After the NHL took three days off for the holidays, the Colorado Avalanche didn’t have a practice ahead of Friday’s 7-2 slaughter at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks.
That’s because they flew out to Chicago at 8:00 a.m. that morning, which is something Avalanche coach Patrick Roy was pretty unhappy about.
“I’m not going to use that as a reason why we lost,” Roy told the Denver Post. “(But) it’s unacceptable that we have to lose an hour to go to Chicago. … How can you give a good show? No matter what, we were in a bad spot. We’ve done it in the past, but why (didn’t) Chicago come here?
“I don’t know who’s working for the league for the schedule, but they need to understand that (when) Denver goes to Chicago, you’re losing an hour (and) if you want to play at night you have to be up at 4 or 5 in the morning to get to the airport … to have a good morning skate. It’s nonsense.”
Colorado is the westernmost team in the Central Division and the only one that’s not in the central timezone. Of course, rough patches in the schedule are nothing new and certainly aren’t unique to the Avalanche, even if the timezone difference gives them an added challenge in their division.
More importantly, they’re just 9-9-3 since their 14-2-0 start, which has put their playoff hopes in jeopardy. They’re about to start a seven-game homestand, so obviously travel won’t be a factor for a while. They need to have a strong showing during this stint.