Sunday, April 6, 2008

In a Playoff State of Mind

Today while the Avs butt heads with the Wild to determine the final standings in the Western Conference, I plan on kicking back and enjoying the end of the Great Playoff Drought of the Aught Sevens.

The dark days are over!

Ahh yes, some day I'll tell my grandchildren the tale of the season the Avs didn't make the playoffs by a single point, and how this made everyone like the Rockies. Then we will all shake our heads and share a hearty laugh among us.

It is a good feeling knowing that your team is in before the last day of the season, because nothing says "impossible Cup run" quite like when your boys have to have help to make it into the big dance. Even better, this time around it appears as if everyone is actually healthy, including Jordan Leopold, who the last time I checked was being kept in a large jewel case so that he can avoid any scratches or chips.

Yet questions persist for this team that we've become aggravated by so many times this year.

Can Jose Theodore continue his run of strong goaltending?
Will Peter Forsberg and Ryan Smyth's bodies hold up under the constant hooking, slashing and crosschecking of the playoffs?
Is Joe Sakic healthy enough to produce consistently with the likes of Wolski?
How will Paul Stastny respond in his first playoff?

And most important:

Will an Avalanche team that really only came together over the last three weeks, find enough cohesiveness to absorb the ups and downs of what will be a difficult first round matchup?

I thought about that for a long time and the conclusion I came to is:

I have no idea.

Hold on to your hats you crazy spoiled Avs fans! We've been magically transported back in time to a playoffs where our team isn't a juggernaut to be feared by all. In fact most people don't know what this team is going to do after a season in which parity and injuries made even the most seasoned hockey experts look silly.

This time there is "uncertainty", and that is the most exciting part of the Avalanche's return to the playoffs.


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