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For Nathan MacKinnon, Jared Bednar and Joe Sakic, winning the Stanley Cup crowns the long journey

As the Avs partied on the ice with friends and family late into the night, much of the talk revolved around MacKinnon, Bednar and Joe Sakic. The superstar. The trainer. (Author: Gardener)

Joe Sakic— One by one, as if choreographed weeks ago, all 28 players and every member of the coaching, training and equipment staff and front office took their turn with the Stanley Cup here late Sunday night. Gabe Landeskog, traditional for the winning captain, posed for the photo. Veterans Erik Johnson, Andrew Cogliano, Nathan MacKinnon, Jack Johnson and Nazem Kadri were next. An injured Andre Burakovsky handed it off to goaltender Darcy Kuemper, ahead of winger Mikko Rantanen, center Darren Helm and defenseman Devon Toews. Winger Valeri Nichushkin, goalie Pavel Francouz, defender Cale Makar, center J.T. Compher, defender Josh Manson, winger Artturi Lehkonen and center Nico Sturm completed the group of regular playoff contenders. Coach Jared Bednar was the first non-player to lift the trophy. "It takes a moment or two to settle in, even when you're on the ice," Bednar said. "I'm so proud of the boys and what they've done this season. Over the next few days, the Avs will have so many stories, about the worst first-time trip, about the 102 regular season/playoff games this season. As the Avs partied on the ice with friends and family late into the night, much of the talk revolved around MacKinnon, Bednar and Joe Sakic. The trainer. Last June, after the playoff collapse against Vegas, MacKinnon aptly said he didn't "(beep)" win during his time with the Avalanche. Frustration was used as fuel for breakthrough, and the Avs not only overcame the second-round playoff highlight, they also clinched the trophy. It was similar to Washington in 2018. MacKinnon's 13 goals went to the NHL lead and his 24 points to sixth-most. He scored at least one goal in all four games of the Nashville series, nearly won the St. Louis series in Game 5 (overtime hat-trick) and had a six-point streak bridging the Edmonton and Tampa Bay series . In Game 6 against the Lightning, MacKinnon's one-timer from the circle made it 1-1 and assisted the winner. "It's incredible," MacKinnon said. "I'm forever grateful to go through this with these warriors and the guys we got at (trade) deadline and the young guys we brought in. MacKinnon joined top overall winners Ovechkin, Patrick Kane (Chicago) and Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay) and fellow Nova Scotian Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh) to win trophies with their original clubs. "He's one of the best players in the world and he wanted that more than anyone and it shows," Sakic said of the number 29. "He's open about how much he wants to win and I'm really proud of him. He's been tremendous since he was a rookie and got better and better every year. Much like the core of players had to learn on the job in 2016-17, so did Bednar, who was neither a player nor an assistant coach in the NHL before being hired by Sakic. Five years later, Bednar became the first coach to win championships in the ECHL (Kelly Cup with South Carolina 2009), AHL (Calder Cup with Lake Erie 16), and NHL. "I still can't believe it, to be honest," Bednar said about an hour after the game. "I was given the best advice as a coach early in my career — 'Don't be in a rush to climb the ladder and go somewhere else.' It was about honing your craft. If you fit, there is nothing comparable in life and work. It just makes your life easier and so rewarding.” Just as the players have learned from the heartbreak of the past two years, perhaps the coaching staff has learned as well. "I felt like we've had some really good teams in recent years and we've come close (in the second round) and that became increasingly difficult for me as a coach because we had such high expectations," said Bednar. “The maturity and growth of our players and feeling heartbreak this year has made a difference in our resilience and focus. "I used to laugh when people said, 'Well, you have to lose before you win.' But in this case, I think those were important lessons for our team that we learned and helped our team grow, too mature.” Sakic captained the Avalanche in the 1995-96 and 2000-01 championship seasons, and after taking over the team's personnel decisions in 2013, brought all but two players to the Cup winners' list (Landeskog and Erik Johnson). Sakic drafted MacKinnon 13 for first overall, Rantanen 15 for 10th, and Makar 17 for fourth. "You don't get the world's Cale Makars and some of these other great players if you draw too late," said owner Stan Kroenke. Said Sakic: "As hard as it is to get through these times, that's how you get these players. You always try to win, but sometimes you have to go through tough times to eventually have that. Sakic joins Denver contemporary of the sport, John Elway, as a two-time winner who won top executive titles. After Game 6, Sakic knew which role was easier. "We were probably more stressed than the players and the coaching staff because we don't have control, right?" he said. Sakic helped with the trade deadline as he acquired Manson, Sturm, Cogliano and Lehkonen to bolster Avs depth. "There are no words to describe this team and the work they do," Manson said. "They were hungry when I came in and they wanted to win and expected to win and we got the job done." The task facing Sakic now is significant - several players likely priced themselves out of the Avs' plans but beat the alternative - a player's salary only increases after winning a trophy. Nine players from the regular playoff lineup are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on July 13 at 10 a.m.: Manson, Sturm, Cogliano, Kuemper, Kadri, Helm, Nichushkin, Burakovsky and Jack Johnson. MacKinnon's contract expires after next season. The Avalanche want to be like Tampa Bay (continued excellence) and not like Washington (no winning streak since his cup). "[Tampa Bay] was the benchmark that we kept in mind as a team, that we want to emulate," Bednar said.

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Colorado Avalanche Stanley Cup Champions gear, get your official hats, shirts and more, shop now

Get your official Colorado Avalanche 2022 Stanley Cup Champions gear, buy it here! (Author: Gardener)

ColoradoThe Colorado Avalanche are your 2022 Stanley Cup Champions! This has been a long time coming and this is their first Stanley Cup since 2001. Avalanche fans can now represent their team with official Locker Room and Trophy Collection gear. Click on any of the photos below or view all official Colorado Avalanche merchandise here. This item will ship no later than Wednesday 6 July 2022. This item will ship no later than Wednesday 6 July 2022. In Stock - This item ships on or before Friday 15th July 2022. Orders containing this product will be shipped separately. Orders containing this product will be shipped separately. Orders containing this product will be shipped separately. Orders containing this product will be shipped separately. Orders containing this product will be shipped separately. This article will be shipped no later than Friday, July 8th, 2022. This article will be shipped no later than Friday, July 8th, 2022. This article will be shipped no later than Friday, July 8th, 2022. This item ships on or before Friday 1 July 2022. This item ships on or before Friday 1 July 2022. Colorado Avalanche Fanatics Authentic 2022 Stanley Cup Champions Crystal Stanley Puck - Filled with ice from the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals In Stock - This item ships on or before Monday 31st October 2022. Check out all of Colorado Avalanche's official Stanley Cup gear here. If you purchase a product by clicking on one of the links, we may receive a referral fee.

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Colorado Avalanche gear flies off shelves after Stanley Cup win

Colorado Avalanche fans didn't wait until the morning to get new team gear to celebrate the team's Stanley Cup win. "Avs fans have been passionate all year, and last night they really showed their true colors," said Jessica Gillman, community marketing manager for the Colorado company. (Author: Gardener)

Stanley CupDENVER, CO - JUNE 26: Colorado Avalanche fans celebrate downtown after the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup Finals on June 26, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 and won the series 4-2. Colorado Avalanche fans didn't wait until the morning to get new team gear to celebrate the team's Stanley Cup win. Dick's Sporting Goods stores open on Sunday evening were busy. "Avs fans have been passionate all year, and last night they really showed their true colors," said Jessica Gillman, community marketing manager for the Colorado company. Several of the Denver-area stores opened after the Avalanche defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 in Tampa and won the Stanley Cup, the team's third championship since 1996. The stores stayed open through midnight Sunday and opened at 7am. two hours earlier on Monday. "It was very busy, which is a great thing," Gillman said. Gillman hadn't heard if any of the stores were out of stock. She said Dicks ran "super low" on the shirts of Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar last week. A Sportsfan athletic apparel store at Denver's 16th Street Mall was waiting for a new shipment of Avalanche T-shirts Monday morning. "Because everyone expected to win on Friday night, practically everything sold out: all of our T-shirts, most of our hats," said Albert Batres, the store's assistant manager. The Avalanche lost 3-2 to the Lightning in Game 5 in Denver on Friday and returned to Tampa to win the championship. Batres said Sportsfans stores on Monday are expecting a new shipment of t-shirts and other items in a few days. He said fans who showed up to shop for shirts on Monday morning took it in stride as he explained new supplies were on the way. You can't really be mad," Batres said because the Avalanche won. Sportsfan stores in the Denver area had extra people working to handle the crowds. It's going to be pretty crowded," Batres said. Dick's Sporting Goods pre-ordered Avalanche Stanley Cup merchandise so the stores would be ready once the finals were over. "We get a shipment with the logos a few days beforehand," Gillman said. "You just hold your breath and hope your team wins so you can get all that merchandise out the door."

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The hottest gear for the 2022 Colorado Avalanche NHL Stanley Cup Championship includes t-shirts, hats, and hoodies

Here are five pieces of 2022 Stanley Cup winners' gear every Colorado Avalanche fan needs (Author: Gardener)

2022The Avs defeated the Tampa Bay Lighting 2-1 in Game 6 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday to win their first Stanley Cup since 2001 and only their third championship in team history. The Lightning had won their last two championships and were on the hunt for the sixth team in NHL history to score a three-pointer before Colorado emerged victorious. Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar won the Conn Smythe Award for Stanley Cup Finals MVP. The University of Massachusetts product is only the third defenseman aged 23 or younger to win the award and the first blueliner to win it since Tampa's Victor Hedman Series MVP for Lightning's Stanley Cup-winning team 2020 was. Now that the Avalanche are Stanley Cup champions for the first time in over 20 years, fans are naturally on the hunt for the best Colorado Avalanche championship gear. Fanatics has all the Avalanche championship gear fans need to celebrate and celebrate the team's third Stanley Cup win. Here's a look at five of the best-selling pieces of Colorado Avalanche championship gear, available to ship to you soon, all from an officially licensed NHL partner. Are you ready to grab the hottest Colorado Avalanche Stanley Cup Champions gear today? Visit Fanatics.com now to see all must-have gear from the official apparel partner of the NHL.

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Is this Avalanche team better than the 2001 Stanley Cup winners?

The Avalanche not only won the Stanley Cup, taking it from the two-time defending champions, but marched through the playoffs with a 16-4 record. (Author: Gardener)

AvalancheThe Avalanche not only won the Stanley Cup, taking it from the two-time defending champions, but marched through the playoffs with a 16-4 record. So let's post a question that's sure to spark a heated debate between old-school believers and fans who've recently jumped on the bandwagon: Who will win a seven-game streak between the 2001 Avs and this year's team? Chambers: This team. In 2001, the Avs had to sweat in the third period to hold out and win the trophy with a 3-1 Game 7 win over the New Jersey Devils. The third period of this team was an operation. Colorado dominated the Lightning, limiting a desperate team to four shots. With a 2:1 lead, the Avs kept their place. Impressive way to end an incredible 16-4 run. Kiz: Back in 2001, it took Colorado seven games to survive and get past the LA Kings in the second round. But please remember: Captain Joe Sakic missed part of this series with a shoulder injury. So I view that fear as a badge of honor and adversity at least as significant as the absence of Nazem Kadri and Sam Girard during this run. But is it fair to say that the Avs '01 had a tougher road to the trophy ahead of them? Chambers: The 01 team also lost Peter Forsberg and his spleen after Game 7 to the Kings. But the road to winning the cup is always a mighty grind. I don't think the 2022 run was less difficult. Just more dominant. Injuries are a staple in chasing the trophy and this team prevailed with ease. The 16-4 despite losing Girard early in the second round and Kadri in the middle of the third round was very impressive. And losing Andre Burakovsky in the cup final hurt. But this team is so deep - deeper than the '01 team. Kiz: Let's toast to Coach Jared Bednar, who rises to every challenge, especially every sly move from Tampa Bay's Jon Cooper. And I'll always cherish the cigars you and I smoked after Game 6. But I have to say the 2001 Avs were better because it all starts with the goalie in hockey. And nobody has ever been a better money goalie than Patrick Roy. But I'm curious. Can this group of Avs win another championship or two? Chambers: The cigars were delicious. I'm sure Bednar had an even better one. First head coach to win the Kelley Cup (ECHL), Calder Cup (AHL), and Stanley Cup. A great coach and an even better person. But I'm going to take over this team in 2001 because outside of the goalie it's just a better hockey club. He stopped 21 of 22 shots (.957) in Game 6. He played three excellent games, down three. Roy will always win the comparison, but let's congratulate Kuemper on getting his job done.

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Colorado Avalanche NHL Stanley Cup championship gear is available at Fanatics

The Colorado Avalanche have won the Stanley Cup after dethroning the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. (Author: Gardener)

ColoradoThe Colorado Avalanche are NHL Stanley Cup champions, and thanks to Fanatics, you can now own the same gear that players rocked during their celebrations. The Colorado Avalanche have won the Stanley Cup after dethroning the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. The Avalanche beat the Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals behind a goal and assist by Nathan MacKinnon. The Colorado Avalanche Fanatics Branded 2022 Stanley Cup Champions Locker Room Adjustable Trucker Cap - Grey/White retails for $37.99. The Black Colorado Avalanche Fanatics Branded 2022 Stanley Cup Champions Fundamental Adjustable Hat retails for $23.99. The Colorado Avalanche Fanatics Branded 2022 Stanley Cup Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Heathered Charcoal retails for $39.99. The women's version is here. The youth version costs $29.99. The Colorado Avalanche Fanatics Branded Home 2022 Stanley Cup Final Breakaway Custom Jersey, seen here in Burgundy, is available for $209.99. There is also a $139.99 version. After years of disappointments in the playoffs, the Colorado Avalanche are back at the pinnacle of hockey after dethroning the two-time defending champion. After a goal and assist from Nathan MacKinnon, the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup for the third time in franchise history and for the first time in more than two decades by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 last Sunday night . It's the first title for the Avs' core group, led by Nathan MacKinnon, captain Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen and Makar, and it follows several early exits in the postseason - in the second round of the last three seasons and the first round respectively 2018. Tampa In the end, Bay was two wins short of becoming the NHL's first three-peat champion since the New York Islanders dynasty in the early 1980s. Depth allowed the Avalanche to overcome lost defender Samuel Girard with a broken sternum and finish off the Lightning, though standout forward Andre Burakovsky was out through injury, with Valeri Nichushkin limping around on a injured right foot and Nazem Kadri down the middle with a broken one played right thumb. The Avalanche defeated the Lightning before the attrition could take too great a toll and before the frightening possibility of elimination in Game 7 against Vasilevskiy. Though not as emotional as the last two years when Stamkos received the trophy, Colorado's win at the end of the series marks another close to an NHL season during a pandemic -- the first back to 82 games with a normal playoff format since 2019. If that happens, Colorado will get a chance to defend its crown and try to follow Tampa Bay and become a perennial cup contender.

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The Colorado Avalanche are Stanley Cup champions. Here's what flyers can learn from them.

Whenever an NHL team wins the Stanley Cup, like the Colorado Avalanche did Sunday night with a 2-1 win over the Lightning in game six of the finals, the scene and its aftermath are swamped with tradition, nostalgia, and cliche. There's the handing over of the trophy not to the owner of the winning team... (Author: Gardener)

The Colorado AvalancheThe Flyers' choice of Nolan Patrick over Cale Makar in 2017 dramatically changed the future of two franchises. Whenever an NHL team wins the Stanley Cup, like the Colorado Avalanche did Sunday night with a 2-1 win over the Lightning in game six of the finals, the scene and its aftermath are swamped with tradition, nostalgia, and cliche. There's the handshake, a moment of honor and grace unparalleled in North American team sports. There is the presentation of the trophy not to the owner of the winning team (as happens in the NFL), but to its captain, to the leader of the athletes who competed and won. Is John Tortorella a good fit for the Flyers? Having last won the Cup in 1975, the Flyers have embarked on nearly half a century of annual soul searching and finding solutions. And there are plans that work mainly because of luck. For example, when ESPN asked Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog what other teams could borrow from Colorado's win, he said, "Find a Cale Makar somewhere." But the Avalanche were able to deny Makar — this year's Norris Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Consistently the best defenseman in the NHL - picking the #4 pick in the 2017 draft only because three teams, including the Flyers, passed him first. Good luck again. However, once you embed the Avalanche's championship run in the rest of recent NHL history, you can make some solid claims and begin to separate reality from perception. So let's look at the league in modern times – i.e. H. since the introduction of the salary cap before the 2005/06 season - and let's get down to business. 1) The NHL is more top-heavy than you might think. But these straw men are useful because they exist and are popular, and one of the most popular is the notion that the Stanley Cup Playoffs are unpredictable, that any team can beat any team in any series. And sometimes every team does. Take the 2019 Columbus Blue Jackets, who defeated a record-breaking Lightning team in the first round. Tampa Bay has reached four cup finals and won twice in the past eight years. In the 10-year period from 2008 to 2017, five teams — the Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, and Los Angeles Kings — all made 10 cup wins and 13 of a possible 20 playoff appearances. And the Avalanche's victory this year and the Washington Capitals' victory in 2018 came after both teams were terrific, if not outright dominant, for several years during the regular season. In retrospect, only the 2019 St. Louis Blues, who were the worst team in the league before hiring Craig Berube as head coach midseason and embarking on a notable turnaround, can be called the underdog champions since the cap's effect. (The 2012 Kings, who finished eighth in the Western Conference, initially qualified for such a label but then made the Conference Finals in 13 and won the trophy again in 14.) The point is, if you're Than Fan of a team that's scraped into the playoffs, don't waste too much hope for a springtime miracle. Well, if you want to win a league, it certainly helps to have a great goalie. But only once in the salary cap era has a team won the trophy in the same season its goalkeeper won the Vezina Trophy: the 2010/11 Bruins with Tim Thomas. It's generally more important to have consistency and stability in position, and any number of goalies from any number of backgrounds can offer these qualities. The Avalanche has been served decently, if not always superbly, this postseason by Darcy Kuemper and backup Pavel Francouz. Neither had a better than .906 save percentage in the postseason. As Carter Hart, who had a .905 save percentage in the regular season, can attest, nowadays it's the team around a goalie that makes the difference, resulting in... 3) Being bad can help you be really good Few people in the NHL -- and even less among the Flyers -- want to acknowledge that truth because it's too dishonorable to contemplate, but it's just that: true. As offense has increased and the style of play has opened up in the league, having top talent is more important, and with a salary cap, having top talent on manageable contracts is ideal. The rebuilt Rangers are the role model for the team that could have been the Flyers, Look at the Avalanche, which made the playoffs just three times in the 11 years from 2006-2017. Of the team's top eight scorers this regular season, seven were first-round picks. Six of the eight were top 10 picks, and four of the eight were drafted by Colorado. The Flyers have the No. 5 pick in next month's draft. The discrepancy between the two clubs speaks for itself.

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For Nathan MacKinnon, Jared Bednar and Joe Sakic, winning the Stanley Cup crowns the long journey

As the Avs partied on the ice with friends and family late into the night, much of the talk revolved around MacKinnon, Bednar and Joe Sakic. The superstar. The trainer. (Author: Gardener)

Joe Sakic— One by one, as if choreographed weeks ago, all 28 players and every member of the coaching, training and equipment staff and front office took their turn with the Stanley Cup here late Sunday night. Gabe Landeskog, traditional for the winning captain, posed for the photo. Veterans Erik Johnson, Andrew Cogliano, Nathan MacKinnon, Jack Johnson and Nazem Kadri were next. An injured Andre Burakovsky handed it off to goaltender Darcy Kuemper, ahead of winger Mikko Rantanen, center Darren Helm and defenseman Devon Toews. Winger Valeri Nichushkin, goalie Pavel Francouz, defender Cale Makar, center J.T. Compher, defender Josh Manson, winger Artturi Lehkonen and center Nico Sturm completed the group of regular playoff contenders. Coach Jared Bednar was the first non-player to lift the trophy. "It takes a moment or two to settle in, even when you're on the ice," Bednar said. "I'm so proud of the boys and what they've done this season. Over the next few days, the Avs will have so many stories, about the worst first-time trip, about the 102 regular season/playoff games this season. As the Avs partied on the ice with friends and family late into the night, much of the talk revolved around MacKinnon, Bednar and Joe Sakic. The trainer. Last June, after the playoff collapse against Vegas, MacKinnon aptly said he didn't "(beep)" win during his time with the Avalanche. Frustration was used as fuel for breakthrough, and the Avs not only overcame the second-round playoff highlight, they also clinched the trophy. It was similar to Washington in 2018. MacKinnon's 13 goals went to the NHL lead and his 24 points to sixth-most. He scored at least one goal in all four games of the Nashville series, nearly won the St. Louis series in Game 5 (overtime hat-trick) and had a six-point streak bridging the Edmonton and Tampa Bay series . In Game 6 against the Lightning, MacKinnon's one-timer from the circle made it 1-1 and assisted the winner. "It's incredible," MacKinnon said. "I'm forever grateful to go through this with these warriors and the guys we got at (trade) deadline and the young guys we brought in. MacKinnon joined top overall winners Ovechkin, Patrick Kane (Chicago) and Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay) and fellow Nova Scotian Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh) to win trophies with their original clubs. "He's one of the best players in the world and he wanted that more than anyone and it shows," Sakic said of the number 29. "He's open about how much he wants to win and I'm really proud of him. He's been tremendous since he was a rookie and got better and better every year. Much like the core of players had to learn on the job in 2016-17, so did Bednar, who was neither a player nor an assistant coach in the NHL before being hired by Sakic. Five years later, Bednar became the first coach to win championships in the ECHL (Kelly Cup with South Carolina 2009), AHL (Calder Cup with Lake Erie 16), and NHL. "I still can't believe it, to be honest," Bednar said about an hour after the game. "I was given the best advice as a coach early in my career — 'Don't be in a rush to climb the ladder and go somewhere else.' It was about honing your craft. If you fit, there is nothing comparable in life and work. It just makes your life easier and so rewarding.” Just as the players have learned from the heartbreak of the past two years, perhaps the coaching staff has learned as well. "I felt like we've had some really good teams in recent years and we've come close (in the second round) and that became increasingly difficult for me as a coach because we had such high expectations," said Bednar. “The maturity and growth of our players and feeling heartbreak this year has made a difference in our resilience and focus. "I used to laugh when people said, 'Well, you have to lose before you win.' But in this case, I think those were important lessons for our team that we learned and helped our team grow, too mature.” Sakic captained the Avalanche in the 1995-96 and 2000-01 championship seasons, and after taking over the team's personnel decisions in 2013, brought all but two players to the Cup winners' list (Landeskog and Erik Johnson). Sakic drafted MacKinnon 13 for first overall, Rantanen 15 for 10th, and Makar 17 for fourth. "You don't get the world's Cale Makars and some of these other great players if you draw too late," said owner Stan Kroenke. Said Sakic: "As hard as it is to get through these times, that's how you get these players. You always try to win, but sometimes you have to go through tough times to eventually have that. Sakic joins Denver contemporary of the sport, John Elway, as a two-time winner who won top executive titles. After Game 6, Sakic knew which role was easier. "We were probably more stressed than the players and the coaching staff because we don't have control, right?" he said. Sakic helped with the trade deadline as he acquired Manson, Sturm, Cogliano and Lehkonen to bolster Avs depth. "There are no words to describe this team and the work they do," Manson said. "They were hungry when I came in and they wanted to win and expected to win and we got the job done." The task facing Sakic now is significant - several players likely priced themselves out of the Avs' plans but beat the alternative - a player's salary only increases after winning a trophy. Nine players from the regular playoff lineup are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on July 13 at 10 a.m.: Manson, Sturm, Cogliano, Kuemper, Kadri, Helm, Nichushkin, Burakovsky and Jack Johnson. MacKinnon's contract expires after next season. The Avalanche want to be like Tampa Bay (continued excellence) and not like Washington (no winning streak since his cup). "[Tampa Bay] was the benchmark that we kept in mind as a team, that we want to emulate," Bednar said.

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The Colorado Avalanche reached the pinnacle of hockey -- defeating a dynasty in the process

Like most dynastic teams, the Tampa Bay Lightning weren't used to failing in important games. When they won two Stanley Cups in a row and the front door of... (Author: Gardener)

The Colorado AvalancheLike most dynastic teams, the Tampa Bay Lightning weren't used to failing in important games. As they won two straight Stanley Cups and were on the doorstep of a third, the Bolts amassed a 44-18 record in the playoffs - rarely facing elimination, although they always answered the call when the need arose. But for the first time in years, the Lightning met their opponent in the form of the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado won the Stanley Cup Sunday night by defeating the two-time defending champion and possessing a titanic championship showdown that was hard fought but ultimately belonged to the better team. The Avs finished the playoffs with a 16-4 record, a plus 1.5 goal difference per game, and a 1631 Elo rating, all of which rank in the top dozen Stanley Cup winners in modern NHL history : As impressive as the Avalanche's overall record was, the fact that they defeated Tampa Bay of all places in the finals makes this championship even more special. Including the Lightning in 2020 and 2021, only 17 teams in the NHL era had ever won two or more trophies in a row. Of those, only nine runs were completed by the team that eventually won the trophy for themselves - and of those, only five title streaks ended in the Stanley Cup Finals. Victories like this changing of the guard don't come often, but by the end of the series there was no doubt that Colorado deserved its championship. Throughout the season, we marveled at Colorado's prolific goal-scoring firepower, led by center Nathan MacKinnon, defenseman Cale Makar and an incredibly strong supporting line-up of attacking talent. And that showed in the playoffs, where the Avalanche had the most goals per game (4.25) by a Cup winner since 1988 and ninth since 1927. Meanwhile, Makar mostly won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP for having the fourth most points ever in a postseason by a defenseman. After the Avalanche took a 2-1 lead against Tampa Bay in the second half of Game 6, the Avalanche denied the Lightning a major chance to equalize - they held the Lightning to just four shots in the final frame and choked them on the Direct a scene straight from Tampa's standard script. A number of Tampa Bay's usual offensive stars were frustrated in Game 6 - Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn were deemed futile - and that was emblematic of the entire series. Even the sometimes maligned Colorado goalie Darcy Kuemper was keen on the tightrope, stopping 22 of 23 Lightning shots Sunday night. This could also be just the beginning for Colorado, whose best players are mostly under 30 -- and whose regular-season roster was the 12th-youngest in hockey weighted by adjusted goals over replacements. Of course, Colorado still has a long way to go before it joins Tampa Bay in the Dynasty conversation. But the Avalanche's Stanley Cup win on Sunday was the hard-fought exclamation point in one of the most impressive playoff runs we've seen in a while. The Lightning were the opponent who hadn't lost for so long, it seemed they were unbeatable. But in the end, Colorado was just too good a team to deny.

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Houston Happens - 4th of July Travel and Fun, Motivational Monday Stories and More

Houston Happens - 4th of July Travel and Fun, Motivational Monday Stories and More (Author: Gardener)

Houston Happens - 4thHouston Happens - 4th of July Travel and Fun, Motivational Monday Stories and More HOUSTON (KIAH) - Start your week with Maggie Flecknoe, host of Houston Happens. The 4th of July weekend is upon us and the summer travel season is officially in full swing. Many are making their way, and LIVE is Lauren Fix, automotive expert and founder of Car Coach Reports, to give us her top travel tips. Plus, some feel-good stories on this Motivational Monday! That and more awaits you at Houston Happens. CW39 Host Maggie Flecknoe brings you "Houston Happens" every weekday morning at 9:30 am on CW39 Houston. Houston Happens is a locally sponsored show giving you, our viewer, everything you need to know about Houston, including what to look forward to. Plus everything from money-saving tips to beauty, the best products for your now, food, refreshing drinks and motivating guests. Find the latest news, weather, sports and streaming video at CW39 Houston.

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