DENVER — It has been 21 years since Bob Hartley coached the colorado avalanche to his second Stanley Cup behind a star-studded roster that included Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy, Milan Hejduk, Ray Bourque, Rob Blake, Adam Foote and one of many nice leaders within the recreation, Chris Drury, who landed a outstanding function when Peter Forbserg ruptured his spleen within the convention semifinals.
There was the teen, Alex Tanguay, who scored two targets, together with the collection decider, in Sport 7 towards the New Jersey Devils and a number of nice execs like Shjon Podein, Ville Nieminen, Stephane Yelle, Dave Reid, Dan Hinote, Eric Messier, and Jon Klemm, amongst others.
With the Avs getting ready to their third Cup Sequence, maybe Friday evening at dwelling, Hartley mirrored on 2001 in comparison with this gargantuan 2022 Avalanche group that sees the start levels of being a thorn within the facet for the opposite 31. NHL gear
“You speak about velocity, you speak about composure, you speak about offense, you speak about dedication to the entire recreation and also you’re speaking about Avalanche,” Hartley mentioned throughout a telephone interview with the athletic Thursday. “This group is constructed the best way Joe Sakic performed. 200 ft of hockey, effectively balanced, up and down the lineup.
“Joe was all the time a participant who by no means went too low, by no means went too excessive. The nickname ‘Unusual Joe’ was good as a result of he went about his enterprise day-after-day with a smile. Easy, easy boy doing an excellent job. You take a look at this group, I see Joe Sakic’s fingerprints throughout this group.”
What impresses Hartley most is that Sakic, the Avs’ common supervisor, and Jared Bednar, his sixth-year coach, have been younger after they took over, grew up collectively and confirmed spectacular persistence with the core of the group, specifically Nathan Mackinnon, gabriel landeskog Y Mikko Rantanen.
“They by no means panicked,” Hartley mentioned. “They went with them and at present these guys are the face of the franchise.”
Past objective as a result of there isn’t any technique to replicate the Corridor of Famer in Roy, Reid and Podein, two super function gamers on that 2001 group, see huge similarities between the 2001 and 2022 variations of the Avs. .
“We had (Bourque). We traded for Blake on the commerce deadline and Adam Foote was already there,” Reid mentioned. “Cale Makar is youthful than these guys, however he’s akin to any of these three. He is most likely going to be higher on the finish of the day than any of these three, and two of these guys are within the Corridor of Fame.
“Then you will have Devon Toewswhich is form of a hidden gem. I believe everyone seems to be realizing how good this younger man actually is. You’ll be able to put him as one of many prime two defenders on any group and on plenty of groups he’ll be #1, simple. We introduced Blake, they convey (Josh) Manson. I am not making a comparability to a Corridor of Famer with joseph manson. However it’s a comparable model. Josh can play both approach like Blake would. If you would like him to play bodily, he can. If you would like him to play skillfully, he can. And any approach you need him to do, energy play, penalty, he will be there and contribute in an enormous approach.
Likewise, Reid mentioned early on that the 2022 Avs can play any approach, any model, identical to the 2001 group, and have comparable enhances all through the lineup.
“We had a little bit little bit of every thing, from expertise we had dimension, extra dimension behind our group than on the entrance in comparison with this group,” Reid mentioned. “However our entrance finish carried us. Our ability boys took us. They play with a ferocity of the sport. It isn’t a bodily ferocity. Their ferocity is in every thing they do, whether or not it is unfastened puck battles, whether or not it is up entrance, whether or not it is on the again, blocking pictures. We all the time had the depth excessive, however they’re on one other degree than everybody else within the league with that ferocious recreation.”
Podein, who used to play Yelle, Messier or Reid, is impressed with this model of the Avs.
“I simply need to say the phrase, ‘Wow,'” Podein mentioned. “The velocity of those children, there’s simply no room on the market. There is no air to breathe while you get that disk. Joseph (Sakic) has accomplished a tremendous job constructing that group to what it’s at present.
“I do not know the group personally now, however we had a really, very tight-knit group that was very dedicated to one another. Simply trying from the skin in, it looks as if the group proper now has the identical feeling.”
With the Avalanche getting ready to their first championship since 2001, the athletic surveyed members of that Stanley Cup group, asking concerning the similarities they see with this one and their experiences watching.
Writer’s observe: Some quotes have been barely modified for readability and size.
Joe Sakic, captain and ahead
“Twenty-one years in the past. Very long time. I believe simply depth. We had plenty of depth, star gamers and a deep lineup, guys that performed their half and knew their half, accepted their half. On the again finish, this yr’s D-core might be the perfect D-core since that D-core for my part. Numerous similarities in that regard. And the best way we performed: I believe that yr we have been actually targeted after shedding two Sport 7 convention finals in a row and we have been on a mission from the start to attempt to get home-court benefit. It was comparable with this group final yr.”
Ray Bourque, protection
“They’ve been a really proficient group for 4 strong years. Going into the yr, they have been considered as a Cup contender. For them they by no means received previous that runoff, and the identical factor occurred with Colorado (late ’90s, early 2000s). They get there the primary yr (in 1996) they usually win, after which they’ve this proficient group that will get to a convention closing however struggles to get to the ultimate chapter till 2001.”
Adam Foote, protection
Foote has a household tie to the collection. His son Cal is a defenseman within the Flash of lightning.
“We had Patrick Roy. I believe your goalkeeper right here, darcy kumperHe is most likely able to win a Cup. He is ok. However in the event you do not win, they do not know. For defenders, Cala Makar is particular, however Ray Bourque was particular, Rob Blake was particular. They’ve Nathan MacKinnon, however we had Peter Forsberg, Sakic. They’ve star energy right here like we did.”
Alex Tanguay, ahead
“I believe, like our group in 2001, they’d their playoff failure in earlier years with a group that they thought might win. The willpower and focus you will have proven has been unimaginable, like our “Mission 16W” hats Ray Bourque introduced us in on the primary day of the playoffs to maintain us targeted. Let’s examine if it is sufficient to beat the two-time champions.”
Bryan Trottier, assistant coach
“They give the impression of being nice. Hungry. … Video games have been nice leisure.”
Ville Nieminen, ahead
“They play fashionable hockey and I believe we play fashionable hockey too. Plenty of similarities as a result of management, the need, fashionable hockey, very effectively skilled tactically, the ambiance. However on the identical time, 20 years in the past, it’s very totally different. … We had Pierre Lacroix. Now it is Joe’s time, and you’ll see the character of Joe.”
Dave Reid, ahead
“I believe (the groups are) very comparable. … We had guys who might transfer the puck. We had high-level ability gamers, and our backside three have been all ability gamers who might transfer the puck, make that first go, get within the recreation when wanted, get on offense when wanted, however have been accountable defensively. That is why we have been profitable, as a result of everybody was accountable defensively and will transfer the puck.”
Shkhon Podein, ahead
“The bodily facet of the sport could be very totally different from what it was 5, 10 or 20 years in the past. Colorado’s velocity permits them the chance to be extraordinarily bodily, end their checks, be in your face, persist with the puck, little issues like that. I believe you simply see it, evening after evening. I do not understand how else to say it. It is simply… it is like you will have a bruise in your arm. If somebody punctures you, the primary time, it is annoying. Second time, third, 10, 20, hundred. Fairly quickly, you are like, “Take the F off me.” I believe that is what Colorado is doing proper now.”
Milan Hejduk, ahead
“I undoubtedly see some similarities to the 2001 Stanley Cup group. It would not need to be the perfect guys carrying the load each evening, however the safeties that rating some huge, well timed targets throughout the playoffs. … For my part, this yr’s group might be higher than the 2001 group. However they need to take it to the end line.”
With the Avs one win away from successful the Stanley Cup and ending the Lightning dream of successful three, Reid sees no approach now that the Avalanche will probably be denied.
He mirrored on MacKinnon’s disappointment when the Avs have been crushed final postseason within the second spherical by the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
“You may say that man shouldn’t be going to be denied to come back again to that degree and attain nice issues,” Reid mentioned. “And the best way he is performed this yr and the remainder of the group follows him, everybody appears to have that gallop when Nate leaves. They do not provide you with time in your zone. They usually do not cease.
“I do not assume they’re fearful about how the opposite group performs to be trustworthy with you: ‘That is how we play, and you’ll sustain. And in the event you can sustain, good for you. However if you cannot sustain, we’re not going to budge. Is superior. Very, very spectacular.”
Hartley believes the collection is “accomplished”.
“The thrill of (Ball Area), I bear in mind recreation 7 on the Pepsi Heart, 2001, simply the ambiance within the metropolis. I do know Tampa Bay will present up. I do know Tampa Bay will probably be prepared.
“However, the Avalanche, I believe they’re the brand new youngsters on the block now. I wish to see the Avalanche win in Colorado for the gamers, for the group, for the followers. It is an excellent sports activities metropolis that will be enjoyable.
“For me, I grew up as a younger skilled coach on this group, whether or not it is the American League, the NHL, so by far it is my favourite group. So I assist them. There is a hockey fan in me, but in addition simply watching the Avalanche in these playoffs brings again nice reminiscences.”
The Athletic’s Joe Smith additionally contributed to this report.
(Photograph: Isaiah J. Downing/USA In the present day)