Avalanche Must Fix Attitude and Power Play Problems

Fans of the Colorado Avalanche have needed patience this season. The team has been hit with injuries, but the expectation was that they would improve when healthy and work their way back to where they belonged in the standings.

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However, the Avalanche are far from where they need to be right now. Thursday’s loss to the Chicago Blackhawks was a low point. Yes, they are banged up, missing two top-six forwards and their second defensive pairing. But even without those players, the team needs to be better.

Avalanche Seem Uninterested

The biggest frustration in this game was the team’s lack of desire to win. The Avalanche were playing a team at the bottom of the standings, and the Blackhawks are one of a handful of teams hoping to land Connor Bedard’s services at the 2023 NHL Draft. Yet, of the two teams on the ice, it was the Avalanche that was going through the motions and waiting for Bedard to turn things around.

Jared Bednar Colorado Avalanche
Jared Bednar, Head Coach of the Colorado Avalanche (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The problems we are seeing are not due to injuries. They are due to a lack of effort, and no desire to win, and this is increasingly alarming given the fact that the team really needs to move up the standings right now. Not one player stood out in this game, and the stars did not show up. There was no urgency to get back into the game until the final two minutes when it was too late.

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Yes, given the players that are missing, the Avalanche will lose games, and if they are beaten by a better opponent, that’s one thing. But let’s not forget that one of the Blackhawks’ star players, Patrick Kane, did not play in this one. Chicago is 31st in the standings for a reason, and even taking into account injuries, the Avs should have been capable of putting together a better performance than they did.

Colorado Must Fix Their Power Play

The Avalanche also have one power-play goal in their last 25 opportunities. With a top power-play unit that includes Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar, this figure is simply not acceptable. Yes, Gabriel Landeskog has yet to play this season due to injury, but the other three are more than capable of getting the job done without him. In a four-minute opportunity against the Blackhawks, they managed one shot on goal. Colorado hasn’t been unlucky, they have been executing poorly.

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Fixing the power play has to be the number one priority right now. It could be what drags them to victory if they continue to play badly, and they definitely need a win from somewhere.

Where Do the Avalanche Go Next?

This game has to be a turning point. Last night’s loss can be blamed on an unacceptable lack of desire throughout the lineup, not working hard enough, not executing and taking chances or getting the basics right.

The team now returns home for two games, starting with the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night, followed by an afternoon game against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday. The Avs need to show their fans that they are willing to fight for wins in these two games.

Does the team want to make the playoffs and try to defend their Stanley Cup title? If they do, it’s time to stand up and be counted. Every player on the team should be heading into the next two games with a point to prove that they are worthy of being on the roster.

The Avs are four points out of a wild-card spot and have games in hand on all of the teams around them. The situation is not unfixable with steps in the right direction, and those steps have to begin with hard work and desire.