The superstar also talked about playing without Valeri Nichushkin and Gabriel Landeskog, and managed to get a little jab in on his buddy Mikko Rantanen.
Andrew Cogliano discussed returning to the lineup, and Jared Bednar went over various things in the postgame press conference, including the stellar play of Lars Eller.
Jared Bednar on Valeri Nichushkin’s availability:
He is gone for personal reasons.
When asked if Nichushkin’s absence could be long-term:
I have no idea. He is not with the team at this point.
Bednar on the tough series so far:
They’re a good team. That’s why it’s been one of the most difficult ones we’ve had. I think, they’re a really good hockey team. They’re a deep hockey team and they work extremely hard. They’ve bought into their system and their game plan and they compete within that plan. So it makes it difficult. To me, they’re all difficult.
Bednar on Avalanche star players like MacKinnon:
He was the difference maker that we’ve come to expect. In big games, in must win games, in critical games, regular season or playoffs. Played with great speed, great competitiveness, physical, and then when he got the puck, he was really tough to check.
Bednar on Avalanche forward Lars Eller’s play:
I think Lars, as the intensity in these games goes up, and they become more and more important, I think you’re seeing more and more from Lars. I think he’s a guy that we can really trust on the defensive side of things. He’s a big, strong, heavy body that can play against other teams skill. He can win wall battles, all the things that we know that he was good at from his time, especially in Washington, he’s building that into his game here at the most important time.
Bednar on the team’s slow start:
I guess your opinion’s different than mine. I didn’t think we had a slow start. I thought we were competitive right from the drop of the puck tonight. They scored the first goal. That doesn’t, for me, mean that was a slow start. I didn’t feel like any player on our bench felt like we had a slow start. I like the way we’re shooting the puck in the first period. Some of the offensive zone time, really evenly played first period for me. We got better as the game went on, certainly. Had larger stretches where I liked our game more than the first, but I thought the first was a good period.
Bednar on the Byram/Makar pairing:
I think that pair makes a lot of sense. You know what I mean? When you look at, say Toews and Bo, and compare them side-by-side, they do a lot of the same things well. And both guys are highly competitive on the defending side of it, can play against top players, which is really important if you’re playing with Cale, that you can handle other teams top guys. They’re a pretty balanced lineup, but when you really evaluate those two guys as players and their ability to play in the offensive zone, their ability to help create offense with MacK and Compher’s line, you know, it makes a lot of sense to put them there. We’ve liked what we’ve seen so far.
Bednar on the Avalanche having the ability to play from behind after last season:
I think it helps a lot. I think we have a confidence in our team, kind of like I said about what kind of team we were at the start of the season, middle of the season doesn’t matter. You may pick up a lot of points as a team, but it really has no effect on the team that you’re at the end of the year. It’s the same as the game. I don’t care about the score five minutes into it, ten minutes into it, 59 minutes into it.I care about the score at the end of the game and that’s it. I think we have a belief that if we keep doing some of the things that we’re doing, we’re gonna have our success.