Loyalty is one of the great illusions in pro sports, where the love between team and player is always conditional, forever tenuous and never perfect.
For example: Barely 48 hours after failing to ship Tyson Jost out of Colorado at the trade deadline, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar had him skating on the second line alongside J.T. Compher and Joonas Donskoi.
Jost responded to his opportunity with a nitty-gritty assist on a goal by Compher that allowed Colorado to beat Buffalo 3-2 on Wednesday night. A lesser man might’ve given up, gone home and cried in his pillow.
“It’s tough at times. I’m not going to sit and say it wasn’t tough,” Jost said. “There’s a lot of nights when you’re just asking: ‘Why?’”
With the outcome hanging in the balance during the final nine minutes of the third period, Jost emerged with the puck from a scrum behind the Sabres’ net and pushed it to Donskoi, whose nifty pass set up Compher for the game-winner.
Jost’s name was whispered so often in the hours prior to the trade deadline Monday that his ears must still be burning. Yes, he was the 10th overall pick in the 2016 draft. But that seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it?
Jost, who had an apparent goal against Buffalo waved off for a high stick, has not put the puck in the net since November and has taken up residence alongside mascot Bernie…