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Avalanche Notebook: Toews ‘Not Wrong’ With Assessment Of Team; Makar May Return




After the 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews didn’t hold back, pointing out that they have guys in the locker room who think they might be playing well when they really aren’t. He also expressed frustration with some players straying from the system, and a lack of “self-awareness” in the locker room.

Before Thursday night’s matchup with the Ottawa Senators, Toews addressed his post-game comments, and his head coach didn’t seem to have much of a problem with what the defenseman said.

“I think that was a little frustration on Devon’s part, but he’s not wrong,” Bednar said. “We have to commit to the detail of our system, what’s required from the work ethic, competitive standpoint within that system. Some of our decision making is not where it needs to be, especially this time of year. Team’s are starting to tighten up and get better at what they’re doing, and we’ve sort of taken a step backwards over the last 10 games…we have to fix it.”

Toews didn’t really walk back any of his comments, and he didn’t need to. Everyone can see that the team is struggling and giving up some big chances to the opposition.

He went into more detail on Thursday morning on what the problems have been.

“It’s our structure. We’re a little bit off in our structure,” Toews said. “There’s a difference between knowing and doing. I think we’re trying to find that balance of making sure we know, and then also putting that plan to action as well. I think that’s kind of the disconnect is understanding if guys do know, or if they’re still trying to figure it out. Or if they know, and they’re just not doing so.”

“We’re trying to figure that out, and we’re a group in here. We take care of each other and we care about each other, so we keep moving tonight’s a new challenge.”

This core group of Avalanche players are very honest when they assess their game, and perhaps that honesty hasn’t hit everyone. It sure sounds like everything Toews said publicly has already been said privately.

“We’re addressing everything in here. We’re an open book in here,” he said. “We care about each other, we’re a family, and we’re just trying to get better and put our best product forward. It’s pretty obvious we haven’t done that this year. We know we haven’t, and that’s the exciting part. We’re third in the Central right now, and we haven’t even played our best hockey yet.”

The Avalanche might be getting some reinforcements on Thursday night. Cale Makar, who has sat out the last three games due to a lower-body injury, was back on the ice in his usual blue powerplay jersey with the top unit.

Makar wasn’t available to speak after practice, and when asked if he’ll play against the Senators, Bednar just said, “we’ll see.”

For what it’s worth, Caleb Jones spent a lot of morning skate as a forward, so that would indicate to me that Makar is likely going to play, but we’ll find out during warmups.

Sam Girard was back on the ice, providing a potential emotional boost to the squad, but he won’t be in the lineup until he says he’s ready to go.

Other Lineup News

  • Alexandar Georgiev will start in net for the Avalanche
  • Both Nathan MacKinnon and Ross Colton were absent from morning skate, but we were told they missed due to “maintenance” and will play. MacKinnon is currently on a 16 game point streak, and can tie William Nylander for the longest streak in the NHL this year with a point tonight.

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