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Avalanche Practice: Kiviranta Skates, Taking Advantage Of Break




During the regular season, Jared Bednar mentioned multiple times that he didn’t like the way his Avalanche team played coming out of long breaks. His team might just be in the middle of a long break right now.

After finishing off the Winnipeg Jets in just five games, the Avalanche got back to work on Friday afternoon with a high-paced practice at Family Sports. They’re expected to skate again on Saturday, but plans may change depending on what happens between the Stars and Golden Knights tonight. If Vegas wins, that series is going seven games, which means Colorado might get a full week off. If Vegas loses, we know it’ll be the Stars, but we won’t know exactly when they’ll be starting. It sounds like there’s an outside chance it could be Sunday, but more likely to be Monday or even Tuesday.

For the sake of booking travel, I hope there’s a little buffer zone there.

Either way, Bednar is going to take these days to keep his team rolling, and he’s not going to take his foot off the gas. Friday’s practice ended with conditioning, almost like a training camp practice. Whatever it takes to keep everyone going.

“We’re going to work through this break and try to keep the intensity up when we’re on the ice,” Bednar said after practice. “Rest them on other days and try to get healthy with the rest of our lineup with some of the guys that are dinged up. We’ll take the rest right now, (but) making sure that we’re focused and working when we’re here at the rink.”

One of those guys dinged up is Joel Kiviranta, who missed the final two games of the Jets series. He’s been dealing with a lower-body injury that occurred in Game Three. He did skate on Friday before practice, but I would describe his skating as “ginger,” because he didn’t look super comfortable. Bednar did have an update on him after practice.

“Making progress, but nothing significant just yet,” he said.

Jonathan Drouin has not hit the ice yet, but is getting better. The big concern there seems to be regarding any potential infection around a skate cut. Zach Parise, who left Game Five for a little bit after taking a knee to the head, was a full participant, so there doesn’t seem to be any concern there.

Other News And Notes

  • Chris Wagner, Sam Malinski, and Jean-Luc Foudy are the three Black Aces that joined the Avalanche for the full team practice. Wagner was an extra on the fourth line, while Foudy was an extra on the third. That would seem to indicate those two are next in line if any more injuries were to occur or if they want to make a change. Malinski spent practice paired with Caleb Jones.
  • I’m always interested in little coaching moments on the bench, and during Game Five, I noticed Bednar come over and chat with Nikolai Kovalenko after he turned the puck over in the defensive zone. He chatted him up, and then gave him a pat on the shoulder. What was that conversation like? “The message is, he can’t do that, right?” Bednar said. Well, obviously, but what else?
    • “You give them the solution, what the solution is, and you tell them to look at the iPad and take a look at it. In that particular instance, he has time to check his shoulder and have strong awareness of what’s coming and nothing is coming…if he’s going to put it in the middle of the ice in the d-zone, it’s got to be executed. Otherwise, can’t do it. Then it was just making sure that he understands and get him ready to go again. I don’t want him dwelling on those mistakes, but those mistakes can be costly at this time of year.”
  • Kovalenko chatted with me for a while after practice. He’s a very chatty guy for not being an English-first speaker. I’ll have something from that up later tonight or early tomorrow. It’s been a crash course for him the last week, especially with instances like the one above.
  • Gabriel Landeskog was enjoying himself watching the rest of the team go through conditioning at the end of practice.
  • I really have no preference on who they face, but I do think a Stars/Avalanche series would be incredibly entertaining.

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