7-Eleven That's Hockey Online: May 21st
With the NHL potentially closing on a 24-team Return to Play format, two-time Stanley Cup champion Ian Cole expressed his confidence in the Colorado Avalanche's chances.
Cole told the Denver Post that he believes the Avalanche can beat any team in the NHL in a best-of-seven series, should the NHL keep the traditional path to the Stanley Cup.
"You only have so many opportunities to be on a really great team that has a very legitimate chance, and I view us as a team that has a very legitimate chance to win a Stanley Cup," Cole told The Denver Post. "I look around at all the teams in the league, and obviously I'm quite a bit biased, but I think we can beat any team in this league in a seven-game series.
"I've been fortunate enough to win two Stanley Cups, but there's nothing more I want to do than win a third one, and then a fourth one, and then a fifth one. I think a lot of guys on this team mimic that."
The National Hockey League Players' Association's executive board is in the process of voting on the 24-team format, which would see the top four teams in each conference play a round-robin to determine playoff seeding while teams sitting Nos. 5-12 in the standings would play in best-of-five series. The Avalanche, who currently sit third in the Western Conference, would enter the round robin.
Cole, who won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017, is in his second season with the Avalanche and had four goals and 26 points in 65 games when the season was paused.
The Avalanche were eliminated in the second round of last year's playoffs after a Game 7 loss to the San Jose Sharks. The team had already surpassed their point total from last season before the pause, owning a 42-20-8 record.