The Colorado Avalanche brought Ross Colton in this summer to be a disruptor in the bottom six.
After getting ejected from the game last night, Colton apologized to his head coach for taking the penalties he did and hurting the team. Jared Bednar’s response?
Don’t change anything.
“He wants me to play hard,” Colton said this afternoon after practice. “He wants me to play physical and kind of bring that sandpaper mentality. He wasn’t mad. He really liked our game, he’s liked our line these last couple games. Moving forward, he kind of wants us to play that same way of finishing checks, playing hard, being tough to play against.”
The 27 year old center felt bad about putting his team shorthanded for as long as he did, but his teammates helped bail him out just a little bit. During his extended penalty, Miles Wood scored a shorthanded goal for the Avalanche. Unfortunately, Colton was still getting undressed, so he didn’t see the goal happen.
He knew right away there was some good news, though. The fans kind of gave it away.
“I heard the place erupt,” he said.
As for the initial hit, Colton described it as “two guys going in for a battle.” He mentioned that he wished Luke Hughes had braced a little bit more for the hit, but also felt it looked worse than it actually was. As for the cross-checking?
“That was definitely a penalty, and not the way I want to play,” Colton added. “I picked my head up and see two guys kind of sprinting at me, and it was kind of just self defense.”
Last night, Bednar defended Colton in the postgame press conference, saying that he didn’t think his forward deserved a five minute major.
A little over 12 hours later, his tune hadn’t changed one bit, and he was happy the league decided that only a fine was necessary.
“(Colton) wasn’t feeling good about, but I have some different thoughts on it,” Bednar said with a smirk. “It was a reaction play. League saw it the same way. You got a guy turning and coming back at you with a stick high, you’re going to defend yourself, to some extent.”
Colton was concerned after the game that a suspension was possible. He said Chris MacFarland had a chat with George Parros, the head of NHL Player Safety, who wanted to sleep on it, but that they expected the result to be a fine. That’s exactly what ended up happening.
“I don’t have any prior history of being a good or playing dirty or anything like that,” Colton said. “It was kind of just unfortunate the way the events transpired. Just take the slap on the wrist and move forward with it.”
Other News and Notes
- Fredrik Olofsson was a full participant at practice, and is good to go for Thursday night’s matchup with the Seattle Kraken. Bednar mentioned that the recovery was shorter than they originally expected after how the forward was feeling right after the injury, so they’re happy to get their fourth line center back.
- With Olofsson healthy, the Avalanche sent Ondrej Pavel back to the Colorado Eagles. He’s expected to play for them tonight in Loveland. The Avalanche were happy with how he performed, so expect to see him again at some point this season.
- Valeri Nichushkin was absent from practice, but he had a very good excuse. He and his wife welcomed a baby girl into the world today. Both the wife and baby are doing well.
- There were new lines again at practice today, but with no Nichushkin, it’s hard to say what the team will run with on Thursday night. It did look like they’re planning on putting Artturi Lehkonen back with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen.