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Avalanche To Host A Stadium Series Game In 2020
By Richard Gonzalez
Happy New Year! As you already know, the NHL has announced that the Colorado Avalanche will host another Stadium Series game on Feb. 15, 2020, at the Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs. Their opponent will be will be announced at a later date. I’m going to strictly give my opinion on the teams that might be a possibility to face the Avalanche.
This will be the second time the Avalanche will host an outdoor game. The first was on Feb. 27, 2016, when they took on the Detroit Redwings. Unfortunately, the Redwings took a 5-3 win, but the atmosphere in Denver was amazing. Including the makeshift blizzard. Let’s take a look at some potential opponents the Avalanche could play.
First and foremost, let me start with the Chicago Blackhawks. There is an old saying that starts off with “if a tree falls in a forest…” Well, if there is an outdoor game and the Blackhawks aren’t in it… I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. The Blackhawks are a division rival and seem to always find their way into an outdoor game; hence, the six games played already. They are a possibility until further notice.
The Redwings: These two teams have had a strong and destructive rivalry. They gave the true meaning of the phrase, ” I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.” The seasoned fans from both teams still have that hatred for each other and a re-match on redeeming themselves could be a possible angle that can be utilized. This is a stretch as the rivalry isn’t the same and highly doubt the NHL would play the same two teams again.
The Vancouver Canucks: Steve Hornbeck pointed this out as an old-school type rivalry. On March 8, 2004, the infamous Todd Bertuzzi and Steve Moore incident took place, which pretty much ended Moore’s career. Bertuzzi struck Moore from behind and continued striking him when he was down on the ice. Moore would have to be taken off the ice on a stretcher. He suffered a fractured vertebra and a concussion. I feel like the NHL wouldn’t want to bring up this infamous incident and would be disrespectful to exploit what happened to Moore to sell tickets.
The New Jersey Devils: Jake (Twitter) made a suggestion about the Devils playing as the Rockies and the Avalanche playing as the Quebec Nordiques. The Rockies were Colorado’s hockey team until they were relocated to New Jersey and renamed the Devils. The Avalanche would get a hockey team back when the Nordiques were relocated to Colorado.
This would be pretty interesting and kind of cool to see the history of Colorado hockey. Highly unlikely though. This would mainly promote the Avalanche and not much for the Devils. Plus the Avalanche are paying roots to their original team by incorporating their current third jerseys. An angle that can be played is the Avalanche coming back from being down in the Stanley Cup Final to defeat the Devils. Also, to re-live the moment Joe Sakic handed over the Cup to Ray Bourque so he can lift it first. One of the greatest moments in the history of the game and sports.
Speaking of the Stanley Cup. The Florida Panthers: The Avalanche became the first team to win the Stanley Cup in their first season as a relocated team. The Avalanche swept the Panthers and captured their first Cup. This can be something worth running with but with low popularity of the Panthers, it would be hard to sell this to the opposing team’s fans and don’t see a lot of other fans turning in to watch the Panthers play since there is no rivalry between the two.
The Los Angeles Kings: The Avalanche and Kings have history from playing in the Frozen Fury against each other. One of those games were played in Colorado Springs already, at the Broadmoor World Arena. The Kings would win this game 2-1 in the sixth round of the shootout. Adrian Dater of BSN Denver mentioned that the Kings’ owner has ties Colorado to include a very popular hotel in Colorado Springs. Also, noted that this could be a possible opponent. Check his article out for further details on BSN.
Nashville Predators: The Predators are another division rival. They also recently knocked the Avalanche out of the first round of the playoffs last season. Their overzealous fan base and unorthodox chants have really annoyed lots of fans around the league. The Predators popularity has grown a lot in the last few seasons. Their fans would like to see their Predators get awarded an outdoor game as well as the Predators organization. I can see the NHL looking at this as a possibility as a test run for the Predators to maybe host an outdoor game in the future.
Lastly, the Minnesota Wild. The Wild quickly became a hated team by Avalanche fans when Matt Cooke took out Tyson Barrie with a cheap shot in the 2004 playoffs. The Wild would eventually knock the Avalanche out of the playoffs but the bad blood spilled over in the next seasons to come. The physicality and tempo seem to be amped up when these two teams play. The newer generation hates the Wild more than the Redwings. This would be a great one to watch. It would be a big game that the Avalanche definitely wouldn’t want to lose. Also, can see other fan bases turning in to watch because of their rivalry. This is a strong possibility. This would be my pick.
As stated in the beginning. This is just my opinion and the opinion from fellow fans as some possibilities. This will be a great time and a fun one to watch. The NHL will probably announce the opponent soon and then we can start to speculate on how the sweaters should look like. Regardless, we get another outdoor. So get ready fans. Well, not too ready since it’s a little more than a year away.
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January 4th, 2019