For those that had become used to seeing the Avalanche succeed up until the time of the lockout (and even for a couple of years thereafter) it has to boggle the mind that the Avalanche haven't managed to land a top five pick in the NHL draft in seventeen years.
Yep, the last time the Avalanche (then Nordiques) landed in a position to certifiably draft talent Dan Quayle was writing "potatoe" on a chalkboard in a classroom full children, John Gotti was getting hauled off to the clink, and yours truly was stumbling through high school while clad head to toe in flannel.
People, few things were good about calendar year 1992.
Flash forward to today, and I have to say the future looks a little bit brighter for our beloved hockey club. For the first time in a very long time, the Avalanche have managed to truck in some talent without having to trade Brian Rolston...or Alex Tanguay...or Chris Drury...or...I could go on.
Welcome Matt Duchene!
Now all we need is to find a team looking to fill their lineup with some scratch and dent players (Marek Svatos, Scott Hannan) and the Avalanche will be well on their way to success!
Success you say? How? They stink!
Yes kids, like many a crappy team before them the team from The Mountains is fully engaged in what I like to call "The National Hockey League's Talent Bailout Program!"
It is a simple program sponsored by Gary Bettman's irrational belief that parity is a good thing. All it takes is semi-coherent management and a group of athletes who are completely incapable of winning games. Mix in three to four years of pathetic performance, a few salary dumps here and there, a dash of fan sponsored apathy, and before long your team will be signing up top-five draft picks like NAMBLA sponsors at a Jonas Brothers concert!
No need to look any further than the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins as the best example of the benefits of prolonged tanking! Crosby, Malkin, Fleury. In fact the Pens acquired so much talent during their decade from hell that they were even able to throw some of it away (Esposito) in pursuit of players who later refused to play for them (Hossa), and still etch their names on that glorious chalice!
Need more examples?
Okay, how about the soon to be perennial Western Conference Finalist Chicago Blackhawks?
Oh and there's the St. Louis Blues...and what about the Phoenix Coyotes (save Wayne "I can't coach my way out of a wet paper sack" Gretzky)?
See a trend developing?
This is the great part of supporting a pathetic hockey team. At some point they will suck hard enough that they will be afforded the opportunity to get much, much better.
Better yet, if fans are lucky ticket prices will drop along with attendance, and Jim Balsille will swoop in and attempt to move the squad to Canada. At which point The Commish will step in, shut down the Canadian Supervillain and even *ahem* tilt the draft in your favor. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.
And like Christmas in July you have yourself the likes of Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin.
It's juuust that easy!
Now for the next act, getting Jonas Gustavsson into a nice condo in Cherry Creek.