As the Avs await their second-round opponent, some of the team took to the ice Thursday in what was an optional skate at Ball Arena.
A few players that were noted to be there: Bo Byram, Conor Timmins, Philipp Grubuaer, Tyson Jost, P-E Bellemare, J.T. Compher, Val Nichushkin, Carl Soderberg, Sampo Ranta, Patrik Nemeth, Kiefer Sherwood, Devan Dubnyk and Jonas Johansson. The top two lines took the day off and enjoyed some rest.
Shortly after practice wrapped up, the league announced the start time for Game 1 of the second round. While the Avs await their second-round opponent, they now know they’ll be playing at 6 p.m. MST at Ball Arena on Sunday night.
TBD on Game 2, which would normally be Tuesday, given the league’s every-other-day playoff schedule, however, the Nuggets are already slated to play Game 5 of their own playoff series at Ball Arena that night. That said, the NHL will need to decide whether they want to go back-to-back and have Game 2 played Monday night, or give both teams an extra day off and wait until Wednesday night to play.
Speaking of extra days off, it’ll be a full calendar week between when the Avs last played and when they meet either Minnesota or Vegas for Game 1 on Sunday. All that rest can be a good thing, but it could also slow the momentum that the Avalanche were rolling with through their first-round series.
“It could be an advantage to have the couple extra days rest,” Avs goaltender Philipp Grubauer said Thursday afternoon. “But at the same time, they’re (Minnesota and Vegas) in the flow, they’re playing, but they might be tired because of the extra games.
“I think for us, we had a couple of covid breaks during the season, and this just feels like another covid break, having a few days off then right back to it.”
“I think there’s probably a little bit too much made of it,” Devan Dubnyk said of the rest or rust debate. “I think anytime you have a chance to take a break and rest guys’ bodies, especially with the way the season went and how condensed it was and is going to be, I think it’s a real advantage for us to have the rest that we have.
“I think we showed it during the season when we had multiple shutdowns and we were able to come back and put forth some good efforts.”
Other news and notes:
- Nazem Kadri’s appeal hearing was at “Noon or 1 p.m.” MST this afternoon. Coach Bednar had no further updates other than that.
- Jayson Megna went on the league’s covid protocol list yesterday, and today coach Bednar confirmed it was in fact a positive test and not contract tracing.
- He was asked if today’s test came back OK and say yesterday’s came back clear…but did not mention anything about today.
- Erik Johnson “wasn’t around for a long time,” but coach Bednar said he’s been back into the facilities and has been around the Avs dressing room a bit more over the last week or so.
- I asked Bednar if Bo Byram was a guy he could see making his postseason debut in this upcoming series: “Yep, definitely. I can see it.”
- He also added he doesn’t want to shake things up on the D side of things; he liked the way they played back there against St. Louis.
- I also asked about Conor Timmins, who played very few minutes in the series with St. Louis, and what more coach wants to see from him: “Consistency, managing the puck properly, limiting his turnovers. His defending has been pretty good.”
- A lot of love for Gabe Landeskog during today’s media availability, and rightfully so based on his series against STL:
- “Unbelievable captain in the room, and on and off the ice,” said Grubauer. “Incredible job by Landy.”
- “I thought he was outstanding,” agreed coach Bednar. “No better example than Game 1 and Game 2’s start. He drags us into the fight and into the game…He took some comments from St. Louis and he takes it personal and he was out there to prove a point. He was the leader of our group.”
- “He’s one of the best in the world,” Devan Dubnyk said. “Me and him joke now about always getting in battles because he always gets to the right areas and he’s a handful for goalies. That’s why me and him used to get into it. But fortunately we’ve cleared the air now and I get to be on other side of it.”
- Philipp Grubauer used to watch highlight videos of Felix Potvin and Mike Richter, a couple of his idols.
- Grubauer watches game video after every single game. It’s something he’s been doing since his OHL days.
- Devan Dubnyk “didn’t really have any symptoms” while he was on the covid list.
- Coach Bednar was asked what he likes most about Devon Toews. His answer was simple: “Consistency.” He also praised his “remarkable” efforts and “high level” play.
- Bednar said there will be a “cram sesh” for his players on Saturday as they watch video, practice and prepare for either Minny or Vegas.