26 April 2010
(this was supposed to be published a few days ago, but I've been sick for the last 2-3 days.)
So it's time to clean out the 'ol locker, and look back on the season. Every season has ups and downs, but this season has been especially fun. The Avs started to shed and move on from the glory days of Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg, and are starting to move into the glory days of Paul Stastny and Matt Duchene. In the days, weeks, and months ahead we'll start looking at what the Avs need to do to repeat and surpass the success of this season, and the improvements that need to be made. But now's not the time to look at the warts, now's a time of reflection, appreciation and instant nostalgia.
So it's fitting that the season started with the end of the Joe Sakic dynasty, culminating with the Joe Sakic night. Coming off a last place finish and 3rd overall pick, this was supposed to be a rebuilding year, and Joe Sakic Night was supposed to be one of the few highlights of the season. It was one of the highlights of the season, but there were a lot more. In fact I'll be doing a top-10 '09-'10 Avs moments in the upcoming weeks. This is what's known as lazy filler. Admit it, you are all curious as to what the 10 moments are huh? Here's a hint: Anderson's 51-save OT playoff shutout: it's on the list.
This season was supposed to be one of patience and stuggle. Instead we were blessed with a season of rebirth and revelation. The Avs baptised themselves on the ice, and came out with a new identity on the other side.
More after the jump
The Avs surprised everyone, probably including themselves, by roaring out of the gate to the tune of a 10-1-2 record. Those 22 points would be crucial as the Avs ended up with the #8 seed in the playoffs. They struggled a bit in November, but overall the Avs were able to hold it together and play mostly inspired hockey for the rest of the season. More than that, Avs fans started to familiarize themselves with the rookies and new faces.
Remember the beginning of the season when it was difficult to see #39 on the ice and not immediately anticipate a turnover due to the remote possibility someone would make contact. Now #39 has ben taken over by TJ Galiardi, better known as bizarro-Arnason. The guy hits, plays defense well, gets under the opponent's skin, PKs, and does all the little dirty work. I think his offseason will include a guest appearence on Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe Tyler Arnason was so afraid of dirty work he was checked into an OCD rehab center in Russia.
As the season progressed, new faces started contributing more and more. Kyle Quincey had a fantastic 1st half of the season. Ryan Wilson estabished himself in the lineup. David Jones was leading the team in goals before being injured. Brandon Yip made his NHL debut and contributed. Chris Stewart forced his way to the top line. And of course, Ryan O'Reilly and Matt Duchene came in as rookies and started.
So the season is over, but the real fun is yet to come. This team will, for the most part, be together for a while. And this was just the first step. Even if they regress next season, this is a team that will get better. Not all the pieces are in place yet, but the Avs are ready to take the league by storm in the next couple years.
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