Thursday, January 13, 2011

Old Man River

From what I can tell I am the only Avalanche fan in all of South Korea. My beer league is mainly occupied by Detroit, Ottawa, Vancouver, Blues, Montreal, and Leafs fans. In a sense it is a lonely existence, but there are good things about having a wide array of friends who like a wide array of teams. The best thing being that the majority of us can combine forces to mock the Leafs, Sidney Crosby is respected but seen as a punk, and Alex Ovechkin is almost universally worshipped, while Jason Spezza is almost universally despised.

The conversations tend to be wide in scope, and since Daejeon could be easily mistaken for a Canadian colony due to the large proportion of Canucks who live here, the hockey knowledge runs deep. Still, the lack of another Avalanche fan makes it difficult to have long conversations about where the Avalanche are going this season, and I often find myself with no one to high five when they score. Oh well...

If there is anything about the expatriate life that is guaranteed, it is that one spends a lot of time on the internet. At this point I can Facebook better than Mark Zuckerberg, and I truly appreciate that hockey, if not generally seen as an important sport in America, thrives in cyberspace.

From what I've read lately on the innertubes, wonderful bastion of hyperbole they are, the Avalanche are a horrible train wreck. Peter Budaj is seeing more time than Craig Anderson, the team has no defense, and the long absence of Chris Stewart allowed the Avs to go from "feisty and dangerous" to merely "feisty" or worse.

The win against Detroit this week provided evidence that the Avalanche can have games where they are overwhelming, yet after being shut out against the Blackhawks, the team provided the counter to that argument, and stand as winners of only four of their last twelve games.

I've preached before that the Avalanche are a young team, and that fans need to be patient with them while they develop. The fans seem to be trying, but for me, the patience is growing thin. Frankly, I'm getting sick of my own advice.

I get this idea that whenever I type the word "patience" into a computer I sound like a 75 year old man waiting on a couch for his tapioca to arrive. Maybe it is because inconsistent teams are difficult to write about, or maybe it's because my knee hurts and there's a draft coming from that dern window.

Colorado needs to show me something in the next month. They need to become giant killers. The return of Stewart should provide a spark, but this run towards the playoffs has meaning. The Avalanche need to take the next step towards success this year. The standards are higher, and they need to live up to them.

Now please, shut that door before you let all the heat out, and get me my stogie!

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