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Avalanche Gameday: Reactions to Eberle/Cogliano Hit, Players Ready For Game Seven

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It’s win or go home tonight for the Colorado Avalanche, as they play their first Game Seven since losing in the bubble to the Dallas Stars. Those same Stars are awaiting the winner of Sunday night’s matchup.

Before we get to the game itself, there was obviously a lot of talk around the locker room regarding the Jordan Eberle hit on Andrew Cogliano. On Saturday, it was announced that Cogliano is out indefinitely with a fractured neck. Jared Bednar confirmed this today, and said his season is over.

Some players didn’t want to say too much.

“Yeah, no comment,” Cale Makar said after skate. “It’s all subjective. I’m not going to comment on it too much because it’s over and done with now, and there’s really not much to say on the topic.”

Mikko Rantanen said a little bit more.

“I don’t think it was a good hit,” he said. “You know, if Cale gets a suspy (suspension), I don’t know. Guy fractures his neck. I don’t know. That’s all I got to say.”

Bednar commented on it briefly Saturday, but was not afraid to go into more detail on Sunday.

“I don’t like the hit,” Bednar said. “From five years old, you’re wearing stop signs on your back on every jersey. It’s numbers the whole way, and he doesn’t really ease off him. There’s more than one type of suspension hit, right? There’s the predatory hit, where the guy goes after someone from distance and hits him dirty or whatever. But there’s also, in my opinion anyway, and watching and coaching this game, if we’re going to protect the players, there’s also bad decisions. Sometimes they’re split-second, sometimes they take a little bit longer. His back’s turned. He might be thinking he’s going to turn, so he can hit him clean, but he doesn’t turn. It’s a bad decision.”

That’s as much as you’ll ever hear Bednar go off about the league, to be honest. He’s usually very mild mannered with everything. It’s clear the Avalanche organization is unhappy with how all of this has transpired, as they should be.

And now, onto the game tonight. It’s a big one. Obviously. It has been a long time since the Avalanche franchise has won a Game Seven, and some of the players in the locker room have lost a few, but this isn’t the same group.

“This is a different team, I think,” Rantanen said. “It’s just different years. Sometimes you win those, sometimes you don’t. With this team, it’s the first Game Seven for us, as of this team, so we just try to get the result we want. We’re not thinking about the past moments.”

Every player at every level gets nerves before a big game like this, but this is why you play the game. You live for moments like this. The Avalanche players are no different.

“I think, just excitement, exciting words, I guess,” Rantanen said of a Game Seven. “It’s a pretty simple recipe. Winner takes it all and we’re excited. Good last game, so we got to try to built the momentum and just repeat it.”

Other Tidbits

  • It was not confirmed by Bednar, but it appears Brad Hunt will step into the lineup at forward. Hunt was all smiles after practice, and said he’s played forward before. “It’s just another game. Go out and have fun, and help the team win,” he said.
  • The only decision that will need to be made is who replaces Cogliano on the third line. An easy guess would be Newhook as a center, but we won’t know until warmups.
  • Alexandar Georgiev will indeed start again in net.

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