I'm still getting used to the "new NHL", so I've been in observation mode thus far -- Keeping my trap shut in the interest of seeing what happens. That said, up until recently, my dear Colorado Avalanche have been nothing more than mediocre. The new head coach, Joel Quenneville went all psycho on the goaltending corps and nearly ruined all three candidates' confidence and ability to play. Superstars like Rob Blake and Joe Sakic had been severe disappointments. Blake still doesn't make the hits he's supposed to and his cannon of a slap shot from the point hasn't really been a factor as of yet. As for Sakic, he is consistently the shots-on-goal leader in each game, so you know he's working out there, but to watch him earlier in the season, you'd think he was skating through molasses. The loss of Steve Konowalchuk was a punch to the gut. Milan Hejduk was in such a dark doldrum I was worried he'd never come out. The only bright spots in the first half of the season were really Alex Tanguay, rookie Marek Svatos, and a couple/few over-performing grinders like Ian Laperrier.
Now, though, the Avs have won eight straight games and things are looking more correct on the scoresheet:
Milan Hejduk scored a pair of power-play goals 34 seconds apart to lift the Avs to their eighth straight win, a 5-3 victory over Toronto on Tuesday night that pushed them into a tie for the Northwest Division lead.
Rookie Marek Svatos scored his 27th goal of the season, best in the Western Conference, to help Colorado match its longest winning streak since Oct. 10-28, 2000.
And now, thanks to that win over Toronto, the Avs share the number one spot in the Northwest Division! Granted, they share that lead with two other teams (the NW Div is tighter than my Spiderman Underoos these days).