Shoddy Defense Collapsing Down the Stretch for the Colorado Avalanche

March 23rd, 2010 by James Crider Leave a reply »
The naysayers may get their happy ending after all.

The collapse may have finally begun. With 10 games left in the regular season, the Colorado Avalanche, once poised to take the Northwest Division title, find themselves sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference, only five points ahead of ninth place Calgary.

In a season where the talk of the town has been the squad's young talent, very little of that talent has been on the blue line. The defense is a dinosaur squad—the Achilles' heel of the Avalanche from game one, and has somehow managed to get worse recently. Colorado has allowed 14 goals in the past four games, including an embarrassing win (thanks to Craig Anderson's heroics) where they allowed 51 shots against Dallas.

Foot speed is a big reason why they've been so ineffective. Adam Foote and Scott Hannan have always been slow, Brett Clark has slowed considerably over his five year Avalanche career, and Ruslan Salei skates like he has a piano strapped to his back.

Perhaps the biggest reason for consistent defensive breakdowns is a poor transition game. Part of this is due to foot speed, but most of it is due to ...

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