The Colorado Avalanche practiced for about twenty minutes on Friday after a tough loss to Chicago.
In the locker room, Mikko Rantanen spoke to reporters for an extended period of time, and gave good insight and thoughts about the team.
Rather than writing up a whole piece on something specific, I wanted to put it all out there as far as what he said because he gave good answers on a wide variety of topics. So here you go. At the end, you’ll see notes from the Avalanche practice.
Rantanen’s thoughts on the team:
It’s tough right now. We’re working hard but it’s not coming our way. Powerplay is one thing we have to find a way to get back more confidence. I feel like maybe we’re overworking some areas 5 on 5. The biggest thing for us is to kind of find a way to close out games. It’s more mental, I would say. Goal scoring, bearing down and capitalizing on our chances.
Rantanen on the mental part of it all:
I think we just have to forget the last eight games. Stop thinking about the last eight, nine games after Christmas and reset totally. It’s not easy when you lose, and we’re in a hunt. Every game from here on out is a big game for us. We need the points because other teams that we’re fighting with they’re going to win too. It’s a mental focus issue that we have. That’s why we haven’t played a full 60. It’s all individual, be ready for tomorrow.
Rantanen on the halfway mark of the season:
There’s time…but not too much time. You can’t keep waiting around. There’s a lot of games left so we know there’s time, but we’ve got to make the switch right now.
Rantanen on the powerplay:
It’s a confidence thing. I feel like we’re not confident right now when we go to the powerplay. Last night wasn’t good, but it’s also another thing. When you get a chance, you should try to bury the chance, and we haven’t been able too. I had a few really good looks last home game and I missed the net. It’s the little things like that, when on a good day, when you’re confident, you’re probably going to score or create something. Also, I think it’s a mental issue. We might be overthinking it. We’ve just got to simplify a little bit, maybe.
Rantanen on the disallowed goal:
I thought I got tripped. I wouldn’t just fall over the goalie if no one bumps into me, I think. I thought on the replay, I thought he pushed his stick under me and I fell, but Toronto made a different decision on that. It’s very frustrating obviously, and we finally get the goal, but two of the last three games we get disallowed due to challenges.
Rantanen on showing emotion with refs:
It’s probably better to just try to stay cool. It’s tough when you lose games, and those things happen when you disagree. It happens quick. I think the best way, from here on out, for myself and for us leaders and the whole team, is focus on what we can do. The less we talk to the refs, the more they’re going to give calls to us. Probably just have to focus on our game.
Rantanen on not having Landeskog around:
When you’re missing your captain, obviously it’s a big loss. On the ice, first of all and then off the ice too. He’s the biggest leader of the team, so when you miss him 40 plus games, I would be lying if I said it wouldn’t effect at all. It’s not an excuse. We have a lot of leaders, a lot of veteran guys so we have to figure it out on our own.
Rantanen on who is stepping up and talking without Landeskog around:
Obviously coaches are, but we as players, Cogliano and MacKinnon are the most vocal guys. I’ll try to chip in there, Cale and Toews chip in. We know what we have to do here, and we know our playoffs start tomorrow basically for the rest of the year.
- Gabriel Landeskog is not currently in Denver or around the team while he rehabs his injury, per Jared Bednar.
- Darren Helm aggravated his lower body injury and will miss “some time”.
- Both Alex Newhook and Cale Makar took maintenance days. Newhook was at the doctor after taking a shot off the face, but expects to play on Saturday night.
- All of Bowen Byram, Valeri Nichushkin, and Josh Manson skated before practice, but none are close to returning.