Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Ahhh, to be young and in Colorado again. I'd estimate that in the late '90s, I put about 50% of my earnings into buying Avalanche merchandise. They were really the biggest thing in my life for a few years, and while I wouldn't want that skewed perspective back, there is a certain nostalgia for the innocence and passion.
This came from a late-1996 game, when we could still think of an imminent dynasty in Denver. The Avs' wives were selling team calendars at McNichols Arena -- Stephane Yelle, on injured reserve at the time, was signing them.
Most of the photos are players-with-families, warm and friendly shots. A couple of the single guys, though, got goofy.
René Corbet (above) remains one of my all-time favorite Avs, one of the most entertaining energy players I've ever watched. He'd fight anyone (winning none) and score. I still think the trade sending him and Robyn Regehr to Calgary for Theo Fleury is the worst Avalanche trade ever, even worse than Drury/Yelle for Derek Morris and spare parts.
Then there's Eric Lacroix, below, who was already laboring under the "general manager's son" tag and chose to compound it as the runaway winner of the "photo most likely to get you shit in the locker room" contest.
These are still the guys that I forever think of as the "true" Avalanche (Avalanches?) -- I see Matt Duchene and still think "Ricci's number," Erik Johnson's 6 draws an instinctive "Wolanin." 16 is forever Warren Rychel to me and I didn't wasn't even a fan. Not long ago I had a flashback dream about Tom Fitzgerald getting traded to the Avalanche. I hadn't consciously thought about Fitzgerald in years.
Thankfully, there are a few numbers that are eternal, and I won't have to worry about them getting usurped by someone new. Like good old #21, here, showing us how they eat breakfast in Örnsköldsvik.