain hasn't been shrivelled by oxygen deprivation?

(Oh, and if I hear one person talk about Varlamov "overcoming adversity" this season, I will straight-up murder a beanie baby and then you will have the death of a perfectly innocent beanie baby on your hands. Can you live with that? I suppose if Varlamov can live with himself, then yes, it's possible.)

Why not us? Because we've seen this all before.

Remember the 2009-10 season? Remember the incredible start? Remember how you were out-shot all season long but were carried by the incredible goaltending performance of Craig Anderson? Remember how all of the advanced stats said it was illusory and would all come crashing down?

Remember how Anderson proceeded to post an .897 save percentage the following season?

Sure, things are a little different this time around: your young players are better. You have some legitimate top-end talent up front. You're not quite as historically awful as that 2009-10 team. There's a very good chance that you won't post the lowest point total in franchise history next season, as you did in 2010-11.

But here's the real problem: why not us? Because you're nowhere near as good as you think you are.

This season was magical for your fans because you surpassed all of their expectations, which were lower than Gabriel Landeskog's hands in that painfully awkward Imagine Dragons video.

But you had to go and win the division, which means expectations will be approximately 1.61 kilometers high next season.

You're not going to be able to match those expectations and all the good feelings from this season will be lost forever.

You'll just be left with one question with far too many answers:

Why not us?


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