This was some winter for the knuckleheads at Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.
The Denver Nuggets missed the NBA playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, falling short in their valiant quest for the No. 8 seed. They haven't won a postseason series since 2008-09.
The hapless Colorado Avalanche sank to a new low in 2016-17, finishing 22-56-4 for 48 points after taking that 3-2 loss to the Blues on Sunday night at Scotttrade Center. The Denver Post notes that is the lowest point total in the league since the expansion 1999-2000 Atlanta Thrashers earned 39 (14-57-7-4) before the shootout era.
The Avalanche missed the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons. They have not won a playoff series since 2007-08.
How can one organization be so bad at multiple major sports? Land-hoarding recluse Stan Kroenke just has a special touch.
Rather than hire the best possible executives to run his teams, he employs his kid (Josh, who oversees the Avalanche and Nuggets) or somebody else's kid (Kevin Demoff, who runs the Rams). And he tolerates futility year after year after year after year.
At least the Nuggets achieved mediocrity this season. They stayed in the hunt in Game 80, when Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook personally erased them Sunday with a crazy 50-point, 15-rebound, 10-assist performance.
Westbrook capped that show with a contested 36-foot three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Thunder a 106-105 victory.
As for the Avalanche, well, it's hard to believe a team with that much talent could be so awful. After starting the season 9-9, it took a 4-24-2 free fall.
GM Joe Sakic hired Jared Bednar to replace Patrick Roy, who abruptly quit during the summer after failing to get personnel changes he sought. After winning the AHL title in Cleveland, Bednar failed horribly in Denver.
“He was put in a position, late in the game, trying to get prepared for training camp and having that in place with this group, and kind of quickly learning on the job with a new team that he didn’t know much about,” Sakic told the Denver Post. “We’re dead-last in the league so we all have to get better at what we do. But I know he’s excited and we’re excited to have the whole summer in place to get ready for next training camp, the way he wants to run his training camp with this group. All the players are going to be prepared. We’re looking forward to next year.”
Unless Stan or Josh Kroenke tells Sakic to fire Bednar, it sounds like he is coming back. That would be one massive mulligan.
“You don’t forget about this year," Sakic said. "You have to learn from this year. No one can say, ‘Aw, let’s forget about it, let’s start fresh.’ The mind-set has to be, ‘We have to remember this year’ and for especially the players to focus on, ‘All right, this summer better be a summer of work to get back to a certain level of play.’ ”
Yeah, well, good luck with that. Kroenkitis is a difficult affliction to overcome.
MYSTERIES OF THE UNIVERSE
Questions to ponder while waiting for Stephen Piscotty to revive the Cardinals' offense:
MASTER OF GOLF
Say, how about Sergio Garcia's playoff victory at The Masters? Here is what folks wrote about that:
Michael Bamberger, SI.com: "Garcia, aided and abetted by the man with whom he dueled through the afternoon and early evening, Englishman Justin Rose, gave the game and the tournament a tremendous, needed lift on Sunday. Too many important events have been marred by rules controversies in the past year. The Tiger Woods injury saga is long and incredibly boring. The endless effort to turn this great, confounding, complicated game into a paint-by-numbers exercise has threatened to turn it into a science it has never truly been and was never meant to be. Yes, Garcia knows his launch angle and he certainly knows precisely how far he hits every club. But in good times and in his many bad ones, he plays with heart and he tells the truth afterward."
Kevin Van Valkenberg, ESPN.com: "The collapse was coming. You could feel it in the air of Amen Corner, almost as if it was lingering in the pines among the expensive cigar smoke. Maybe it wouldn't be a sudden and horrifying collapse like it was with Jordan Spieth at the 12th hole in 2016, but this one might be just as agonizing. Death by a thousand cuts. In the Masters gallery on Sunday afternoon, there was a sense of apprehension, then resignation. Sergio Garcia was going to blow the Masters, just like he'd blown a half-dozen majors before this. He'd just made messy bogeys the 10th and 11th holes, failed to hit it close on 12, and watched his drive clip a tree on the 13th and carom into the azalea bushes on the left side of Rae's Creek. Justin Rose, now up two strokes, looked like a machine, his ball in the middle of the fairway yet again. Garcia looked like a fragile man whose spirit had finally been broken. It felt like you could start fitting Rose for a jacket. For Garcia, it was all over but the sobbing. And then ... it wasn't."
Megan Schuster, The Ringer: "Golf provides a kind of theater that no other sport is capable of. In a year marked by miraculous championships — the Cavaliers and Cubs coming back from 3–1 deficits, Leicester City winning the Premier League title, the Patriots defying all predictive measurements to win the Super Bowl — this Masters Sunday was special: It wasn’t Garcia versus Rose, it was Garcia versus Garcia. The Masters has seen great battles throughout its history: Nicklaus against the field in ’86, Phil against Ernie in ’04, Tiger and Chris DiMarco in ’05. But you rarely see someone go head to head with themselves — their past failures, their checkered competitive history. Throughout the tournament, Jordan Spieth and Garcia battled for title of Outstanding Redemptive Storyline: You couldn’t watch five minutes of Spieth coverage without being reminded of his disastrous 12th hole last year, and given that it’s Sergio’s 18th year as a pro, viewers were already well versed in the tragic history of his performances in major tournaments. Before Sunday, Garcia had finished second in four majors and in the top 10 in 22 major tournaments, but he had never come away with a win."
Mike Lupica, Sports on Earth: "He had come so close in the past. There were times when Garcia whined that he didn't have it in him to win a major, and maybe he actually began to believe it. But then he would show you all his heart and artistry and game in the Ryder Cup, and you would tell yourself that maybe someday there would be a day for Sergio Garcia, before he ran out of prime. That day came on Sunday, a day that reminded you of how fragile these days are, that reminded you of that even now as you remember all the putts both men hit that just slid past the hole. Rose did it on the 72nd hole. So did Sergio Garcia. Then finally the last putt of the 2017 Masters wasn't sliding past the hole, it was making this little turn at the edge, like a basketball shot on the rim deciding what it wanted to do, and what it wanted to do with the history of a sport. Sergio got into a crouch then, and pumped his fists. The crowd began to chant his name. Rose came over and hugged him. And there was this moment when Garcia was on his knees, and hitting the 18th green at the most famous golf course in the world with his right fist. Once, at Medinah, he had hit this crazy shot from behind a tree, and ran and chased it like a kid, jumping into the air. There were a lot of times after that when his sport brought him to his knees. It did again on Sunday. It was different this time."
"I can't pick holes in my performance. I felt fantastic out there. I felt cool, calm and collected. Could I have made the putt on 17? Of course I could. But for the most part, I'm not going to sit here and second-guess one or two shots. I really stepped up. I felt great. I felt in control. I felt positive. I felt confident. And barring a great comeback from Sergio, it was mine to cruise to the house. But it's not always that easy. At the end of the day, you're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them. You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there, and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.