Kiz: The Avs are on a roll. This is their year, right? Heck, after watching the DU Pioneers win the Frozen Four in Boston to bring home the ninth championship in school history, it almost feels like fate to me. Denver is Hockeytown USA in 2022. Nothing is going to stop the Avalanche from hoisting the Stanley Cup. Well, maybe one thing. Do you believe in the curse of the President’s Trophy, my friend?
Chambers: It’s real. The President’s Trophy winner hasn’t won the Cup since the Chicago Blackhawks claimed the double crown in 2013. The Detroit Red Wings accomplished the feat in 2008 and 2002, and, of course, the Avalanche did it in 2001. I think the bigger curse for the Avs is Game 7s, where they’ve lost their last five. The President’s Trophy carries home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs, but Colorado – home or away – hasn’t been good enough in those massive Game 7s. However, something tells me this team is more mentally tough than the previous ones.
Kiz: The President’s Trophy was first awarded in 1986 to recognize regular-season excellence. Sounded like a good idea at the time. But only eight of the 35 President’s Trophy recipients have also hoisted the Stanley Cup, while seven have been ousted in the first round. Worse, more than 50% of the teams cursed with the President’s Trophy have exited before reaching the conference finals. I’m not superstitious. But why mess with history?
Chambers: You’ve done your homework, Kiz. A great columnist like yourself must first be a great reporter. You don’t need me to tell you that, but for public consumption, it’s good to point out. Based on conversations in Pittsburgh with Avs coach Jared Bednar last week, his team isn’t thinking about finishing with the NHL’s best record. They did that last year (tied with St. Louis, but Colorado won the tie-breaker), and it wasn’t worth anything in the playoffs. But it could have been if the Avs won Game 6 in Vegas and had a chance to break that Game 7 streak at Ball Arena. That would have been fun. Woulda, coulda.
Kiz: I like the idea of Colorado being guaranteed home-ice advantage against any foe in the West. I also think the Avs should step graciously aside and let Florida enjoy the President’s Trophy. It might be sacrilege to shout: “Tank, tank, tank!” So I won’t offend the Avs, but I might quietly suggest: “Rest up for the playoffs, fellas.” Nobody in Colorado gives a hoot about the President’s Trophy. The Stanley Cup is all that matters.
Chambers: The Panthers are probably saying the same thing, “Hey, Colorado, take the little Cup while we prepare to beat you for the big Cup in the Final.” But there’s no tank for either team. The final 10-game stretch is important. The Avs want to go into the playoffs on a roll. The Avs are a lock for the West’s No. 1 seed – now 13 points ahead of No. 2 Calgary – and the Panthers are six points ahead of Carolina for the East’s No. 1 seed. I think the Avs will take the No. 1 seed in the West and not worry about what Florida or Carolina does the rest of the way – besides what takes place on Saturday night against Hurricanes. That will be a great one!