Avalanche, NHL primed for another crammed schedule to close out the regular season –

Dec 12, 2021; Denver, Colorado, United States; Members of the Colorado Avalanche celebrate defeating the Florida Panthers at the Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

So much has changed in the NHL and for the Avalanche in the past two weeks. What seemed like a normal season has suddenly been turned upside down – once again COVID is the culprit. And Monday’s latest round of league-wide postponements, two of which are Avs games scheduled to take place this week, only further cements how compact the schedule will be moving forward.

Colorado has not played since a disastrous road game in Nashville on Dec. 16. The Avalanche started with Devon Toews in COVID protocol, only for him to be joined by teammates JT Compher, Andre Burakovsky, Darcy Kuemper and Cale Makar before the puck drop. In the end, the Avs were missing two rosters, had only one healthy NHL goaltender, and were defeated 5-2 by the Predators to end their five-game winning streak.

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Wednesday and Friday’s matchups, scheduled to take place against the Dallas Stars, are the sixth and seventh Avalanche games to have since been postponed.

When are all these games played?

The regular season still ends on April 29th. We are also living a reality where the NHL will not be participating in the 2022 Winter Olympics, potentially freeing up some dates in February. But when they play Anaheim on Sunday — just 17 days since their last game — the Avs will have played a league-low 27 games.

If nothing changes, the remaining 55 games will be stuffed into 117 days. To put that in perspective, in last year’s shortened season, the Avs played 56 games in 120 days. They also had two COVID shutdowns that together lasted 15 days.

One game down in just three days less ultimately means Colorado is primed to play the same packed schedule as last season. Only this time, travel will be business as usual, with no series of matches planned in a single city.

The normalcy that the NHL had for the first two months of the season has come to an end. And for the team with the fewest games played so far, it’s going to be torture.

Only time will tell how they will react. In 2021 they won the Presidents’ Trophy. This year, that feat could prove far more difficult.

Aarif Deen is our beat reporter for Colorado Avalanche. He streams Avs games live from the Ball Arena and attends daily practices, media availability and other events related to the Avs. He is also the co-host of Hockey Mountain High: Your Favorite Avalanche Podcast. Deen joined Mile High Sports after completing his bachelor’s degree in journalism and his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Prior to Mile High Sports, Deen worked for the Michigan Wolverines Athletics Department as Assistant Sports Information Director.

Follow him on Twitter @runwriteAarif

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