During the start of the Colorado Avalanche’s 2001 season, Ray Bourque posted the motto “Mission 16W” in the team’s locker room so they could focus on the need to win the 16 playoff games in order to reach their goal of hoisting the Stanley Cup. With 23 games remaining this season, Coach Patrick Roy hasn’t given up and neither has the team or fans. Roy has placed the 95 points mark as the goal for the team to reach. Though under much different circumstances, the Avs have a similar mission to the 2001 team. “Mission 17 W” starts now.
The Avalanche currently have 61 points and 23 games left to decide their fate. Meaning the Avs would have to gain 34 points to reach their goal. That would be 17 wins or the equivalent in points. A tall order, but nothing is impossible, especially with the overall much improved play of the Avalanche.
Improvment in Every Area
First Colorado fixed their defensive zone play. Coach Roy switched from a man on man to the more conventional zone coverage. Since then, there has been a noticeable difference in their defensive play, shots allowed, the whole shebang. Despite the positive change the Avs still weren’t getting production from their core of young forwards.
That has changed now too. Gabe Landeskog is leading the way with a 5 game goal scoring streak, while Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon each have at least a point in their last 4 of 5 games. With veterans Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay not slowing down, coupled with the young guns finally emerging, Semyon Varlamov, and improved defensive play, the Avs can absolutely accomplish their goal of 95 points.
Gut Check Time
“We’re not going to quit no matter what the situation is, and we want every team to know that.” READ MORE: http://t.co/3O26MAMKh0
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) February 20, 2015
Despite losing to the LA Kings on Wednesday night in a game of huge importance, the Colorado Avalanche outplayed the reigning champs. Though they lost that game which snapped a two game winning streak, Colorado were upbeat and positive that if they keep on playing like this, they will win much more often than not.
The Avs backed up their claims and went into Chicago on Friday night to play an excellent road game, winning 4 to 1 against one of the very best teams in the NHL. They will need to keep this level of play up in order to have their chance. Every game will be massively important for the Colorado Avalanche.
Here is a video of Colorodo’s 2001 Stanley Cup run, in which they chose the motto of “Mission 16 W”.
If the Avalanche manage to make an impressive run to the playoffs, their mission will not be over. Far from it, since a new mission begins immediately once you make the post season. A mission for the best trophy in sports, the Stanley Cup.
Next on the list, the talented Tampa Bay Lightning visit Denver on Sunday night. Should be a great one Avs fans, let’s do this.
Sebastian Noble is currently in his third year with The Hockey Writers covering the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers. Liverpool, England, and of course Colorado Avalanche & Florida Panthers supporter. You can follow him on Twitter @SebastianHNoble