Columnist rips Avs’ top players for their “terrible performances”

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Take-no-prisoners Denver Post scribe Adrian Dater is none too impressed with the Colorado Avalanche after the team saw its playoff hopes fall off a cliff in less than a week.

The Avs got smoked, 5-1, last night in San Jose – a defeat that came two days after blowing a 2-0 lead and losing in overtime to the Canucks.

Cue Dater:

You just can’t lose 2-0 leads late in the second period on home ice in a really big game and call yourself a playoff-worthy team.

And you also can’t afford getting terrible performances from your top paid players, like they got tonight from players such as Paul Stastny and Matt Duchene and David Jones and Jan Hejda and, yes, Milan Hejduk. Sad to say, but this looks like the end of the line for the classy Avs captain. He became non-existent production-wise in the second half, the game starting to look just one step too fast for him suddenly at age 36.

Dater went on to call Stastny’s performance against the Sharks “particularly odious” and his big contract “the most worrisome thing about the Avs going forward.”

Now, it should be noted that Colorado is the youngest team in the NHL and has the second lowest payroll, so there’s no real shame in barely missing the playoffs.

However, Dater might have a point about Stastny. The Avs have two other talented, young centers in 21-year-olds Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly. Perhaps Stastny’s $6.6 million cap hit could be put to better use.