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2015 Avalanche Training Camp Opens

by ColoradoAvalanche.com - Official Site of the Colorado Avalanche / Colorado Avalanche

The Avs opened up training camp on Friday morning. Here is a look at the day's activities.




1:30 p.m.:
The third and final group on the ice at Family Sports Center for the first day of Colorado Avalanche Training Camp was Team Burgundy. This set of players included seasoned NHL veterans Tyson Barrie, Nick Holden, Andrej Meszaros, Alex Tanguay, Cody McLeod, Marc-Andre Cliche and Nathan MacKinnon. The group of seven defensemen, 12 forwards and two goaltenders were on the ice for approximately an hour and a half.

Following in a similar format of the previous two groups, Team Burgundy started practice with a focus on offense, specifically cross-ice line passing and rushing up the ice. Next, the squad zoned in on attacking and finished the workout with a small 3-on-3 scrimmage of sorts, where the players had an opportunity to showcase their skills while battling for the puck in close quarters.

Here are some of Team Burgundy's 3-on-3 line combinations:

Cody McLeod—Daniel Maggio—Marc-Andre Cliche
Nick Holden—Chris Bigras—Marc-Andre Cliche
Dennis Everberg—Conner Bleackley—Jack Skille
Borna Rendulic—Mat Clark—Gustav Olhaver
Alex Tanguay—Nathan MacKinnon—Mikhail Grigorenko

Goaltender Calvin Pickard saw much of the action on his half of the sheet during today’s drills and scrimmage, making various stops on quick and determined attempts from both veterans and rookies.

MacKinnon opened the session skating in quick fashion when he sped in and fired a quick wrister past Pickard’s left blocker during warm-ups. This instantly got an excited reaction from the crowd gathered in the stands and around the boards. MacKinnon’s sharp shooting skills shined on many occasions during today’s skate.

Jack Skille emerged as one of today’s star in group three, also arousing the crowd with a beautiful stop, turn and top-shelf goal during the 3-on-3 battles. Skille fought hard throughout practice, showcased explicitly during a puck battle with Chris Bigras along the boards in the scrimmage and a give-and-go tally by way of Conner Bleackley.

Defensemen Brandon Gormley, Dennis Everberg, Michael Schumacher and Bigras all stayed on the ice following group practice for extra work with goalies Spencer Martin and Pickard.

Gormley, a 2010 NHL draft pick of the Phoenix Coyotes, is attending his first training camp with Colorado after being acquired on Sept. 9 in exchange for Stefan Elliott. This marked the first time fans got a look at what the 23-year-old defenseman has to offer in an Avs’ sweater.

Borna Rendulic and Gustav Olhaver, whose 6-foot-6 stature makes him one of the tallest on the camp roster, also had strong showings during today’s third session.

Here are Team Burgundy’s line combinations:

Alex Tanguay— Mikhail Grigorenko—Nathan MacKinnon
Cody McLeod—Daniel Maggio—Marc-Andre Cliche
Dennis Everberg—Conner Bleackley—Jack Skille
Michael Schumacher—Gustav Olhaver—Daniel Maggio

Brandon Gormley—Tyson Barrie
Chris Bigras—Nick Holden
Andrej Meszaros—Mat Clark
Raphael Maheux

Calvin Pickard
Spencer Martin


11:30 a.m.:
The second group, Team Grey, just got off the ice at Family Sports Center. The group did the same drills as Team Blue, with a focus on the transition game and going to the front of the net.

Defenseman Erik Johnson looked sharp through the hour and 15 minute practice. The NHL vet was paired with Duncan Siemens during some of the drills.

Siemens, who made his NHL debut in the Avalanche's season finale last year, is one of 15 defensemen looking to crack Colorado's opening night roster. Head coach Patrick Roy has had eight D-men on the squad in his first two years at the helm, so expect the same amount of rear guards when the club starts the new season.

Blueliner Cody Corbett and forward Trevor Cheek also looked good, especially during the 15-minute, half-ice scrimmage at the end of practice. Corbett tallied two goals while Cheek had three assists during the informal game.

The group also featured 2015 No. 10 overall draft pick Mikko Rantanen, who is getting his first experience of an NHL camp after taking part in rookie camp earlier in the week. He was on a line with Gabriel Landeskog and newcomer Carl Soderberg. Landeskog and Soderberg might play with Nathan MacKinnon at the start of the year, according to offseason reports.

Landeskog and MacKinnon have played on the same line for much of the last two seasons, while Soderberg will likely be the new center of the trio after coming over in a trade from Boston.

"I felt pretty good," Soderberg said of his first day in the Avs' burgundy and blue colors. "It's a good group. I like the city, the team, the organization. My first practice, it was kind of hard but it is always like that on the first day of camp. I feel good about the season coming up."

After the first two sessions, the players appear to be gassed when coming off the ice. It seems like Roy and his coaching staff are not wasting any time making sure the team is ready to go when the season begins in less than three weeks.

"The intensity is high, but I think we are all prepared for that," Soderberg said. "I think that is what we have to do to get ready for the season."

Here are this Team Grey's line combinations:

Gabriel Landeskog – Carl Soderberg – Mikko Rantanen
John Mitchell – Joey Hishon – Patrick Bordeleau
Troy Bourke – Ben Street – JC Beaudin
Nick Magyar – Trevor Cheek – Garrett Meurs

Duncan Siemens – Erik Johnson
Brad Stuart – Nicolas Meloche
Cody Corbett – Zach Redmond
Justin Hamonic

Reto Berra
Roman Will



8:00 a.m.:
The first group of players took the ice on the first day of training camp at Family Sports Center. Among those participating in the early session for Team Blue were Semyon Varlamov, Nikita Zadorov, Francois Beauchemin, Nate Guenin, Matt Duchene, Jarome Iginla and Freddie Hamilton—all of which played a good amount of games in the NHL last season.

Jesse Winchester also practiced after missing all of the 2014-15 season due to post-concussion symptoms.

He said of the day's camp session: "It feels great. I've put last year behind me so it's good to get back in the swing of things. A lot of hard work out there and up-tempo, it's a great start."

Winchester said he felt better in pieces and that time was the big thing in his recovery. He practiced several times late last year with the club, but was unable to appear in any games because he still experienced symptoms when in large arenas.

Despite only appearing in one preseason game last year, Winchester appreciated the support from the organization.

"The team has been great. The guys have been great," Winchester said. "I haven't even played a regular-season game with them. It's hard to feel part of the group, but they've done a great job. They are standup guys, and it is a pleasure to be around them."

Here's the Team Blue's players and line combinations:

Andreas MartinsenMatt DucheneJarome Iginla
Andrew Agozzino
Jesse WinchesterBlake Comeau
Julien Nantel
Freddie HamiltonColin Smith
Alexis Pepin
Samuel Henley – Reid Petryk

Nikita ZadorovFrancois Beauchemin
Mason Geertsen
Nate Guenin
Sergei Boikov
Maxim Noreau
Gabriel Beaupre
– Hubert Labrie

Semyon Varlamov
Maximilian Pajpach


ColoradoAvalanche.com's Ron Knabenbauer and Samantha Poulos contributed to this story.

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