People are really wondering why the Avalanche are playing as well as they are. My theory comes down to one thing, Joe Sacco. Now hear me out on this theory, because it's not because he is such an amazing coach or has reinvented the game. I believe it's because he has a straightforward system and also has a familiarity with the players that they trust.
Relationships are irreplaceable. Sacco had a relationship with many of these players last year and there wasn't a learning period with many of them. Throw in that he was around Wolski early knows what gets him fired up, had a relationship with Jones, and others and we quickly see that there was meshing as a team/coaching staff well before this season. If we look at the list of players who have been coached by this guy before we will see that it is pretty large group of current Avs. Just ask Boudreau how moving up with players works.
The defensive scheme seems to be taking as well. Hannan feels like he has a renewed lease on his hockey career. It really felt like he didn't know what was expected from him when he was playing for Granato last year. Granato just wasn't what the Avs needed as far as a coach is concerned.
I also think that the Avs don't know that they are supposed to be bad. These guys may be young but I don't think that they care. I think the young guys are just playing their game, buying into the system and seeing what is part of winning. They will struggle this year, and at times, disappear on the score sheet and such.
This time in their career is about the potential of the future. Duchene and O'Reilly are showing that they can be NHL stars. Duchene will learn how to finish and grow into that player that he can be. O'Reilly is the type of player who gets better with better with stronger competition.
The biggest piece that was added was a goalie. Anderson is giving these young guys the space to grow and develop. The defenseman are confident in his abilities, and in turn play like it. Last night against the Oilers they tightened up and helped him get a shut out. Hannan got an assist on the Hejduk goal and the Oiler radio announcers were complaining about him all night. That is the guy we remember who was a thorn in Forsberg's side. We saw it last year once against Malkin and I hope he keeps up his play.
The reason that the Avs are far better than expected at this point in the season is because of the time Sacco spent in Lake Eerie helping the young guys leading up to this season. Because of that trust other players have bought it. The potential is there, we will see how the rest of the season plays out.