This post-hockey stretch hasn’t been good for the Colorado Avalanche.
The team has lost seven of their last eight games, erasing the good vibes of the last four wins in a row and the memory of the club being able to finish games whether leading or trailing.
The Ottawa Senators are in town and do feel the slide is likely to continue.
As my colleague Peter Baugh at The Athletic said Tuesday night, sometimes you are what your record says you are.
It was a hard pill to swallow for Avalanche fans, as the defending Stanley Cup champions faced their biggest adversity in years.
Of course, injuries to Gabriel Landeskog, Valeri Nichushkin, Bowen Byram and even Josh Manson didn’t help. But whether it’s against the 26th-ranked Vancouver Canucks, the 22nd-ranked Florida Panthers or the No. 2-seeded Toronto Maple Leafs, this team hasn’t seemed to be able to dominate in 60 minutes lately. , which is also not true, or — check the notes — the second-to-last Chicago Blackhawks.
Jared Bednar needed more from his team, and getting this not-so-happy group of misfits on board proved to be quite a challenge.
“urgent [is] First. Well, get ready and focus on getting off to a good start and making sure we get our energy levels up from the puck drop. But that sense of urgency and competitiveness, I think right away it gives you the intensity of the game,” Bednar said Wednesday. I think it has to start with the drop of the puck, first, and then the decision.For me part of the reason we were successful at certain points in the game was the way we managed the puck and the decision making and then the level of work involved [it]. If you make the right decision to put the puck in, you’ve got to be willing to go to work and get it back, and that’s kind of sporadic for me sometimes. Here are some of the things we discussed with our group this morning. They understand. We try to make them clear. “
Preparation is the key word there, and as the day falls, the losses mount and people are calling out the soon-to-be most successful coach in franchise history, that’s something to keep in mind.
It’s not all about the coaching staff. Sometimes game decisions are the responsibility of the players on the ice.
“Honestly, I’m a firm believer that the start of the game is up to the individual. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. No — I’m not just saying that, I’ve been around for a long time, but — in terms of the way we prepare , there is no better coaching team, no more detailed team, in terms of knowing exactly what other teams are trying to do — what are their strengths, what are their weaknesses — than our team,” Andrew said. Cogliano told me on New Year’s Eve.
“We are lucky to have employees like us [have] In terms of the details of how we need to execute to be successful. We won the Stanley Cup last year. I think that’s a fact that shows how receptive and driven people are in this room. I think there’s a good combination here, a good synergy between the coaching staff and the players. I think the coaching staff is very, very motivated and that guides our players. And the standards are high. We really think we should win every night. We were last year’s champions and we’re working towards the exact same goal. In order to do that, you have to have good synergy between the coaching staff and the players, and I don’t think there’s anyone in the league better than us. “
Sometimes it allowed four goals in the first quarter. Sometimes it allows for quick goals in the second quarter. Sometimes, when you hope and believe that you can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, it bounces back from a four-goal deficit late in the game to level the game before losing the last marker to lose regulation.
Hockey is not easy.
“I’ve been around for a long time. I’ve always been a firm believer that personal preparation is really key in this league because it’s a really tough league and when you have that ability and you go out and execute, you have a great chance Getting a good start in the game. So we have to get better at that. I think that’s a weakness for us,” Cogliano said. “I think it’s up to the players. We’re the ones out there. We’re the enforcers. It’s us playing the game and I don’t think we’ve done a good enough job of being vigilant lately, not being mentally ready as individuals to hand the game over to the team. them.”
That mentality is what superstar and needy leader Nathan McKinnon also believes is key to the team’s success.
“It’s all about the players. Everyone has to be ready to play for the team,” McKinnon said. “It starts individually. If you don’t do your job, if you don’t do what you have to do, the team suffers – especially when you’re playing a lot and being relied on. These systems are the first It’s second nature. If you want to play, play, get ready to go, get ready, it’s all up to you. So I think everybody has to prepare themselves, that’s for sure.”
You can rest assured that aside from MacKinnons, Mikko Rantanens, Cale Makars and Alexandar Georgievs odd human type disappointments here and there, these top talents are always ready to play. They are gamers. They want the puck on their stick, the breeze in their hair, the crowd chanting their name, and the victories associated with them.
The problem is that secondary and tertiary support on the injured list is non-existent. These people’s opinions aren’t enough, and that’s one area where the latest troubles have been.
“I think we can always get more [from them]. I don’t think production exists, but I try to judge them more [things other than] Talent,” Bednar said of much of the current roster. “If the jobs are there, if the competitiveness is there, the determination is there, that’s all we can ask for. If they’re not shooting enough or they’re always looking for the next game, we can help them with some scoring issues.
“So we’re kind of aligned, but some of it might just be the level of talent, some guys won’t score a lot. We hope they do, but you always want to see an improvement in performance from all of you, especially when you’re going through When losing streak.”
If you thought help came from the Colorado Eagles down the street, think again. The very active pipeline that you saw at the beginning of the season has shut down.
“I feel like we’ve got players who can help us out and help us win hockey here right now,” Bednar said.
The call needs to come from inside the house. Scoring needs to come from inside the locker room. The leadership and the spirit of not giving up needs to come from those who sit on the bench.
Attacks, penalties, on-time starts, game-winning goals, and the swagger of the Stanley Cup all require players to shoot.
In the short term, the only way out is to work hard. You can’t rest on your laurels. There’s no point in finding the person next to you or the person in line to pick up your slack. When you’re outside the playoffs and watching the postseason with envy, there’s certainly no trade coming. And the coaching staff certainly won’t make any changes to salvage those lapses.
“When you go through moments and times like this in a season where you have to be on your toes in terms of personal preparation and sort of getting on your toes and wanting to pick up the pace and not deal with another team and create momentum and do the right thing Little things,” Cogliano said. “If everybody does it individually, I think we’re better together as a team and you score the first goal in a couple of games. You get into more of a rhythm and then all of a sudden You’ll get rid of it.”