Well, as I’ve always said about preseason games that don’t go well: good thing it didn’t count. That’s maybe what the group that represented the Colorado Avalanche is saying about Friday night’s Rookie Showcase game against the Los Angeles Kings, played in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Avs lost, 4-0.
Who cares about the final score, right? How did the prospects look, is the question. Well, uh….next question.
I watched a good deal of the game, albeit on a stream, and I thought the guys skated well and did plenty of good things. They just couldn’t put the puck in the net.
Goalie Justus Annunen, I thought, was pretty good despite the four goals. The killer goal against came with 1.2 seconds left in the first period, turning a 1-0 game into a 2-0 game.
“I think they got a lot of chances in and around our net, which is something we need to clean up for next game,” said Avs forward Alex Newhook, who had a couple of real good chances but failed to score. “We had some chances too, but didn’t bury them, myself included.”
Colorado Eagles coach Greg Cronin, who coached the game, wasn’t overly thrilled about the night’s results.
“I thought it was a little sloppy,” he said. “It was a strange game to watch. It’s a terrible bench, so you really don’t see very well. I just thought we were kind of average. Nobody really popped for me. I liked (Sampo) Ranta’s size and skating. I thought (Justin) Barron and (Bo) Byram played well.”
Annunen, who has been working hard with new goalie development coach Peter Budaj in rookie camp, is certainly a big guy, at 6-4. I feel like he’s got to work on his lateral quickness a bit more, from what I said. But he certainly takes up a lot of net and seemed square to the puck a lot.
I thought Newhook was the best forward out there for the Avs, although that really wasn’t saying much.
These guys have pressure on them, because you only get so many chances to make a good impression on coaches and management in camps/showcases like this. So, it’s on to the next one. That will come Sunday, against Anaheim. The rookie group will have a practice today in Scottsdale.