DENVER — It's been a little more than two months since the Colorado Avalanche played a hockey game. It feels like it's been longer than that.
“Things were going so good. And then (there was) that game against the New York Rangers on March 11, 2020. The Avs win 3-2 in overtime," reminisced Marc Moser, the Colorado Avalanche play-by-play announcer. "Man (the Avalanche) are two points out of first place, (and) they’ve got a game in hand. And then the season stops (due to Coronavirus concerns). It shuts down."
“Boy, it was going to be exciting. It really was," exclaimed Peter McNab, the team's color commentator.
That’s a tough pill to swallow, for a fanbase hungry for hockey. Pepsi Center has been quiet since the coronavirus forced the NHL to suspend its season. But that hasn’t silenced the Avalanche broadcasting team of Moser and McNab
“We thought while we have this downtime, and we have an opportunity, why not have some fun," said Moser.
What Altitude came up with was simulated games, streamed once a week on social media.
“I have never been involved in video games, so when I saw the first one I was absolutely stunned at how realistic it was. If you sit back and kind of blur your eyes, its remarkable," said McNab.
The production crew enhanced the NHL20 experience. From Jake Schroeder with the national anthem to recycled in-game interviews.
On occasion Moser and McNab forget that they’re calling the action from home.
“There was one game we did where the Avalanche won it (when Nathan) MacKinnon scored in overtime," said McNab. “And my dog is looking at me like what is wrong with you? But then after I turned it off, I was like I really enjoyed that.”
“You and I have had fun calling these games. And getting excited about a video game, but it’s still a joy to us because we miss it so much," Moser said.
The unbeaten Avs aren’t the only computer simulated game in town. You can catch the virtual Nuggets with Chris Marlowe and Scott Hastings.
The games are on Twitch, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for both teams. The Avalanche drop the puck on Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m. and the Nuggets take the virtual court on Thursdays at 7:00.
It’s a great way to stay connected with the fans while we wait for the real games to return.