Maybe we should have stayed in the British Empire.
Sure, there were debilitating and repressive colonial taxes tainted by paltry representation in government.
But the Colorado Avalanche would have more championships.
It’s these pesky playoffs that are the problem.
If the National Hockey League was more like the English Premier League, the regular season is all that would matter.
Across the pond, teams accumulate points via wins throughout the regular season. And whichever soccer squad comes out on top is the champion.
No tournament. No Game 7s needed.
Stiff upper lip and all that, chaps.
Heavy is the head that wears the crown
The Avs would have hoisted the Stanley Cup last year as the Presidents’ Trophy winner.
And barring some kind of collapse, it’s likely the league-leading boys in burgundy and blue will be winners again this spring.
The Avs have a double-digit points lead over the other teams in the Western Conference. And Colorado would need a losing streak to fall behind beasts of the East like the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers.
They’re currently Presidents’ Trophy favorites at DraftKings Colorado Sportsbook.
But that’s not the world we live in.
Playoffs mean everything in North American sports.
So let’s follow the grand English tradition of sports betting and try to nab a shilling or two from Colorado’s online sportsbooks.
The Avs have been clear Stanley Cup favorites this season.
BetMGM Colorado Sportsbook opened Colorado at +600 in the fall, and the Avs are now pegged at .
They’re not a long shot, but they are a big liability for the books.
BetMGM reported earlier this week that 32.8 percent of its Stanley Cup handle and 25.8 percent of its tickets are riding on the Avs.
Updated Stanley Cup betting at @BetMGM
• Avalanche: opened +600, now +400
• Panthers: opened +2500, now +550
• Flames: opened +4000, now +900
• Avs 26%
• Panthers 8%
• Lightning 7%
• Avs 33%
• Panthers 7%
• Rangers 7%
— John Ewing 🦁 (@johnewing) March 23, 2022
As you can see, the Avs have had more than three times the number of tickets and quadruple the amount of money wagered on them compared to the second favorite Panthers.
Plugging up the holes
The Avs didn’t necessarily make a huge splash at the trade deadline. But they did try to shore up a few weak spots.
Colorado is a meager 17th in killing penalties. And while that’s all well and good for facing the dregs of the league, a trio of top Western Conference rivals — the St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, and Calgary Flames — are all in the top 10 for power play scoring.
Those will be potential playoff roadblocks for the Avs.
One reason why: Faceoffs. The Avs are second to last in faceoffs won this year, so it was clear general manager Joe Sakic’s plan was in place.
Sakic flipped Tyson Jost for the Minnesota Wild’s Nico Sturm. He brings a more balanced attack at forward and (most importantly) wins 52 percent of his faceoffs.
Super Joe also grabbed former Montreal Canadien Artturi Lehkonen, who was an important part of the Habs’ unlikely playoff team last year. The Fin is having a career season and could be a solid contributor.
The moves didn’t capture massive headlines, but they are subtle solutions for Colorado’s few weaknesses.
‘For England, James’
Without a doubt, the Avs have the makings of something special this season.
They’ve been consistent, adaptable and have been getting incredible production up and down the roster.
Last playoff season, the stars disappeared into the ether and the team folded.
It’s a different squad this time.
It likely means yet another Presidents’ Trophy as the top team in the regular season. But that’s just metal and chrome signifying nothing.
This is the U S of A, guv’nuh.
We dump tea in harbors and are built to get 16 W’s come springtime.
Just as the founders intended.