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Avs Notebook: Four players placed on waivers, early word on Francouz encouraging



The Avs took the day off from hockey activities, but the front office was still at work. Management put four players on waivers this morning, including veteran Kiefer Sherwood.

Sherwood, who played 16 games for the Avs last season, and two more in the playoffs, is likely to be reassigned to the Colorado Eagles if he clears waivers. The Avs also put Roland McKeown and Dylan Sikura on waivers, and also Stefan Matteau.

Once they clear – or if any are taken by another club – the Avs will be down to 31 players on the camp roster. They need to get down to 23 by opening night. Last night, Oskar Olausson was sent back to Barrie of the OHL and Andreas Wingerli was sent to the Eagles.

By no means is this an official “report.” But from what I’ve heard from my spies with the Avs, there is early encouragement about the condition of goalie Pavel Francouz, who left last night’s game with some kind of lower-body injury.

Coach Jared Bednar said the injury was not related to the hip surgery that sidelined him all of last season, so that was early good news right there. We’ll probably get official word from Bednar on Thursday. For now anyway – and things could change, who knows – it sounds like Frankie escaped serious injury.

Still no contract for Jack Johnson. I know the sides have talked a lot, and I still believe a contract is forthcoming. But until it’s done, it’s not done.

Interesting comments from Nathan MacKinnon to Elliotte Friedman of SportsNet, in his 32 Thoughts column today. The comments came at the NHL media tour in Chicago last month. He talks about the Vegas series and what went wrong:

“We beat them in Game 2 but they dominated us in the second and third (periods), and I remember thinking, ‘Ooof.’ Talking on the plane, our whole thing is the process. Be good at the process, results will take care of themselves. And that process that game was so bad…In Games 3-4 they dominated us and we got hesitant. Our whole thing is being aggressive, making plays and being confident with the puck. No one really wanted the puck, no one wanted to make mistakes. I know we will learn from that. When things get tough, it’s the playoffs, teams are going to have good games, we are going to have to stop the bleeding a little bit quicker than (we did).” What is a successful process to the Avalanche? “We like to track all five guys above their five guys,” he answered. “When we do that, we’re actually much better offensively, we don’t get lazy coming back in our zone. We swarm quick in the D-zone, we play physical, fast and aggressive. When we do that, we’re a tough team to beat. All credit to Vegas, they were great. Even in Game 5, we’re up 2-0 going into the third period. Couple of mistakes, they tie the game and win it in OT. And then in Game 6, I think we outshot them 40-20 or something, it was just too late. They had all the momentum on their side. It’s just too bad, because you think you can win, you want it so bad, it’s frustrating.” Added stud defender Cale Makar: “Vegas started chipping pucks behind us as a d-core, we weren’t doing our job well enough. We just need to stay patient, we got on our heels a little bit because they were coming at us so fast with their transition game. It’s a learning curve.”

He also added that maybe he and maybe the team thought too much in the series when things got tough, instead of just going by aggressive first instincts:

“Joe (Sakic) was just like, ‘Let go.’ I was trying to play the perfect game, not take any risks or anything. That’s not my style either. You kind of have to go through it, and when you start to feel that again, you remember how to get through it. And that’s not by being hesitant. If anything, you double down on your aggressiveness and your assertiveness. I can’t let that feeling take over because I think hesitating is the worst thing you can do. Hockey is such a fast sport, when you get the puck you can’t have a negative thought in your head. It has to be an assertive thought, a confident feeling. Easier to say that now in an interview in September, but that’s what I think our whole team — and myself — pick up from last year.”

To all you fence-sitters: We’ve still got our 2021 sale going on. Hit that subscribe button up top, click on the full-year subscription option, throw in the promo code 2021 and your price will drop from $29.99 to $20.21. You also get an ad-free version of the site. Sale won’t last too much longer.

Oh, and I’m starting to draw up some travel plans for coverage. This year’s Avs schedule is NOT good from a practical perspective for us media, because there are a lot of back-to-back games and a lot of big distances from one city to the next and nothing is all that well clustered together geographically. But, Colorado Hockey Now will still be on the road for as many games as we can financially and practically manage.

So, hey, will I stop any of you from giving to the Avs Travel Tip Jar? No, I, won’t. Thanks to you, this site has done MORE travel to Avs games the last two seasons than anybody. That included 50 straight days in Edmonton last summer, covering every single Avs playoff game in the bubble, when nobody else from Denver was there. (And only two other U.S. cities from the Western Conference – St. Louis and Minnesota – had working media there).

(My recap of the journey to Edmonton and what it was like there, is here).

I still get a thrill when I see this official NHL seating chart from that weird, dystopian playoff experience:

I’m still very, very proud of that, and many of you helped that happen with your Tip Jar donations. It makes a difference. As always, 5% of every dollar goes to the Thornton Food Bank. Otherwise, every cent goes to fund as much road coverage as possible.

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