Crawford says his team is more physical this year than last year because of the addition of forward Jeff Odgers, a tough guy who will give the Avalanche a boost when the action turns nasty in the postseason. The Avalanche also hopes to benefit from the return of Keith Jones, a power forward who finally made it back to the lineup last week after off-season knee surgery. Sakic and Jones are expected to play together, and Colorado is hoping that Jones hits his stride just as the captain returns.
"We've got all the ingredients to be good in the playoffs—we're mentally tough, we're strong defensively, we've got good special teams and good goaltending," says Crawford. "But we've got to be more consistent at both ends of the ice. We can't afford die long lapses that we were guilty of last year." For those who can't remember mat far back, there are always last month's lapses in Nagano. Can't afford too many of those, either.
Winning the Cup won't be easy for the Avalanche, but let's face it: It's not nearly as far-fetched as losing at the Olympics.