Can Colorado Repeat?
With the Wings getting Hasek, Dallas getting Turgeon. and St. Louis getting Weight, the Western Conference has experienced some big changes.Although Colorado has a great lineup, it remains to be seen they haven’t upgraded their team. They had Ray Bourque retire, and released Dave Reid and Jon Klemm to free agency. Chris Dingam was traded to Carolina for a draft pick as well.
The only addition was Todd Gill. Colorado did, however, retain their big 3 free agents. They managed to resign Blake, Sakic and Roy before the free agency season even began.
Although this year they will have a healthy Peter Forsberg in their lineup, it appears like Colorado is a little weaker than last year. Why? Here is 3 reasons.
1) Sakic, Blake and Roy were all on contract years last year. All 3 had the motivation to play harder because all 3 were unrestricted free agents after the season ended. With the way they played, all 3 got big contracts. Now that they have new rich contracts, they probably won’t play as hard all the time. After all, they cashed out, so the motivation of the off-season won’t be there anymore. After all, most players have their best years on contract years.
2) The Ray Bourque factor. The Colorado team had another motivation last season: WIN FOR RAY. Ray Bourque was a big motivational inspiration last season. A 40 year old hall of fame defenceman who didn’t have 1 cup ring to his name was a big reason to win the cup. Heck, Sakic said to Ray at the beginning of the season that if they win, he plans to hand him the cup first. Enough said. Now that he is retired, they don’t have that inspiration like the once did. Also they will miss his experience, leadership and poise on defence.
3) Repeating concept. Most teams have a job repeating. New Jersey showed us that this year. It seems once a team wins it they tend to fall back a little. Since Colorado has already won they have nothing to get, just keep. Often a new team comes along more hungry for a cup and out works the defending team. Colorado may find it hard to stay focused and determined this year, after all they sipped from the cup, so why worry? Also Colorado was beaten up after their cup run, another long playoff will surely pay it’s toll on their bodies. New Jersey seemed worn out in game 7 verse Colorado. Not only this, but the fact that Colorado now has more pressure to keep the cup, rather than inspiration to get it.
In conclusion, I am not saying Colorado won’t win the cup, but I feel it isn’t as likely as some think. Repeating these days is hard work, and only 2 teams in the 1990’s could do it ( Pens and Wings )..It’ll be interesting to see how much they want to keep their cup, now that they got it.