Lost in the Bye Week

As of this wiring, the Colorado Avalanche are hanging onto a playoff spot. Barely. The League’s worst mark since early December has led to them contending for top spot in the Central Division to almost straight out of the postseason picture, and possibly worse. I’m not sure this team’s reached bottom either. The only reason they haven’t lost their playoff spot is that, fortuitously, the rest of the division has stumbled fairly badly as well.

I really wanted to knock the dust off this here blog, and try and do something like…I don’t know, an analysis of special teams, maybe hand out grades, or just plain go on some foolish rant that throws Jared Bednar, Joe Sakic, et al, under the bus.

But to be honest…I just don’t have the energy.

So…what is there to write about? I’m not sure. I’m frustrated with a management team that seems content with letting yet another season slip away. I’m frustrated with a coach and his staff who either don’t appear able to make the proper adjustments to improve their litany of trips to the penalty box, their faltering special teams, and their embarrassing lapses in the defensive zone. I’m frustrated with a pair of goalies who somehow forgot how to play, and an organization that won’t at least try the new guy from the KHL to see if maybe he can right the ship. I could go on…

But there are other things bothering me a lot more than this.

I’m annoyed with the fan (and there’s quite of few of these in every fanbase) that wants the coach fired NOW, the GM to make some major, future-gutting moves, and to add some more grit and sandpaper to the lineup. If I never hear the term “high compete” ever again it would be such a delight.

I’m done with leagues and their highly-paid mouthpieces as well as idiotic pundits who want to brush aside the very real consequences of playing professional sports. CTE is a thing, and it is treatable, and it is caused by violent collisions in sports. That includes the NFL, NHL, or any other contact sport where concussions are commonplace. But too many try to rationalize the NHL’s and NFL’s stances on this issue by saying the players share responsibility for their conditions, that they got their millions, they achieved glory so many of us can only imagine. Bullshit. Both the NHL and NFL could spare a mere fraction of their vast profits and these players could receive the medical care they deserve. They could devote more time and more research to the prevention of these injuries. They could team with youth sports and find ways to prevent them at all levels, not just the highest echelon. But that would require them to do one thing first…admit that there’s a very real problem and that they shoulder some of the blame. And I think we’re still a very long way from that happening.

I’m tired of teams, leagues, media, and fans turning a blind eye to domestic violence issues. The NHL still has no official policy addressing domestic violence committed by players or other individuals in their employ. Like the concussion issue (and some say there might be a correlation in some cases) the NHL appears to be fine in ignorant bliss. Even the NFL was forced to finally face the problem when disturbing video of a star player literally knocking his fiancee unconscious surfaced. The NHL is somehow behind the NFL and other leagues in addressing this, as evidenced by their clumsy handling of the offseason incident involving Austin Watson of the Nashville Predators. I’ll admit…I’m not immune to this either. There is still much of the incident involving Semyon Varlamov in 2013 that still bothers me a great deal. It’s easy for me to condemn a player like Watson or Patrick Kane since I don’t care much about the teams they play for. But in this case it’s a guy who plays for the team I root for. And even though the judge decided to dismiss the charges, I’m afraid that’s not quite as easy for me.

I know, I’m whining about my own conflicted feelings about continuing to root for a professional athlete once arrested for and charged with very serious crimes against a woman when women everywhere continue to suffer violence and assault every day. We need to do better. We ALL need to do better. All I can say is…when the day comes when Monsieur Varlamov is no longer a member of the Colorado Avalanche, I will breathe a sigh of relief. If you are an Avs fan and disagree with me, that’s okay. I’m not going to convince you to change your mind and frankly, that’s not the reason I’m writing this.

Oh, and yes, I got into the “Oh yeah? How do you know? There’s no proof!” argument about this very incident online with someone years ago, and if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. Again…I need to do better. To clarify, this is not some bold declaration that he is or isn’t guilty of the crimes he was accused of in 2013, but that we as a society continue to be far too hasty in dismissing claims of violence against women, to rationalize our continued support of the player accused and the organization that employs him. I am no less guilty of that than many of you. But there’s nothing wrong with saying that there continues to be uncertainty and unease with regards to that player, even after a court of law exonerated him.

I hope my next entry is something a little more fun. I really don’t enjoy writing about a bad hockey team, and I really, REALLY don’t like going into massively incoherent and disorganized rants about much bigger issues pervading sports and society in general. I’d much rather post fluff pieces about how the Avs’ power play can get better or an in-depth piece that praises Lauren Gardner’s fashion sense. I’d really love to just focus on frivolous details and just…enjoy things for a little bit. Ah well, c’est la vie I guess.

I’ll sign off with this. There is an international effort to raise awareness of mental health issues going on right now. Please remember that you’re not alone in this. Share your story. Tell people your problems. And don’t ever, ever be afraid to ask for help. Doing so is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Thank you for stopping by. Thank you for reading. And thank you for understanding.