With a game tomorrow afternoon, the intensity wasn’t quite what it was the previous two days at training camp for the Colorado Avalanche. It turns out, that was all part of the plan, according to Jared Bednar.
That made the day relatively uneventful, but there’s always something to talk about at camp.
Without further ado, let’s get to the wrap for day three.
- Nathan MacKinnon was in Halifax last night getting his jersey retired, and in between sessions, we were told he might make it back in time to suit up for the second session. I didn’t believe it, but sure enough, for the final part of group two’s skate, MacKinnon came out, decked in a green jersey for probably the first and last time of his Avalanche career. He ended up skating between Dalton Smith and D.J. Busdeker. When he got on the ice, he gave both of those guys a tap on the shinpads. His first shift, right off a private jet, he wired a puck off the crossbar. He doesn’t need much practice. He spoke afterwards about the ceremony last night.
- “Very cool,” MacKinnon said. “Obviously, an honor. A city, a team that’s really close to my heart and it was a really cool night.”
- MacKinnon taking a jet back and still finding a way to get back on the ice shows just how dialed in he is.
- “We’ve come to expect that from him,” Bednar said of MacKinnon returning o skate. “He understands what he needs to do individually to get ready. He has that mindset that if I’m here, and his plane arrives on time and our team’s on the ice, that number one, he wants to be a part of it, and number two, he wants to show the rest of the group that sometimes you got to play banged up, hurt, tired, practice when you don’t feel like it…it’s good leadership.”
- Kurtis MacDermid has been playing wing only at training camp, and apparently, that’s been the plan all along. For the first time since he arrived in Denver, it does feel like he’s in a bit of a fight for a roster spot.
- “That’s where he’s gonna play,” Bednar said of MacDermid. “He’s gonna play forward for us. I thought he did a nice job for us in that regard last year. Little bit thinner on the forward side with guys signed, and we’ve got the six ‘D’ that we have right now, and we want to evaluation all the other guys. If we want him in the lineup, I’d like to have him playing in the forward position.”
- I think the Avalanche are a little deeper up front than on defense, so it was an interesting comment.
- Peter Holland was absent from skate due to the birth of a child, so congratulations to him and his family. Bednar said they expect him back tomorrow, and he will play in some preseason games.
- Bednar said they have the lineup set for the first preseason game, but wouldn’t tell us. I’d bet on Tomas Tatar being someone who plays. When asked how he’s feeling right now, he said “we’ll find out tomorrow!”
- Riley Tufte was playing center for the second day in a row between Valeri Nichushkin and Artturi Lehkonen, and it really does feel like the team wants to give him a long look. Nichushkin had a beautiful no-look, between the legs pass to Tufte for a goal in the second session that the crowd went wild for.
- I spoke to Joel Kiviranta after practice, and will have something up early in the morning tomorrow about all three of the former Dallas Stars players in camp for the Avalanche.
- Like I mentioned earlier, the intensity was down a little bit, but part of that is because the Avalanche have back-to-back games coming up here at home.
- Cale Makar is still scheduled to skate either tomorrow or Monday at the latest, according to Bednar.
- The Avalanche don’t want to use Andrew Cogliano at center if they can avoid it, so someone has a chance to win that fourth line center spot.
- Bednar is very happy with where Josh Manson is at right now with his recovery, and he handled the three toughest practices of the year just fine.
- “That’s a real positive sign,” Bednar said. “I’m expecting him to be, for sure by the start of the season, back up to speed and full go, because if he can do that (camp), then he can handle an NHL schedule.”
And that’s all for training camp. Practices will continue next week, but cuts will probably happen after the preseason game on Monday. Look for that piece on the Dallas guys tomorrow, and the preseason starts tomorrow afternoon at 1 PM. I’ll be there, and will have plenty afterwards for everyone to look forward to.