Based on the outpouring of contrived indifference regarding the end of the NHL lockout, I’m guessing a lot of people are not interested in the Colorado Avalanche getting back on the ice. And that’s too bad, because the Avs are a good team that may be poised to do great things in this shortened season. And when the bandwagon starts to fill up, we’ve got the names and screencaps of those who didn’t want any part of it.
And the lockout was over as of 3 AM mountain time the past Sunday morning according to the vigilant Adrian Dater at the Denver Post. And while most reactions to the news have been snarky at best, I couldn’t be happier. Hockey is truly one of the greatest sports played and to have it back at the highest level is nothing short of a boon to the Denver sports fans.
Unfortunately, the absence of hockey has further damaged the already tenuous relationship the sport had with its fans. It is in the case of Denver at least, where we have too much already distracting us. And many will stay away, damaging the bottom line of an already struggling league across the board. For the Avs, the lockout will surely hinder attendance for at least the first few months until the fair weather fans – who are the bulk of ticket buying public – decide whether to get behind a team that could ultimately be successful.
And it should be successful. The young Avs showed a lot of promise whenever the last time they played was and with the bulk of its players continuing to play during the lockout with European and pro hockey clubs, they should be ready to get back to work without missing a step…or stride, I guess. The team should be a playoff contender and as we see often with the NHL, any team can make a run if they get into the tournament.
And by that point, the fans will have come trickling back. The Broncos will be done playing (for better or for worse) by February 3rd, and Denver sports fans will need something to watch. The Nuggets, while entertaining to watch, are far too inconsistent to give fans a secure sense that they’ll be competing for a title. Their season will be over sometime after they stumble into the first round of the playoffs. The Rockies season is already over: they won’t win their tough division and a wild card berth is about as laughable as the team’s 2013 pitching will be. The Avs, despite the rocky start to this season will be a good bet, just like the Broncos were down the stretch.
The negatives? Well, Joe Sacco is still the coach. In what will be a rubber meets the road season for him, if he falters, he’ll be shown the door by March. If not, it’s possible he does know what he’s doing and the results may be positive. Also the team hasn’t signed Ryan O’Reilly yet and while it’s widely know that contract talks will start now that the lockout is over, if the Avs don’t resign hardest worker on the team, it may be too much for the already dwindling fan base to take. Still, things are looking good for a squad that just needs to get back on the ice and back into your heart.
As for the betrayal some people are feeling because of the way the NHL and its players seemingly treated fans during all of this, I don’t see it as spiteful as it is just stupid. Having two lockouts in such a short span of time is just plain dumb and to keep the sport out of the arenas and away from the fans seems like the most asinine thing possible. And it’s just that: it was dumb. But if intelligence is your yardstick, you would have stopped following the Rockies a long time ago. Like a drunken friend who took a dump in the plant in your foyer, give the NHL another chance and you may just be pleased with how your hometown team fares.
The Avs bandwagon may not be filling up just yet, but it might in a couple of months from now. Will you be on it? Even though I’ve got the names and screencaps, you’ll still be welcome.