Even after one game, it’s clear these aren’t the same old Avalanche
Observations from the Avs beatdown of Nashville in Game 1:
• Not to be an “I told you so,” but I will be one nonetheless. I told anyone who would listen not to worry about the 1-5-1 finish to the regular season. It was easily explained as a boring road trip no one wanted to go on plus gearing down and getting physically and mentally right for the playoffs. As evidenced by the first period on Tuesday the Avs were able to flip the switch.
• If Joe Sakic doesn’t win Executive of the Year, there should be a criminal investigation. Super Joe has built such a deep roster that Logan O’Connor and Alex Newhook had to take a seat. Two guys scratched who combined to play 156 games with 21 goals and 36 assists. That’s depth.
• Credit to Jared Bednar for pushing all the right buttons when it came to game day decisions. Going with the veterans in Andrew Cogliano and Darren Helm proved to be the right move.
• I picked Avs in five before the series and nothing happened in Game 1 to change my mind. I’m not one of those “Chicken Little” types that is scared of my Vegas Knights’ shadow. Yes, the Avs blew out Vegas in Game 1 last year, only to lose four of the next five. This is different. Nashville isn’t as good as Vegas was. Vegas was coming off a grueling seven game series. The Preds are coming off a choke job against Arizona that forced them to have play the Avs instead of what they were hoping for-a matchup with Calgary. Nashville looked like a team still feeling sorry for themselves and knowing they don’t have a chance.
• Cale Makar will probably lose out on the Norris Trophy to Roman Josi. Nothing he can do about that but make this series personal. Make a statement that no matter what the voters say when the two went head to head Makar was clearly the better player. His game one performance including another “did you see that?” goal was quite the impressive opening statement.
• Nice job by Nazem Kadri not taking the cheese. Clearly Nashville’s plan is to try and bait him into losing his mind and facing yet another playoff suspension. Kadri kept his cool and even better, teammates like Josh Manson came to his defense to tell the Preds to cut the crap. Good to see.
• Final takeaway. This Avs team is scary. They have the talent. They have the depth. And what we saw in Game one was a hungry, determined team that has laser focus on winning the Cup. Long way to go I know, but I believe we’re in for a special spring and early summer.