Avalanche crank it up a notch, fighting for a playoff spot | PostIndependent.com

Avalanche crank it up a notch, fighting for a playoff spot

Sports Geek
Jeff Sauer
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Jeff Sauer

What a difference a week makes. The Avs are finally playing desperate hockey.

Hopefully they’re not too late.

I won’t say that I completely gave up on them making the playoffs; I was just guilty of daydreaming about March Madness brackets, opening day in baseball, watching the Masters, and planning a spring turkey hunt.

Funny things happen when you least expect them, and for the Avs, playing aggressive and cohesive hockey in all three zones night in and night out has been a quandary all season. They were lulling us to sleep.

Enter new winger Steve Downie, who tallied two goals, three assists, and a plus-five ratio in his first three games with the Avalanche, all of them victories.

While the Avalanche parted ways with popular forwards Daniel Winnik and TJ Galliardi just before yesterday’s trade deadline, the Avs made a more significant trade earlier in the week that didn’t grab near as much attention. Most of the hockey scribes thought the Avs came out on the short end of the stick (pun intended) when they traded away Kyle Quincey in exchange for Downie last week.

Not the case at all.

The team just acquired the same type of player it lost last season when they shipped Chris Stewart to St. Louis – a gritty, hard-nosed, player who will muck it up with the best.

Downie is a precision, tape-to-tape passer, who can bury the puck, and the Avs just added a component they were sorely lacking as they scramble toward a playoff spot.

The Avs are now somewhat bent on amassing former first-round draft picks to fill their roster, trading for Erik Johnson, Peter Mueller, and now, Downie.

As for the playoff push, they only have 19 games remaining, 10 at home and nine away. They’ll need to stay hot, and will probably need some of the other playoff contending teams to struggle down the stretch if they want to sneak into the postseason.

It could go something like this: Win 11 of 19 remaining games, while picking up two regulation ties, adding 24 points to the 68 they currently have, for a total of 92 points and the eighth seed.

They key to survival is winning the games against the teams they are contending against: Minnesota (two), Calgary (two), Anaheim (two, including last night), and Phoenix (one).

Sweeping those seven games might just do the trick.

Lots of talk about the new USA basketball logo recently unveiled for the Olympics this summer. Not bad, but nothing to get excited about.

Decent logos are hard to come by. Here’s a list of some the best and worst logos still currently used in pro sports:


Best: Red Wings, Flyers and Canadiens. Worst: Hurricanes, Predators and Sabres.


Best: Broncos and Raiders. Worst: Browns, Titans and Dolphins.


Best: Yankees, Red Sox and Cardinals. Worst: Rays and Padres.


Best: Bulls and Celtics. Worst: Thunder and Trail Blazers.

With the exception of the Broncos’ redesigned look, all of the primo logos have been around for ages. As for the bad, will somebody please step up and pay the graphic designer whatever it takes to fix these butt-ugly eyesores?

The Grand Junction Rockies kick off their inaugural season this summer with a slate of 38 home games at the newly remodeled Suplizio Field.

The team is a minor league rookie affiliate of their parent club, the Colorado Rockies, and has produced current and former Rockies favorites: Ubaldo Jimenez, Jhoulys Chacin, Dexter Fowler, Seth Smith and Eric Young Jr.

Plan a short road trip to check out the future Rockie stars of tomorrow starting in June. Call (970) 255-ROCK for more information.

Jeff Sauer is a longtime western Colorado resident and former Roaring Fork Valley resident. He can be reached at soprisjeff@yahoo.com.

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