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Petersen’s Impact on Avalanche Felt On Days Like Today



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Whether or not the Colorado Avalanche wanted to make a change on their coaching staff over the summer, they had to. So far, it’s worked out just fine.

Shawn Allard, who was a fantastic skills coach for the organization from 2018 to 2023, decided to leave the team one his contract expired, looking to spend more time with his family. The Avalanche replaced him on the coaching staff with Toby Petersen, although they aren’t exactly filling the same role.

Petersen, the former Colorado College standout, comes from a coaching background, having been an assistant under Jared Bednar in the AHL, while Allard focused more on the skills side. That doesn’t mean that one can’t do the other, but they do things a little differently.

You can see the value of Petersen on days like Saturday. The Avalanche made practice optional, with only eight skaters stepping on the ice ahead of Game Four. Petersen runs these types of practices, as all the other coaches stay off the ice. He sets up drills for the skaters and the goalies so that the players can get in whatever work they feel like they need to get in. With Petersen in charge of everything, Jared Bednar, Nolan Pratt, and Ray Bennett are free to focus on whatever they please, which is especially useful in the playoffs.

“On days like this, it really helps,” Bednar said on Saturday. “When you’re trying to dig into a team into great detail and it’s the same opponent over and over again and you want to do some individual meetings and Toby’s able to take the group out and work them through whatever they want and need or anything we think that they should work on, it is great because all the coaches can stay off the ice and keep digging in and meeting with players or talking with players, having conversations and just trying to make sure that we’re as prepared as we could possibly be for tomorrow.”

Allard was incredibly valuable to the Avalanche during his time in Colorado, particularly when it came to getting injured players up to speed after extended absences off the ice. Petersen does things a little differently, but he’s been just as important this year.

“He’s a huge addition to our coaching staff.”

Other News And Notes

  • Brenden Dillon, who received a nasty cut on his hand during the scrums at the buzzer after Game Three, appears to have avoided major injury. Rick Bowness declared him day-to-day, but I’d still be surprised to see him anytime soon. Brandon Duhaime, who had Dillon’s blood on his jersey, said he didn’t see what happened to cause the cut.
  • Gabriel Landeskog got in some work before the optional skate with the aforementioned Petersen, but I only caught the final two minutes of it, so I can’t really say much more than that.
  • With the Islanders winning Game Four of their series and avoiding a sweep, expect Game Five between the Avalanche and Jets to be a late start, probably 8:30 local time in Winnipeg, which would be 7:30 MST. That’s a tough one for me, as I got about three hours of sleep after Game Two before we had to head back to Fargo. Nothing against Patrick Roy, but I was selfishly rooting for the sweep…

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