The Opossum-Palooza

It's okay. We don't know what the name means either.


NHL Preview: Colorado Avalanche

Part seventeen of our thirty part series previewing every NHL team. Today's target is the Colorado Avalanche. DefDude is on the job.

One of hockey’s few truly exciting teams for most of the late 90’s and early 21st century, the Quebec Nordiques Colorado Avalanche seem to be, ironically enough, crashing down from their decade-long perch atop the Northwest division. After having their league-record tying 10-year dominance snapped by the Vancouver Canucks just before the lockout, the Avs seemed poised for a return to their former glory in the landscape of the new CBA, letting walk longtime Av Peter Forsberg via free agency to insure cap flexibility, but such was not to be. Colorado struggled to make the playoffs, only to find themselves unimpressively trounced by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the second round, victims of a questionable defense and even more questionable goaltending.

To that end, the Avalanche dealt this summer from a position of strength (or so they thought), giving up the versatile, crafty forward Alex Tanguay, who probably wouldn’t have fit into the team’s salary structure anyways, to the Calagary Flames in exchange for “puck-moving” (read: incapable of playing real defense, but with enough offensive upside to offset the fact) defenseman Jordan Leopold. What they failed to realize, however, is that in trading for Canadiens netminder Jose Theodore near the trading deadline, they sacrificed cap space and a better goaltender in exchange for a player they would have been foolish to offer a pack of Marek Svatos’ sticks for, meanwhile strengthening a divisional opponent’s only discernible weakness.

Speaking of Marek Svatos, it really sucks to be him, eh? When the Avs first went up to the podium in whichever year they drafted him (Biff's Note: 2001, you lazy bum), he had to have been excited beyond belief: Peter Forsberg? Joe Sakic? Patrick Roy? Rob Blake? He was going to be surrounded by some of the greatest names in the history of the game……until they began leaving. Roy retired, Forsberg left via free agency, to be followed by Rob Blake this offseason, leaving Svatos with only a shell of Joe Sakic’s former self with whom to play. Even worse, Steve Konawalchuk, who, after missing most of last season with a wrist injury, was penciled in for scond-line duty to take the pressure of Svatos, was recently diagnosed with a heart condition, and is unsure if he will be able to return this season. If he doesn’t it sure will suck to be an Avalanche fan this season……actually, now that I think about it, even if he does, it won’t be enjoyable to watch your once-proud franchise struggle to make the playoffs, weighed down by a substandard goaltender, only to wimper out of the playoffs in another early exit.

Follow the Avs all year long via some good old blogging, at Colorado Avalanche Blog, Avalanche! or Colorado Avalanche and NHL Hockey Blog. (Jeez, I know the name "Opossum-Palooza" is non-sensical and foolish, but at least it is somewhat creative. C'mon guys! (Or girls))

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