DATER: Memories of 1996 Avalanche Cup Final And Today Are Downright Eerie

Does life repeat itself in a weird way? Is everything a cycle? Is there a parallel universe? I think a lot about this kind of S. First of all, sometimes your humble correspondent thinks things way, way, way, way too hard. I have OCD – sometimes a blessing, sometimes a curse. When it comes to my time covering the Avalanche, I feel like this is kind of a weird new act, in a parallel-Universian kind of way.

This puts the Avalanche 2-0 up against a Florida team in the Stanley Cup finals. Twenty-six years ago this month, I was in Florida for a Stanley Cup Final Game 3 against the other team from this large southern state, mostly bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. Game 1 of this 1996 cup final was a close game in favor of the Avs. Game 2 was a seven goal difference in favor of Colorado, 8-1.

This series ended a sweep. Will this happen again, albeit with new leads, a new location and in a different time? Damn if I knew.

I just can’t stop thinking about how similar it all feels to back then – in a very different way. am i making sense

Some stories from the 1996 cup final:

  • I’ve mentioned this before, but just when I thought the Avalanche were in good hands with this first cup, I was part of a little media jostling with Patrick Roy, right outside the Avalanche dressing room at the old McNichols Sports Arena. It was after Game 1, a 3-1 Avalanche win, that the underdog Rat Pack Panthers took a 1-0 second-half lead against a very nervous McNichols. Goals from Scott Young, Uwe Krupp and Mike Ricci made it 3-1.
  • Roy was standing against the wall in the hallway separating the Avalanche room from the outer portion of the lower bowl. He had one foot against the wall and had an absolutely carefree demeanor. He smiled a lot and laughed lightly. He knew the series was over – he told me so many years later. He said he just knew. Florida had its best chance of getting an early jump but didn’t. The next night’s game was an 8-1 Avalanche game with a natural hat-trick from Peter Forsberg.
  • A lot of people have asked me today, “Is this the best Avs team ever?”
  • I have two more games to win before I can honestly go into this answer.
  • But like many of you, I think that might have been the best game I saw at the Avalanche last night. Unfortunately, this game brings back memories of another moment in the team’s past. The Avalanche lost a Game 3 in the 1997 Western Conference Finals in Detroit. They were the defending Stanley Cup champions. Patrick Roy and Claude Lemieux sat on a makeshift media podium at Joe Louis Arena and defiantly wondered if their time as champions was up. “Let’s play,” Roy said. “You haven’t seen our best game yet.”
  • And the Red Wings wouldn’t see it the next night either. Detroit won easily to make it a 3-1 series. Steven Stamkos, who looked like a cross between Fagin from Oliver Twist and Merle Haggard last night, was basically saying the Avalanche haven’t seen the Lightning’s best game yet and warned the media not to close the Lightning obituary write.
  • (By the way, Avalanche-Red Wings ESPN film Unrivaled airs this coming Sunday. You won’t want to miss it. And not just because yours will actually appear in it. Oh, and did someone say this book helped with that has production of this? oh, ashamed for mentioning that).
  • However, you cannot exclude anyone. Avalanche fans should NOT get cocky now. Or don’t we all remember last year’s Vegas series?
  • The Lightning will give it all they’ve got tomorrow night. They are two-time defending champions. Granted, the first cup was when they had $18 million more in wages than other teams and beat Dallas in a bubble final in Edmonton. And admittedly, the second cup was against a team from their own conference in a strangely constructed playoff format, in a brutally awful series played with few fans in Montreal. Both cups brought shorter seasons. But hey, they won it. They’re undoubtedly proud of those rings and will do anything to defend them in tomorrow’s game.
  • The Lightning are taking on a real team this time in a real season. Let’s see what they have tomorrow.
  • And I know that sounds petty. But, yeah, I’ve had some reservations about this “Dynasty” Lightning team for a while. They won two cups in non-traditional years. So, sorry, but that’s just not the same, no matter how much their apologist boosters want to say.
  • One thing still worries me about Avalanche: 1. Can Kuemper play a real money game on the go? 2. If Burakovsky is out along with Kadri, is that too much offensive depth to miss in a game like this?
  • This next game will really say a lot about the Avs. Though I do have this to say: I thought the Avs would revert to their old, suffocating selves in Game 5 at home against St. Louis in the second round. And they proved me wrong when this Darren Helm buzzer beater winner won the series. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Avs have one more hurdle to overcome to become champions of the hockey world. Game 3 is tomorrow night at 6 p.m. Bergzeit on ABC.
  • A few more memories from the 1996 cup final: 1. Mark Kiszla bought me a pair of board shorts at the Miami Beach Sheraton when he wanted to go for a walk on the beach but I only packed pants. I still have those shorts in a drawer. Picture me in 1990s-style shorts, walking the beach in penny loafers, and you get the unfortunate picture of me in 1996. This may come as a shock, but I didn’t have a girlfriend at the time.
  • Meeting with Jack Nicklaus before Game 3 at the Miami Arena.
  • Game 4 ended around 1 a.m. EST. The story was submitted around 2am. just in time to beat the Denver Post’s midnight deadline. Hockey News guys drove me to the post-game NHL media shindig with free booze and shrimp. Back to hotel around 3:30 am, one hour “sleep” after mucho wino and shrimpo. 4:30 in a taxi to the airport at 5, on the plane through doors that close at 5:45 or so.
  • Wouldn’t trade these memories for the world.
  • Parade coverage the next day.
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