Colorado-Detroit THISCLOSE to Not Mattering Anymore

The Colorado Avalanche are taking on the Detroit Red Wings tonight in Hockeytown.  VERSUS is pretty excited about this.  So excited, in fact, that they’ve partnered with “The Dark Knight” DVD to promote game.  We can’t find a clip, but it’s a pretty awesome.  However, it’s a promo deserving of a much better game.

It’s time to start having a conversation for us as general hockey fans that Wings and Avs supporters have been having for a while: That Detroit-Colorado is barely, if at all, a rivalry anymore.  

After their wan, listless playoff series in which Detroit demoralized the hapless Avs in Round 2 last year, the Avs have faded off.  They’re in 12th place in the Western Conference, a deceiving statistic considering the Avs are only two points back of 8th place Minnesota.

But it isn’t even about that.  It’s that, almost all of the players who remember when this rivalry mattered, from 1996-2002, are long gone.  Zetterberg and Datsyuk were barely around for the tail end of that period.  The members of “The Grind Line” still hang around, and Nick Lidstrom and Chris Osgood are seemingly never leaving.  On the Avs side, Joe Sakic is injured, so that leaves Adam Foote – assuming he plays – and to a certain extent, Milan Hejduk, as the only Avs who had a sniff of action during that run.

You know the hatred simply isn’t there for these two teams anymore.  There are no McCarty/Lemeiux level agitators to light a fire (Ian Lapperiere and 40-plus McCarty aren’t cutting it).  The two teams’ last playoff battle was about as dull as a Florida/Phoenix game in early-November.  Frankly, we expect a lot better from a rivalry that once produced this:

That’s the kind of rivalry that was.  Igor Larionov going after Peter Forsberg starting a brawl that included goaltenders.  But it isn’t going to be that way again.  Not for a long time.  But enjoy this incarnation of Colorado-Detroit, tonight at 7PM on VERSUS’ new “Golf Channel get your own HD feed” HD channel.  John Forslund, Eddie Olczyk and Bob Harwood have the call.

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