News and notes from Colorado Avalanche practice.
The Colorado Avalanche had one final practice at Family Sports Center in Colorado on Monday before hitting the road for two weeks. The team has stops in Philadelphia, Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Washington and Winnipeg.
“This is a huge trip for us,” defenseman Tyson Barrie said. “It’s a chance for us to play some good road games and string some wins together and get back in this thing. It’s a chance for us to bond and get tighter as a team. We’re looking forward to it.
“I’ve never been out on one this long, so it will be fun.”
The Avs have only played two division games so far this season, which makes this trip—featuring six games against the Eastern Conference before facing the Central Division Winnipeg Jets—even more important in the quest for making up lost ground.
“No doubt, it’s an important road trip, but for us it’s a matter of finding that extra gear,” Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. “So far we feel like we’ve played some solid hockey, just haven’t been able to put it all together and get the two points.
“It’s a matter of being able to turn this thing around. Being on a seven-game road trip, [if] you start winning on the road that’s something that can bond and make a team gel together in a different way than at home.”
Colorado coach Patrick Roy said he knows the value of this trip, and wants to see his team continue to manage the game in an efficient and beneficial way.
“We understand it’s an important trip for us. We have to win some hockey games. In order to do that, we’re going to have to continue to play good defensively, but offensively I think we’re going to have to be more relentless. We’re going to have to anticipate more and be quick on pucks. Especially on rebounds around the net.
“We’ve been involved in eight one-goal games, and we’re 1-7. Obviously, we have to find something that will make the difference. I think our game management is one thing, without a doubt, but also how relentless we want to be on the ice, how we want to anticipate will also make a big difference.”
The Avs recalled Norwegian forward Andreas Martinsen on Sunday, as forwards John Mitchell (oblique) and Alex Tanguay (knee) are both currently out of the lineup due to injury. Martinsen has two points (one goal, one assist) through nine games played with the San Antonio Rampage.
“I was actually at home in my bed,” Martinsen said of when he received notice of his assignment to Colorado. “We had a game yesterday, so I was just preparing for that and I got the phone call. It kind of came out of nowhere. I was just really surprised and obviously happy. I told my girlfriend right away, and called my mom and my parents. They were super excited. Just a weird feeling.
“I’m just really excited to hopefully play tomorrow, and just take it game after game. I’m going to try and do my best and do what I can do to help the team, and hopefully we can get a lot of wins.”
Mitchell practiced with a regular, full-contact jersey and could potentially return during the roadie.
“With the injury of Tanguay, we needed a forward,” said Roy. “That’s why we called up Martinsen.”
The Avalanche also reassigned rear guard Nikita Zadorov to the AHL on Saturday.
“He’s only 20-years old. Two years ago, we sent Barrie back to the minors, and he came back and played outstanding for us,” Roy said of the decision. “We think that, for [Zadorov to] go and play and get some confidence and be consistent night after night and manage his game a little bit better, [it] will help his game.”
According to Roy, netminder Reto Berra will get his second consecutive start when he takes the ice in Philly.
Nine members of the Colorado Avalanche are currently participating in the Movember movement, a month-long initiative to raise money for men’s heath. Forwards Blake Comeau, Mikhail Grigorenko, Jarome Iginla, John Mitchell, Gabriel Landeskog and Cody McLeod, defensemen Nick Holden and Brandon Gormley and goaltender Reto Berra are all sporting or growing mustaches to raise awareness.
Fans looking to support the cause can donate to the team or to the individual players here.
Gabriel Landeskog—Nathan MacKinnon—Matt Duchene
John Mitchell—Carl Soderberg—Jarome Iginla
Cody McLeod—Mikhail Grigorenko—Dennis Everberg
Andreas Martinsen—Ben Street—Jack Skille
Erik Johnson—Francois Beauchemin
Nick Holden / Nate Guenin—Tyson Barrie
Brandon Gormley—Brad Stuart