The Colorado Avalanche finished its third day of training camp ahead of the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers, which begin Saturday, Aug. 1. Before the Avs play their first qualifier game on Aug. 2 against the St. Louis Blues, they will face the Minnesota Wild in an exhibition game on July 29 in Edmonton, Alberta.
A few players spoke with the media after practice.
Colorado Defenseman Nikita Zadorov
On Quarantine Experience: "First couple months were kind of hard because we weren't sure what to expect as far as coming back and everything. I have a family and, like everybody, wanted to get some vacation time as well. So when it was clear we weren't going to play until July or August, we decided to go to Florida for a couple of months. For me the hardest part was probably staying in shape. I usually spend my time being active, playing different sports and everything. But just sitting at home and eating a lot all the time, it was hard. The time passed and I'm back in shape and back practicing, so it's exciting."
On Mixing Lines, Having Depth: "Did he mix up the lines? I didn't realize (laughs). That's what we're looking for. If you look at the playoffs from a couple of years ago, we had some injuries and we had to call guys from the AHL to play against the best team in the NHL, so it was a little bit difficult. Now we have depth on our team. We showed that this year. I don't think we had many games with a fully healthy lineup this year and when guys were out, other guys were stepping up and playing good hockey, so I think that's a big part of our team, depth. When somebody is not playing well or somebody gets injured, other guys can step up and fill their role and play great for us. I think it's exciting."
Video: Avs d-man Nikita Zadorov after a Phase 3 practice
Colorado Left Wing Andre Burakovsky
On If He Prefers To Play With A Particular Center: "Not really, no. I don't (have a preference). I think I've been finding a lot of chemistry with both Naz and Nate during the season. I just want to be out there playing, and both of those guys are really good skill players who can make plays. For me it doesn't really matter (who I play alongside), I just want to be out there."
On Importance of Mixing Lines, Having Depth: "That's huge. We have so much depth in our lineup. To be able to win the Stanley Cup, you're going to need four lines that can play against any line. And I think we definitely have that. We have four lines that can defend and score at the same time. So I think we're looking pretty good and I think we just proved that when we went through a lot of injuries. Guys were stepping up and everyone could play with everyone. I think that's a huge upside for us going into the playoffs."
On Recapturing His Momentum: "I think when we won in Washington we had so much chemistry on and off the ice. Everyone was really helping each other, stepping up for each other, being there for each other off the ice. Everyone was super close. I feel like we have the same chemistry on this team. When I look back, I think we have more depth on this team, in Colorado, then we did when we won the Stanley Cup with Washington. But, like I said about having chemistry on and off the ice, that's a big key. If everyone comes together as one unit, that's going to take us a long way. We've seen teams that struggled with that (and didn't go) so far. That was one of the keys that we had (in Washington), that we all came together and worked for each other and had each others' back. I think we have that same feeling with this team and that's huge."
Video: Burakovsky on the team's chemistry after practice
Colorado Right Wing Joonas Donskoi
On If He's Bothered By Playing On The Third Line: "Not at all, I don't know why that would bother me. I think it's good that we have four good lines. We can all score goals and play offensively and play good hockey. So I actually really like our lines right now. I know Naz and Burky and Nichushkin were really good before this COVID happened, so I like our lines right now."
On Skating With MacKinnon And Makar: "It's always great when you have guys like that as your teammates, being able to see how they work every day. Mac, obviously, everybody knows his skill and how good he is and what he can do on the ice. But also Cale coming in this year and having his first almost full regular season, and how he stepped in and looked like he's played 100 games. He looks like a veteran. It's fun to watch those guys."
On Signing With The Avs Last Summer: "I'm happy with my decision. We played against the Avs last year in the playoffs when I was playing for the Sharks, so it was a familiar team for me and I thought it would be a good fit for my game style. I'm just extremely happy I was able to make the deal and come here and play with guys like Cale and MacKinnon and Mikko and Landy. Those guys can play good hockey. I'm happy with my decision and I'm extremely excited to get into the playoffs."
Video: Joonas Donskoi talks about the team after practice
Quotes transcribed by Colorado Avalanche's Zach Shapiro