It was a bit of a tense locker room for the Colorado Avalanche, on the morning of a big game against the Dallas Stars. After dropping the game Wednesday night to the Wild, they know this is a huge matchup on Saturday night. If they lose, their chances of winning the division drop significantly.
Head coach Jared Bednar knows what he wants to see from his team.
“I want our team to be emotionally invested in the game right away,” Bednar said. “We kind of waded into that one (Wild game) I thought, or some of our group did, and then eventually when we got to our game, I liked it a lot. Playing top teams in the league, it’s got to be a full 60, and it’s got to be everybody.”
On Friday afternoon, the Avalanche called up Ben Meyers from the Colorado Eagles. I had a good chat with him in the locker room after morning skate about his season.
And then five minutes later, he was gone.
At the start of his press conference, Bednar announced Meyers had been sent back down to the Eagles. A short trip for the 24 year old. The reason for his call up was a bit ominous.
“Emergency,” Bednar said. “Just in case.”
There was a potential emergency, but no longer is, so read into that what you want. The Avalanche had passengers on Wednesday night, according to Bednar, but it doesn’t seem like there was a plan to take any of them out. They’ll need everyone going on Saturday night.
There was some very good news at skate, though. Pavel Francouz joined the team for the first time since his injury in early February. He took some shots for 10 minutes, and then left for the locker room.
“Another positive sign,” Bednar said. “Last couple of days on the ice, he’s felt better and better every day, so he wanted to come out today and try to see some action with the group. He’ll go back on his own again and then hopefully keep joining the group.”
Before skate, Gabriel Landeskog, Josh Manson, and Artturi Lehkonen also skated. Lehkonen had been skating without a stick, but he was using one today. When he walked by in the locker room, he no longer had a brace on his hand, so recovery seems to be going well there.
The Avalanche and Stars face-off tonight at Ball Arena. The game starts at 7 PM MST.