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Avalanche Notebook: ‘Just Another Game’ For Colton, MacKinnon Questionable



Ross Colton NHL Trade Avalanche

Ross Colton knew his time in Tampa might be coming to an end when there were no talks about “next season” during his exit interview with the Lightning last Spring. A few months later, he was dealt to the Colorado Avalanche.

Tonight, he’ll face his old team for the first time.

He’s not looking at this game any differently than the other 81 on the schedule.

“Thankful for my time there,” Colton said. “Winning the Stanley Cup, have some great memories, some great friends that I’ll have forever, but it’s just another game and (I’m) looking forward to it.”

He wouldn’t mind showing them they made a mistake, though.

“I think anytime you’re playing against somebody that you used to be on, you want to show them what they’re missing out on,” Colton said. “Obviously, it’s a business. Things happen for a reason. I’m so happy to be a part of the Avalanche.”

Colton will be back on a line with O’Connor and Wood tonight, and since being put together, they’ve consistently been the best line for the Avalanche.

Bednar is really happy with what the 27 year old forward has brought to his team.

“I love his energy, his physicality. He’s a tenacious guy on the puck,” Bednar said. “He’s hard in battles, he’s got a good scoring touch…I think he has that ability to help contribute in a bunch of different areas, and part of it is the energy and juice that he brings, which we like.”

MacKinnon’s Status In Question

Nathan MacKinnon was not present at morning skate. My assumption was that he would be fine tonight, as he missed skate on Friday as a precaution before playing that evening.

That may not be the case this time.

Bednar said that MacKinnon is “under the weather” and didn’t know if he would be available to play tonight. If he can’t play, it’s obviously a massive hole on the top line for the Avalanche against a team that can definitely score goals. The Avalanche don’t exactly have a ton of scoring centers in the AHL, so the likely solution would be moving Mikko Rantanen down the middle, but we’ll see how things shake out during warmups.

Other News And Notes

  • I asked Jared Bednar if he feels like Josh Manson‘s game is starting to ramp up after missing most of last season and having off-season surgery.
    • “I think so. Slow start to the season, obviously still feeling the injury a little bit. Takes a little bit of time to get your timing back, but he’s much more involved now. He’s assertive, he’s involved offensively. On the defensive side of it, you’re seeing the physicality again. A lot like Drouin, it’s more than just a couple games. It’s probably a half dozen games or so where his game’s been on the rise.”
  • Alexandar Georgiev will be in net tonight, but he’ll have a slightly different look. No, he didn’t change his pads or anything like that. Instead, he chopped off his hair. A lot of it, at least. The flow that stuck out from underneath his helmet is no more.
  • All of the dad’s/mentors are in town for the Lightning, and they even walked on the ice during Tampa Bay’s morning skate.
  • Bednar had a lot of praise for Tampa Bay’s powerplay, and I’ll have more on that in the preview later today.

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