Remember how god-damned obnoxious and hateable the Avalanche used to be? That was a simpler time.
The Avalanche were an unbelievable powerhouse for about ten years following their Stanley Cup win in '96. Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg were an unstoppable, unfair 1-2 punch at center. Sakic was just a regular guy with no particularly detestable characteristics, but Forsberg was a chippy asshole who only made things worse with his "I'm too good for the regular season" attitude later in his career.
The rest of the team was filled with jerks like Chris Simon, Claude Lemieux, Adam Foote, and (later) Rob Blake*. Jesus, the Avalanche were like the fucking Magnificent Seven of douchebaggery.
The king of the assholes, of course, was Patrick Roy. Never has a man with impressive talent done more to taint and ruin it. He won a bunch of games (while playing on an insanely stacked team, by the way) but I will contend till the day I die that he was frequently a liability: his risky and clumsy stick-handling often leading directly to goals for the opposing team. And nobody ever called him out on his bullshit, because he was the great and perfect Patrick Roy! God damn, it just makes me so mad - gah - I'm choking on my rage here!
I can't for the life of me remember the context, but I saw this thing on TV one time where Peter Jennings was being interviewed about hockey (since he was Canadian, and the interviewer was clearly racist). He was asked about his favorite team and he made a comment about whatever team he grew up rooting for - that's not the point of the story. Then, without any prompting, Jennings said the following (I'm paraphrasing, but it's pretty close - it was burned in my memory as the most randomly awesome thing that has ever happened)**:
Peter Motherfucking Jennings: "One team that I don't like is the Colorado Avalanche. And the reason I don't like them is that I feel the fans are spoiled. The team won the Stanley Cup in its first year after moving to Colorado, and so the fans there got the greatest success without having to wait at all. That's not how it's supposed to be."
Anyway, the point of all this is that all the players that made the Avalanche hateable are long gone***. Craig Anderson is a great story this season, and Paul Stastny and the Scooby Gang are fun players and exciting to watch. Before this season most analysts said the Avalanche would suck. While I agreed that their goaltending was questionable, I knew that Stastny and Wolski could put in some goals (and I drafted them both on my fantasy team, since no one else seemed to remember they existed). I'm not at all surprised that the Avs made the playoffs, and if they weren't playing against the Sharks I would be pulling for them. But since things worked out like this, I have only one thing to say: The Avalanche suck and can burn in hell.
Prediction: Sharks win 4-1. Goals by Thornton, Blake, Malhotra, and Couture.
*= Ah the irony! It burns!
**= The internet has failed me in my search for the clip itself, so if anyone happens to know where I can find it, I will include it in an upcoming post.
*** = Except Adam Foote, but he's such a rickety old shadow of himself that now it's funny.