WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE AVALANCHE?

What’s wrong with the Avalanche this season? Some of Colorado’s pundits offer their opinions.

Adrian Dater of The Denver Post wrote.

“Well, I picked the Avs to finish ninth in the West this year, but as everybody who has EVER known me knows, I’ve been known to be wrong before.

My problem with the Avs right now is this: I don’t think they addressed their weaknesses all too well this past offseason. They weren’t a good faceoff team last year — and there are no new faceoff specialists on this year’s team. They weren’t a good penalty-killing team last year, and there are no personnel differences on the PK unit so far this year, and entering Sunday the Avs ranked 28th in the league. They had a goalie who led them into the playoffs last year and stole a first-round series against the division champs. But they let him go (and yes, Jose Theodore critics, I’m aware of his numbers so far in Washington — not the greatest). But so far, the Avs’ goaltending has been extremely erratic.

I think they have two good lines, a third line that is miscast and a fourth line that is all heart and little talent. The defense is fine, but the goaltending is suspect. That sounds like the makings of a .500 team, and 5-5 is their record as I write this.”

Woody Paige of The Denver Post added:

“The Avalanche made a mistake with Tony Granato, and the Avs are making a mistake with their starting goaltender, and they’ve made some bad personnel decisions. I suppose if Peter Forsberg is able to come back, they would improve, but this looks to me like a non-playoff team.”

Aaron J. Lopez of the Rocky Mountain News summarized:

“Talented. Underachieving. Hard-working. Lackadaisical.

Four weeks into the season, the Avalanche is a team without a true identity, and its 5-7 record is a reflection of those schizophrenic personalities.

“Inconsistency is somewhat frustrating,” coach Tony Granato said after practice Wednesday. “You want your team to be consistent night after night. It’s something we’re battling through right now.”

From goaltending and defensive coverage to special teams and offensive production, it’s hard to know what to expect from the Avalanche from one game to the next.

On the heels of a five-game win streak, Colorado will try to end a four-game losing streak tonight against Northwest Division rival Minnesota [They lost.]. The Avalanche has not lost five games in a row since a six-game slump during the 1997-98 season.

“We’ve obviously shown glimpses of perfection and being a good team,” forward Wojtek Wolski said. “That’s what we’re working toward. We’re happy that it’s happening at the beginning of the season and not later on. It’s something we want to get out of our system.”

During a three-game losing streak to start the season, the Avalanche played well enough to win at least twice. The current slide has featured two third-period meltdowns on the road and two home losses in which it fell behind by two goals early.

“I don’t know if we’re working on an identity, but the consistency part . . . it’s hard to say (what’s wrong),” defenseman Adam Foote said. “We’ve been in games and we’ve had little lapses here and there. We’ve got to try to get those lapses out of there.”

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