How to fake it: Reigning Stanley Cup champs edition
The magical run for the Colorado Avalanche last season culminated with a Stanley Cup victory — but a fresh season means new challenges for the reigning champions.
Driving the news: The team starts its season Wednesday night at Ball Arena in Denver against the Chicago Blackhawks.
- Tickets for the Avs' highly anticipated return aren't cheap, with the most affordable seats costing roughly $150.
- Prices drop significantly — below $40 in some cases— after the season's start, so there'll be a chance to watch the action on the ice without breaking the bank.
Catch up quick: The team lost a few key players from its Stanley Cup win, including fan favorite, forward Nazem Kadri, and goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper.
- Those goodbyes make the team slightly more vulnerable, CBS Sports' Austin Nivison writes, noting the team's biggest threats likely come from the Eastern Conference (the Avs play in the Western Conference). That includes the Tampa Bay Lightning, who will have revenge on the mind after losing the final to the Avs last season.
- The Avs will need to stay healthy and find a replacement for Kadri's offensive output to repeat their success, according to ESPN reporters and analysts.
Yes, but: A poll of NHL players last month revealed that most favor the Avs to repeat as cup champions. The poll asked 50 players to pick a team other than their own, and 32 selected the Avs.
- Oddsmakers similarly dig the Avalanche, with both FanDuel and SI Sportsbook giving Colorado's team the highest likelihood to win the title.
Of note: Forward Nathan MacKinnon is arguably the team's best player, and his $12.6 million-per-season salary reflects this. The eight-year deal he signed in September makes him the highest-paid player in the NHL.
Two other players to watch:
- Defenseman Cale Makar's moves earned him the Conn Smyth Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.
- Forward Artturi Lehkonen had some major moments after being traded mid-season to the Avs. He will be a permanent fixture in Denver after signing a five-year, $22.5 million contract extension in July.
Buzz: If you don't know the lyrics by now, start practicing Blink 182's "All The Small Things," which blares through Ball Arena's speakers during the third period of Avs games.
- The song gained popularity during last season's run, and it made a memorable appearance during a Stanley Cup celebration at Civic Center Park.
Details: Wednesday night's game starts at 7:30 pm. It will air on TNT.
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