Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson was asked if there were any communication issues that needed to be worked out between the Avalanche's blueliners and Russian goalie Semyon Varlamov – who was brought in via a trade in the off-season.
The Avs don't have any other Russians on the roster, which was a big change for Varlamov – who had a couple of countrymen with him on the Washington Capitals. Still, Johnson said the communication on and off the ice is better than you might expect.
"When he first got here, I asked him if it was going to be tough for him not having any Russian guys around anymore, but he said he liked it because he could work on his English and not just speak Russian all the time," Johnson said. "I thought that was a pretty good answer. He just wants to learn and talk to his teammates and get acclimated with what we want him to do. It's worked well so far and the communication from (defensemen) to the goaltender has been pretty seamless. He understands the basic stuff we're saying to him."
I don't know the room very well yet. I don't know how we're going to react in certain situations. We've had a couple of minor tests throughout the [preseason] ... We'll get to know each other as the year goes on. We'll figure it out.
— Oilers coach Todd McLellan on starting the 2015-16 season without a captain
TONIGHT ON NHL NETWORK
5:00 ET: NHL Live Powered by Constellation 7:00 ET: NHL Tonight 2015-16 Faceoff Edition 10:30 ET: NHL Tonight 2015-16 Faceoff Edition