Avalanche Shut Down Again
The Colorado Avalanche are shut down once more, and COVID-19 is again the reason for the pause.
The entire National Hockey League continues to deal with this virus, and contact tracing has made it difficult for the Avalanche to field a team at this time.
Last week the NHL announced that the Avalanche would have its next three games postponed after a third player entered into the COVID-19 protocol. The league does whatever it can to keep teams on the ice, especially with only a few weeks remaining in the regular season.
In the announcement from the league, the Avalanche were set to resume practice on Wednesday before taking on the St. Louis Blues on Thursday. This could change depending on further COVID-19 testing, but the Avalanche will likely have to play without some of their key players for the time being.
Colorado canceled three separate morning skates last week but still managed to play games through this mini-outbreak. Eventually, the league felt that the team was returning too many positive tests for the Avalanche to continue to take the ice.
The first two team members to be placed in the COVID-19 protocols were defenseman Bowen Byram and goalie Philipp Grubauer. It appeared that no other players were going to be affected by the virus until a third positive test was confirmed on Friday.
This week, the news came out that Mikko Rantanen has also been placed on the league’s COVID-19 absence list, which is a huge blow to the Avalanche. Rantanen has played in all 43 games for the Avalanche this season, but it’s unclear how many he will miss during this time.
This absence will not only hurt the team, but it will hurt the MVP chances for Rantanen as he is having a career year. He entered the week with 26 goals, second to only Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Rantanen was also on a six-game point streak before the schedule paused.
There are currently eight players from five different teams on the league’s COVID-19 absence list.
Stanley Cup Betting Favorite
Despite playing through plenty of adversity this season, the Avalanche are still a popular betting pick to win the Stanley Cup. Not only have Colorado sportsbooks seen plenty of betting action on the Avalanche, but they are also the betting favorites to win the title.
Currently, the Avalanche are being offered at +400 to win the Stanley Cup, and those odds have changed slightly throughout the season. Colorado was the preseason betting favorite to win the title, and they remain there with only a few weeks remaining.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are viewed as the top challenger to the Colorado Avalanche, being offered at +600. Tampa Bay is the defending Stanley Cup champion, and they have much of the same roster from the 2020 season.
The Vegas Golden Knights out of the West Division are listed at +750 to win the title, and Colorado will have to go through them at some point in the postseason.
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