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Avalanche Skate: Francouz Ready, Team Managing Frustration



Newhook Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche held an optional skate on Wednesday afternoon before heading on a quick one game trip to Chicago.

Only a handful of skaters took the ice, with the players that have taken on heavy minutes taking a day off.

After practice, head coach Jared Bednar said he could sense frustration has set in with his team.

“We’re bringing it on ourselves,” he said. “We talked about managing that this morning and where we have to get too as a group. The players had a meeting in Edmonton, they had another one today. There are some things that we’re working too that we have to get better at.”

With several players slumping, Bednar said he didn’t believe they were losing confidence, but when you’re losing, everything is magnified.

“When you expect yourself to produce, and the team’s losing, and you’re not producing, it starts to wear on you a little bit,” he said. “All you can do is work through it. There’s no easy road out of it.”

Alexander Newhook, one of the players in an offensive slump, knows the team still has what it takes to turn things around.

“We remain a confident group and we know what we’re capable of,” Newhook said after taking part in the optional practice. “At the same time, looking at the standings a bit can definitely give us a bit of a reality check.”

Francouz Ready to Help

It has been almost one month exactly since Pavel Francouz started a game for the Colorado Avalanche.

He’s ready to get back out there and help.

“It’s been a tough two weeks for me,” Francouz said after practice. “I was bouncing back between a couple of things. Fortunately, everything went back in a good direction and I’m able to be back with the boys.”

Starter Alexandar Georgiev has started 13 straight games for the Avalanche, and could probably use a night off. When asked if Francouz is good enough to be back tomorrow, Bednar gave a straightforward answer.


Daily Nichushkin Update

It’s now time for your daily Valeri Nichushkin update with no real update.

Nichushkin took the ice before practice, but not in skates. Instead, he was in the flip flops he likes to walk onto the ice with. He worked on deflections with skills coach Shawn Allard briefly before leaving.

The only real issue at this point is putting on skates, which is kind of a big issue.

“He’s been working hard on his conditioning off-ice,” Bednar said. “He’s able to do everything, it’s just when he puts the boot, it’s giving him trouble. It could happen as early as tomorrow, it could be weeks. I don’t know.”

Nichushkin will not travel to Chicago with the team.

The Avalanche take on the Blackhawks tomorrow evening. The game starts at 6:30 PM MST.

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