Apotheosis and moving forward
i had gone through numerous attempts at writing this over the last few months, finally settling on an incredibly simplified version because the course of the last couple of years in Los Angeles Kings fandom had already descended via cyclone of opinion whirlwind-itude that has been nothing short of chaotic. it has taken all of us through several emotional hi's and low's and into countless holes of (ir)rationality, which eventually persuaded me to write something that alluded to the championship construct rather than some Old Testament account of those that begat. my decision to focus on specific points was also a deliberately honest effort in lieu of a one and done, son! idea that either brought a pat on the back or a slap in the face, and hopefully encouraged conversation instead...
after 5 consecutive years of missing the playoffs (and 6 head coaches), the Quebec Nordiques finished the 1992-1993 NHL season with 104 points (2nd in the Adams Division / 3rd in the Wales [east] / 4th overall), subsequently losing in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual Stanley Cup winner - Montreal in a tough 6-game series which featured three overtime games, including the ONLY overtime loss the Canadiens suffered en-route to a record setting 10 (consecutive) overtime victories, and a wink to an e'er heartbreaking bit of bitter nostalgia.
three season openers later and the Nordiques were in a new town, in new digs, and with a new identity... the Colorado Avalanche.
the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup that year, and there were a number of reasons why (and yes, Marc Crawford was INDEED one of those reasons, so before you decide on how you're going to respond to that one, wait until this season's playoffs are over because i would like to know your opinion on Todd McLellan should San Jose win it all, so's i can compare them). always inspired by jt's incessant wisdom and tireless research with regard to just how Stanley Cup champions are built, i broke down every move the Nordiques made to get from point A to point B, and here are some things of note.
by the numbers.
# of players to play in the playoffs 1996 - 24
# of players drafted by Quebec/Colorado - 8 (9 if you wish to count the un-drafted Jon Klemm)
# of players acquired via trade using players drafted by Quebec/Colorado - 10 (11 if you wish to count Craig Wolanin who was traded for the un-drafted Peter Stastny)
# of players acquired via trade using draft picks or with players acquired using players NOT drafted by Quebec/Colorado - 3
# of players acquired via Free Agency - 1
notable draftees traded during this process.
* Peter Stastny (un-drafted)
undoubtedly, Eric Lindros was the biggest boon to the organization because it not only gave the Avalanche Peter Forsberg, Mike Ricci and Chris Simon, it also facilitated further deals that landed them Sylvain Lefebvre, Uwe Krupp, Claude Lemieux, Mike Keane, Patrick Roy and some kid named Adam Deadmarsh. the latter proving that some deals aren't always done when they're done and often lead to other deals... some of which also became instrumental parts of Colorado's second cup championship.
at the draft party a couple of years ago, and under a considerable haze, i heard Birdman yell out the following (about 4 or 5 times, i think) - "don't marry yourselves to players!" he went on to reiterate that idea more than once on the boards, and i believe it to be absolutely sage... yeah, even for my beloved Fro, and here's why, with their respective age and accomplishments at the time of their trade...
Mats Sundin (23) - 324gp 135g 199a 334p (1.03ppg) -21
avg - 81gp 34g 50a 84p per season.
4 straight 20+ goal seasons
3 straight 30+ goal season
1 45+ goal season
1 100+ point season
Owen Nolan (23) - 268gp 117g 107a 224p (.84ppg) -9
avg - 53gp 23g 21a 44p per season
3 30-goal seasons
2 consecutive 35+ goal seasons
1 40+ goal season
scored 30-goals (49 points) in 46 games during the 94-95 lockout shortened season
both players played a collective 9-games for Colorado (Sundin never wore an Avalanche sweater and Nolan was moved at the beginning of the season for Sandis Ozolinsh) and both deals appeared to be major head scratchers at the time. but both moves went on to provide the organization with the assets necessary to eventually acquire both Rob Blake and Ray Bourque.
both players are STILL in the league today, nearing the end of their careers, and are great players. one of them is even going to the Hall of Fame... and despite the impressive numbers to begin their respective careers, the organization felt them expendable in the long run.
it should also be noted that though both Nolan and Sundin are who they are, neither possess a championship ring.
now how does all of this relate to what's going on here? well, lets discuss it. i'm fairly certain you'll be able to find a number of parallels outside of Crow's feet and Dean Lombardi's minor role with how he eventually utilized Owen Nolan in San Jose.
thank god for the term - building a reserve list