The Colorado Avalanche are looking to bounce back after three straight losses. To do that, they’ll need everyone on top of their game.
And they’ll need Mikko Rantanen on the ice.
The star winger spoke to the media on Tuesday and discussed, at length, what happened at the end of the second period against the Kraken. His yelling at the refs put the team down two players heading into the third period.
It turns out, he thought he was getting both penalties.
“I actually thought I got a penalty there,” Rantanen said on the initial call that as going to Jack Johnson. “I was kind of whacking the ‘D’, so I thought I got the penalty. I didn’t even know Jack got (one). I found out in the room. So then I kind of felt bad. I was yelling at the ref basically for nothing.”
This isn’t the first time this season Rantanen has had to spend time in the box for a disagreement with the refs. It happened in back to back games in early January as well.
On Tuesday, Rantanen repeated a lot of what he said back in January when the same incidents were happening.
“I just got to try to focus more on my own game,” Rantanen said. “Even if you disagree with the officials, try to let it go because it doesn’t really help.”
After the game, head coach Jared Bednar said he considered benching Rantanen. Instead, he talked to him and didn’t feel it was necessary to have the star winger sit the rest of the game.
“It was on the bench,” Rantanen said of the talk. “And I totally understood it. Learn from it, for sure.”
The loss to the Kraken was the third straight for the Avalanche. The team is focused on turning it around, and knows they have to tighten up defensively. That starts tonight against the Sharks.
“Losing is not fun,” Rantanen said. “Especially the Dallas and New Jersey games, we didn’t defend very well. Last game, we had the lead and kind of blew it again. Now we have four games at home, with days in between, so we should be well rested.”
And now, it’s time for your regularly scheduled Avalanche injury updates.
Erik Johnson was on the ice before morning skate, and was moving around pretty well. A big surprise, considering everyone assumed his regular season was over. It still might be, but he’s recovering faster than they anticipated.
“His original timeline was 8-10 weeks,” Bednar said. “Obviously, you’re hoping for the eight week mark, maybe just shy of that if things go well. Seems like things are going real well for him.”
Bednar said he’d be surprised if he was back before the eight weeks, but in a good way. He’s currently about three weeks out from the original injury.
As for the rest of the injured guys, here’s a rundown…
- Darren Helm participated in morning skate for the first time since re-injuring himself. The team is “cautiously optimistic” he will return this year.
- Kurtis MacDermid is cleared and may play tonight.
- Francouz is at the three week point in his recovery, and they originally thought he would be back by now. He has not even started skating. “A slower moving process than what we would have liked,” Bednar said.
- The team is “hopeful” Josh Manson will be back before the end of the month to get games in leading up to the playoffs.
- As for Avalanche Captain Gabriel Landeskog? Another non-update. “He’s missed a long time,” Bednar said. “I don’t know. It’s a slow moving process for him so we’ve just got to take it day by day, and he continues to do the work to push to try to get back and help our team, but I don’t have a timeline on him.”
The Avalanche and Sharks face-off tonight at 7 PM MST.