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Slip and slide

The Colorado bench hasn't been a happy one too often this season with the team sitting at the bottom of the Northwest Division standings. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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The Colorado bench hasn't been a happy one too often this season with the team sitting at the bottom of the Northwest Division standings. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

How bad have things been for the Colorado Avalanche this year?

Well, their best old player lost a battle with a snowblower and their best young player is out for at least another month after forearm surgery. Those two facts combined to make Tyler Arnason their No. 1 center until recently, when Wojtek Wolski moved over from the wing, which is a sure sign things aren’t going your way.

All that happened after they signed Darcy Tucker last summer in the hopes he could add a little toughness and scoring grit to the front lines.

Injuries to Joe Sakic and Paul Stastny and impaired judgment on personnel moves have combined to make this a miserable season in Colorado, a city once firmly on the road map of any Western Conference team hoping to advance to the Cup final.

A fairly barren prospect cupboard means it’s time for a complete rebuild in the Rockies.

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
OVERALL
L10
THE SCOOP
1
Boston Bruins
1
29-6-4
9-1-0
Wins should keep coming with eight of their next 11 at home
2
Detroit Red Wings
4
26-7-5
7-2-1
At their best when they've been pushed this year
3
San Jose Sharks
3
29-4-5
6-1-3
Still have the best winning percentage in the league
4
Washington Capitals
5
26-11-3
9-1-0
How cool would it have been to see Ovie, Jeff Carter and Thomas Vanek starting the All-Star Game on the same line?
5
Chicago Blackhawks
2
21-8-7
8-2-0
Nikolai Khabibulin shows he's still on the scene with a 34-save performance in Sunday's win over Calgary
6
Calgary Flames
6
23-12-4
7-1-2
Suddenly it seems the Northwest is theirs to lose
7
New Jersey Devils
8
23-12-3
7-3-0
Patrik Elias and Zach Parise have been awesome, but Brian Gionta is almost at a point-per-game pace, too
8
Montreal Canadiens
9
22-10-6
6-3-1
Habs have to be concerned with how shaky Jaroslav Halak has looked in Carey Price's absence
9
Philadelphia Flyers
7
21-10-8
5-3-2
The Flyers are so banged up at forward that 18-year-old defenseman Luca Sbisa became a first-line winger in a loss to the Kings
10
New York Rangers
10
23-14-3
5-4-1
Michal Rozsival coming alive on the back end with four goals in his past five games. He had just two all year prior to the outburst.
11
Anaheim Ducks
11
20-1-5
4-4-2
Jonas Hiller's 2.12 goals-against average and .933 save percentage rank him No. 3 league-wide in each of those categories
12
Carolina Hurricanes
13
20-15-5
7-3-0
Have been picking on the lesser lights of late to rack up some W's
13
Phoenix Coyotes
19
19-16-5
5-3-2
Shane Doan has simply been awesome this year
14
Buffalo Sabres
15
19-15-5
5-3-2
Walked into Boston and put a halt to the Bruins' 10-game winning streak
15
Vancouver Canucks
17
21-15-5
4-4-2
After months of excruciating talk, we'll see Mats Sundin play an NHL game this week
16
Pittsburgh Penguins
12
19-16-4
3-7-0
Maybe the freefall ends if Evgeni Malkin jumps somebody on a faceoff
17
Columbus Blue Jackets
23
18-17-4
5-4-1
Jackets have the fourth-best goals for/against ratio at 5-on-5 in the league; imagine if the NHL's worst power play suddenly improves
18
Dallas Stars
18
17-16-5
6-3-1
On a team that needs an offensive leader, Brad Richards has 13 points in his past nine games
19
Minnesota Wild
26
19-16-3
4-4-2
Marian Gaborik had hip surgery on Monday; the team is hopeful he'll return for the last month of the season. The real question is where he'll play after that.
20
Florida Panthers
14
17-16-6
3-4-3
Four of David Booth's seven assists this year have come in the past five games. The young American is on pace for 37 goals
21
Edmonton Oilers
20
18-16-3
5-4-1
Sam Gagner finally coming alive with four points over his past two contests
22
Toronto Maple Leafs
22
16-17-6
5-5-0
If I was GM of a Cup contender, I'd be calling about Nik Antropov and Tomas Kaberle
23
Los Angeles Kings
24
16-16-6
4-4-2
Was this forward crew simply overrated from the start?
24
Colorado Avalanche
21
19-19-1
5-5-0
Franchise that always picked high in the late '80s and early '90s could use a top three selection in this year's draft
25
Nashville Predators
16
17-18-3
3-6-1
Dan Ellis hasn't been able to replicate his magic from last season
26
Tampa Bay Lightning
27
11-18-10
4-4-2
Ryan Malone had three points through the first 14 games; he's got 18 in the past 16
27
Ottawa Senators
25
13-18-6
3-6-1
Which one of the players who dazzled at the World Junior Championship in Ottawa would Sens fans most like to have next year? I'd have to guess John Tavares
28
St. Louis Blues
29
15-21-3
3-7-0
What will they get for Keith Tkachuk in this year's trade?
29
Atlanta Thrashers
30
13-22-5
3-6-1
Coach John Anderson not happy with what he calls his team's "give-a-crap level"
30
New York Islanders
28
12-24-4
2-6-2
Mark Streit has a five-game point streak going and has been awesome on Long Island all year

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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