Avalanche coach Jared Bednar likes to examine his team’s success through a three-game stretch, and this season, that generally means how it performs in three games over four nights, followed by a multiple-day layoff. The NHL’s quirky 2017-18 schedule is weekend heavy, particularly in October and November, and that forces teams to deal with consecutive-night games as much as relatively long breaks.
Last Sunday in Detroit, in Colorado’s third game in four nights, Bednar dubbed it a “swing” game against the Red Wings. Colorado began the week with a resounding victory at home against the Washington Capitals, but then played poorly two nights later at Nashville against the Predators. The next night in Detroit, the Avs rallied for an overtime victory. Going 2-1 in the four-day stretch was a resounding success.
Get used to it. Saturday’s late-night game against the visiting Calgary Flames was Colorado’s third game in four days, and the Avs won’t play again until Wednesday when they host Winnipeg. In all, the Avs don’t have any games on Monday or Tuesday in November, and just two on Sunday in the first two months of the season. The schedule evens out in December and January, although there’s a week-long gap of no games between Jan. 6 against Minnesota to Jan. 13 at Dallas.
Currently, the Avs aren’t complaining about their schedule. Against the Flames, they began a season-long five-game homestand. They entered Saturday 7-1-1 at home.
“It’s funny as a coach, you look at the standings before every game or you look at your opponent and who you’re playing and you’re always like, ‘This is a big game,’ and then the next night, ‘This is a big game.’ They’re all big,” Bednar said after Friday’s 3-2 overtime loss at Minnesota. “You have to be good every day in this league to survive. We’re starting to get there.”
“The NHL: 100” on deck. A special two-hour documentary to commemorate the NHL’s Centennial Celebration from January-December 2017 will be showed on NBC Sports Network and the NHL Network at 8 p.m. Sunday. “The NHL: 100” is split into 25-year periods, from the Founding Years to the Original Six to the Expansion Era and the Global Game of today. The four 25-minute episodes will be streamed on NHL.com beginning Monday.
The documentary is made to be both emotional and educational.
“It’s a daunting task to be in the mix of doing the definitive sweeping documentary on the history of the league,” producer Ross Greenburg told NHL.com. “It’s a pretty stiff challenge and it’s a little bit awesome in its scope.”
“It’s an emotional piece,” Greenburg added. “I found myself getting a tear in my eye or a tingle up my spine when we would introduce the great ones like (Guy) Lafleur or (Gordie) Howe or (Bobby) Orr or some of the other contemporaries like Wayne Gretzky. You see your life passing by during a documentary like this. That’s what you really want people to feel. I remember where I was when Bobby Orr went flying through the air. That’s important to give people that memory back.”
The educational aspects of the film might teach a thing or two to the league’s most knowledgeable fans.
“There are a lot of little stories that a lot of people probably don’t remember or never knew, even hardcore fans,” Greenburg said. “People (might) have very little knowledge of how it all started, who the first stars were and how it evolved — even the introduction of the sport to the United States, people take for granted. So those kinds of stories are the fun finds for us. That’s what we enjoy putting into these (documentaries) so people can learn, as much as they can feel the 100-year history.”