With a 3-2 win Saturday over the San Joe Sharks, the Colorado Avalanche have officially clinched a spot in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. This validates this season as both an accomplishment and over-achieving act judging by morose pre-season expert predictions.
Head coach, Patrick Roy, in large part attributes the playoff berth to its beginnings back in training camp. “You could tell when I came to the camp that they wanted to be different and they have been different. And it’s fun to see this group as successful as they are.”
Making the playoffs is success, but this team can gain so much more over the next decade. And it might come by losing. In the next ten years, Colorado will become more successful by losing in this year’s playoffs, than if they would win the Stanley Cup. It all comes down to the driving force of losing, and the perspective of what long-term success really is.
Depending how you quantify “success”, they Avs are either extremely successful by exceeding low expectations, or will be unsuccessful if they don’t win the Stanley Cup. Realistically, Colorado probably relates success to maintaining a certain “Stanley Cup Attitude” Roy mentioned in his first press conference as the head coach. Even though results are what ultimately matter, the effort to carry out a winning mindset is what leads to future results. You take success and expectations a step at a time. And nobody knows that concept better than Roy himself, a four-time championship goaltender.
Since Colorado’s roster is made up of extremely young and talented players (nothing you didn’t already know), they will probably become better every year until the large majority of them start to decline. This gives them several years of attempts of try to win it all, changing the perspective of success from one season, to the success of the combination of many. As an example, if Michael Jordan only won a single championship, we would not consider him to be as great as a player as we actually do, because in reality, he won several. We don’t quantify the worth of players by the fact they are winners, but by how much they have won. As such, the legacy of a team is carried throughout multiple consecutive seasons.
Here comes my thoughts on why losing is good.
As an athlete, there is nothing worse than losing a close game, especially when it terminates your season until the next year arrives. It creates an inspiration, an immovable incentive to become better, and prove your worth the next year, not only the erase your failure, but to achieve the glory that commands universal respect. This coincides hand-in-hand with the future success of the Avalanche quite nicely. Since most of their core players are still under the age of twenty-four, they can still physically work out to improve their game every season. And the type of work ethic a player has outside of a season determines the amount of improvement. This is elementary, yet essential sports doctrine.
Theoretically, Colorado could win it all this season, but that would rob them of the opportunity to be consumed with a burning desire to improve to win out the rest of their careers. They would gain better individual, and thus collective improvement for the years ahead with an optimum reason. Winning is that reason, and losing creates it. Winning creates comfort, but losing installs a permanent thirst to achieve that comfort.
Most teams would take one championship in a decade, but Colorado has the ability to do better, and therefore they must not rid themselves of the hunger to do so. They can become great by winning one championship, but they can become legendary by winning more.
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