There was no update Tuesday on Avalanche center Nazem Kadri and his ability to play in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Kadri had surgery on his thumb after injuring it in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. Since then, he had been skating before the team, but without a stick.
He has not taken part in any team practices to this point, so that’s a bad sign that he’ll be available for Game 1. It would be tough to just throw him in there for a Cup Final game with no practice today with teammates. But, we’ll see.
Otherwise, the stage is set and it’s almost game time. Media Day was a veritable pageantry at Ball Arena, with catered donuts and food and “pods” to interview Avalanche players. Twenty players were available, along with coach Jared Bednar and general manager Joe Sakic. Bednar spoke about his team’s resilience and lessons learned from previous years.
“It’s the focus that we’ve had right from day one. I think going through what we went through the last couple of years has helped that resilience and mental toughness,” Bednar said. “I think it helps me as a couch to try to raise the bar and our players to buy in.”
Sakic is a spectator this time around and will watch from the top off Ball Arena instead skating alongside Avalanche teammates Patrick Roy, Ray Bourque and his other teammates from the 2001 Stanley Cup.
“I’m excited for the players. Having done that, there’s a lot of outside influences,” said Sakic, “There things going on that you gotta deal with, you get a lot of phone calls people want to coming in, get tickets and wish you luck. But I think as you get closer and once you hit gameday, now you’re just preparing and getting ready for the game.”
Today’s skate was optional and did not include Kadri or Andrew Cogliano. Other participants included Darcy Kuemper, Jack Johnson, Ryan Murray and a few more.
Notes and Observations:
- Media Day is about as crazy as it gets. People and cameras are everywhere and you’re bound to run into someone with a bold name.
- Players seem loose and relaxed while speaking to everyone. The focus is still “the job isn’t done yet.”
- Ball Arena has been completely transformed. Massive kudos to the staff, as it looks incredible. Not just for Media Day but with the signage, the auxiliary seats, the media workplace – it’s top notch.
- Denver parking is going to be a mess. I would suggest getting to Ball Arena as early as possible or taking public transportation. They’re even charging the media $40 to park so….bring your wallets.
- Bo Byram celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday and spoke about playing with Erik Johnson saying “he’s a great friend but also a great leader in the locker room.”
- The Colorado Avalanche are hosting a watch party at the Tivoli Quad across the street from Ball Arena. It is standing room only and I expect it to be packed. Ticket information here.