The team likely knew it was coming, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow.
After the optional skate on Thursday, Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar reflected on the impact Francouz had on the franchise over the last few years. Here’s everything he had to say.
“We never (would have) won without him. That’s the way I look at it. Everyone has an important role to play. Great story for me, because we bring him over from Europe, he grinds with the Eagles for a couple years, earns a backup position with us. Played really well for us over the course of a few years, the pinnacle being, even fighting through a lot of injuries and surgeries and what not, pinnacle being the playoffs in 2022, right? He goes 6-0 in the playoffs with a goalie injured. It’s an amazing story. He’s a champion with us, and we miss him. He came through the other day, and said hello to the guys. He’s been around a couple times during the year. You always hate to see players get injured and not be able to play with the enjoying your team, especially when they mean as much as Frankie did to us. He’s heading back to Czech, or he’s gone back to Czech now to spend the year, and I don’t know what the future holds for him. We miss him around here, and he was a big part of our championship run. That’s what he’ll be remembered for.”
Who could forget the Ball Arena crowd showering chanting “FRANKIE” on his way to a shutout over the Edmonton Oilers?
A "FRANKIE!" chant starts in Ball Arena and Francouz acknowledges the Avs faithful 💙 pic.twitter.com/NcBhjbrVNe
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) June 3, 2022
“Obviously, we had a great team, but he was a big part of that,” Bednar said of the playoff run. “It’s always scary when you have a starter and a backup and then your starter goes out, especially at the most important time of the year, and Frankie elevated his game to a whole new level during that time.”
It’s very possible Pavel Francouz has played his last game in an Avalanche uniform, but his impact on the Stanley Cup run won’t be forgotten.
Other News And Notes
- The Avalanche held an optional skate on Thursday. The plan was to have a full practice, but after discussing with his players, Bednar changed it to optional. Before they travel to Dallas on Friday, the team will have a full practice.
- Josh Manson was one of the skaters on the ice, but the team isn’t sure if he will travel just yet. The team called up defenseman Jack Ahcan to have an extra skater around just in case of injuries.
- Bednar did confirm that Artturi Lehkonen has a neck injury, but had no further update on his timeline.
- When asked about Ryan Johansen’s start to the season, Bednar said that he’s come as advertised, but that he has another level to get to with the team. Coach is happy with the current setup of the lines, but admitted that in a perfect world, he’d like to have him playing with a Lehkonen or a Valeri Nichushkin to create a heavier line.
- Tomas Tatar has three assists in his last two games, and looks to be slowly figuring things out in the new system. The coach has seen that as well.
- “Last couple of games I think have been really good,” Bednar said. “He showed flashes of it before that, but now it looks like he’s playing more instinctual and trusting his skillset and the speed of his game is picking up.”
- Cale Makar got an x-ray during the intermission on Wednesday night after taking a slash on the hand, but everything seems to be fine, according to Bednar.
- Caleb Jones has impressed the coaching staff in his short time with the Avalanche.
- “I think if he plays the way he did the last two games, he can be a full-time NHL player,” Bednar said. “I mean, he has been in the past. That’s why we brought him in, for that depth position and injuries are gonna happen. They’re happening now, you’re bound to get more. I don’t think he has to do anything more than he’s done over the last couple of games to be able to play here. Just staying consistent, and I think he’s been involved on the offensive side of it. He’s been a good defender and puck mover, limited his mistakes, and pretty responsible on both sides of it.”
- I’ve been talking to more players about the difference there is playing for an Eastern Conference team compared to a Western Conference team in terms of travel, and should have something on that soon. Jack Johnson called the difference “drastic.”