The Avs hit the ice officially for the first time in the 2017-18 season yesterday, grinding through drills and ending both sessions with a grueling skate test. Conditioning and testing are the theme this year, Jared Bednar and the staff have made it perfectly clear that the Avs need to play fast and aggressive all the time to leave last year’s debacle behind.
- There were a few players absent on the ice yesterday: Joe Colborne, Mark Barberio, Julien Nantel, Sergei Boikov and Shawn St-Amant. Colin Wilson skated solo between sessions but didn’t partake in the drills/tests. Nantel was injured early in the Prospect Showcase last Saturday and hasn’t been seen since. St-Amant left the final Showcase game clutching his wrist/hand after blocking a shot, that’s troubling. Coach Bednar said in his presser that Wilson and Barberio were perhaps close to returning (or starting I guess). No idea what’s up with Boikov, as far as I remember he played the whole game in San Jose Tuesday. Colborne wasn’t mentioned. Tyson Jost left practice with what’s speculated to be a groin injury, perhaps something nagging from earlier in the week. Tyson Barrie left practice briefly for something UBI-related but returned. J-C Beaudin was back on the ice after missing the showcase with suspected LBI.
- Jared Bednar once again gave a big chunk of time to the media yesterday, this time clocking in at close to 14 minutes. Best thing for me was some praise for Nic Meloche and a hint that there’s room to move upward in camp for the 1st year pro. He also said that the B/W, like last year will feature the youngsters and not many vets. Altitude 950 and Marc Moser will have the call tomorrow morning at 10am MT.
- Matt Duchene once again declined to speak publicly, dressing out of view of the media after a solid showing in practice. This is a no-win for Dutch, whether he talks or not the scrutiny will still be there so there’s little point in answering questions that really don’t have answers at this point. Trying to provide the least amount of distraction from what the team is doing right now is the best course of action while we all wait for something to happen.
- Nikita Zadorov signed a 2-year $4.3M (total) extension yesterday in what will be looked back on as a bizarre and unnecessary 2-day holdout. Regardless, it’s good to have the big fellow signed and either on the ice or close to it today. He sounds happy to have that behind him, here he is chatting with Marc Moser on Alt950 yesterday:
- If you have some time to kill, Alt950 also spoke with Peter McNab, Varly (who has completely changed his media personality so far this year), Comeau and Andrighetto. The Avs site has interviews with Mack, Bernier (very good) and Comeau again.
- Camp continues this morning at 8:45 local time. Some things to watch for are possible returns for any of those that couldn’t participate yesterday and who is playing with who. We got a look at some lines yesterday, here’s a sample of who played with who:
Sven – Mack – Mikko
Landy – Jost – Grimaldi
Kerfoot – Dutch – Yak
Greer – JTC – Aggz
Nieto – Big Carl – Comeau
D pairs were fluid but Duncan and Barrie were together a bunch as well as Mironov and Lindholm in perhaps a preview of the Avs 3rd pair to begin the season.
Good to see the top line from the end of the season stuck right back together. Everyone raved about the Duchene line with Kerfoot and Yakupov. Seeing Soderberg centering Comeau and Nieto together could be a preview of an opening night bottom 6 trio.
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That’s all for now. This is the final practice in training camp, which closes out with B/W tomorrow. Pre-season action begins on Tuesday at the Pepsi Center with the Avs debut against Vegas.