Expectations high as Avs enter 56-game season

Colorado Avalanche

DENVER (KDVR) — Considering that the Avalanche were two injured goalies away from their second straight Western Conference Final last season, you bet it’s Cup or bust.

“I think it’s exciting pressure,” says Joe Sakic, Avalanche executive vice president and general manager. “That’s what you want as a player. You want to know that you have the ability to try to win the Cup.”

Sakic won two Stanley Cups as a player, so he is well versed in the intangibles.

“You have to catch some breaks, you half to be healthy. I think the big thing is belief in each other, team chemistry, and we feel in our dressing room guys believe in each other. They want to win for each other.”

Unlike too many teams across the sports landscape, the Avalanche are actually trying to win. See the additions of defenseman Devon Toews and winger Brandon Saad.

“We have always liked the way (Saad) plays,” echoes Sakic. “You can move him up and down the lineup. He protects pucks, he has a great shot and fits the bill of how we like to play.”

The 56-game schedule, instead of the normal 82, will make the season a sprint to the finish. That’s what depth is for and this team is ready to go deep.

“There’s nothing being on a team that is expected to win,” added Sakic. “You want to come to the rink everyday and work for that goal.”

Avalanche host the St. Louis Blues in the season opener Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.

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