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In the last week or so, the hot topic seems to have been "How flukey are the Avs?" Multiple members of the internet hockey pool have weighed in, and most have been fairly negative about the Avs chances. Mirtle had two posts about it, The Puck Stops here weighed in on it, and after the Calgary game, Matchsticks and Gasoline had some rather harsh thoughts on it as well. There have plenty of offhanded remarks in some MSM publications about how flukey the Avs have bee.

Avs fans took some offense to the comments, mainly because it seems like everyone is downplaying some of the Avs accomplishments and poo-pooing on our wonderfully surprising parade. It feels like one of the main reasons why people outside the Avs are focusing on the negatives is because people assume how the Avs ended last season is their “normal” so this can’t possibly be real. They think last year the Avs played exactly where they should play and that this hot start can’t possibly hold because the Avs are as bad as last season, ignoring the fact that

a) There’s been numerous changes for the better
b) The Avs were plenty unlucky last season and shouldn’t have been as bad as they were.

When everyone (and people in the Avs roundtable included in this) made prognostications we all accepted last season as normal, and forgot that the same team made the playoffs the season before last. There are plenty of indicators that the Avs were an incredibly unlucky team last season (Injuries and shooting percentage being two areas I have noticed).

Essentially the Avs shouldn’t have been as bad as they were last season, and probably should have finished in the 12th or 11th range. this season they have improved since last season (that should be obvious to anyone) and they are playing a bit above their heads.

when people talk about the Avs, they should be keeping all three of those things in mind (where they should have been, improvement, and playing above their heads), but all anyone focuses on is the latter, and assumes that they’ll return to where they were last season, which would take an unprecedented amount of bad luck to happen.

How much bad luck would it take for the Avs to "Collapse" as some have suggested? Well Gabe over at Behind the net took a look at teams with similar hot starts. Even if the Avs are a below average team, compared to teams with similar starts, they are likely to finish with around 98 points, and approximately a 6 seed in the Western Conference. That's a long ways from "falling off a cliff" or "The wheels coming off".

There are plenty of indicators that the Avs are playing a bit over their head at the moment, and plenty of reasons to think they have cooled off. But this team is fundamentally better than last seasons crew (and honestly, I think they are a better team than 07-08 Avs). They will cool off and won't finish with 139 points, but finishing with 95+ points would be a monumental accomplishment, and hardly warrants some of the strong language used.