Colorado Avalanche Blogger Post-Mortem

Here's the fourth in our series of first-round post-mortems from SBN bloggers. In this installment, we visit with David Driscall-Carignan of Mile High Hockey. Don't forget to check out our look at the Predators, Devils, and Sabres.

Do you think your team could have gone farther or is this what you expected?
That's about what I expected. The Avs are making some great strides, but they aren't quite there yet. Making the playoffs was a big accomplishment for them, and gives the young guns some valuable experience for the future.

Any injuries (previously hidden or known) that made a big impact on the series?

Peter Mueller and Milan Hejduk were both key losses, effectively wiping out the Avs' second line. The Avs missed both players terribly, especially Mueller's point shot on the power play.

What was the turning point of the series?
No question: Joe Pavelski's overtime goal to win game 4. Had the Avalanche pulled out a win there, they would have been up 3-1 in the series with all the momentum. Instead, the Sharks evened up the series and never looked back
after that.

What does the loss mean for the franchise (fan expectations, market, etc.)?

I don't think there's really any negatives from the franchise standpoint. They weren't expected to win, and played the Sharks tough. There's lots of positives to build on moving forward.

Who do you anticipate losing in the off-season?

Mostly dead weight. Marek Svatos, Darcy Tucker, Brett Clark and Ruslan Salei. Tucker's the only one who played regularly down the stretch. Losing those four clears up about $10 million in cap money to throw at Ilya Kovalchuk. I'm only half-kidding there.

What are the next steps for the franchise?

More of the same - the young core is in place and most of the key players are expected to be back next year. Most of the promising young forwards are already here, but there are several defense prospects who will be added to
the mix next year, starting with BU's Kevin Shattenkirk and Colby Cohen.

With lots of cap room, the Avalanche might look for some players to augment the staff in free agency, and I do think they'll at least kick the tires on Kovalchuk, but they will likely continue to focus on building from within.

A big thanks to David for answering questions sent over by a Sharks fan -- no hard feelings, right? Be sure to check out Mile High Hockey for all things Avs as they enter the off-season.

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