Best Sports Team -- Professional - 2004
Readers' Choice: Colorado Avalanche
All right, so the Avalanche has been in a swoon of late. Even the Zamboni drivers have heard the rumors about coach Tony Granato's departure, and some Avs veterans have questioned their teammates' work ethic as the NHL playoffs draw near. Still, the two-time Stanley Cup champions remain a scary power to all of the top teams in the league -- especially if the great center Peter Forsberg can avoid more injury and star free agents Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya get their acts together in time to knock heads with the Red Wings, Canucks and Sharks at Cup Crazy time. Don't worry about Alex Tanguay and Joe Sakic: These two scoring machines never shut down for repairs. Meanwhile, the smartest executive in hockey, GM Pierre Lacroix, may have a few more late-season tricks up his sleeve. Even amid a shocking slump, the Avs loom as a grave threat to grab up Lord Stanley's funny-looking trophy for the third time in nine years.