The Colorado Avalanche played its second scrimmage of Phase 3 at practice on Sunday morning. The Avs are preparing to head to Edmonton, Alberta, to play the Minnesota Wild in an exhibition game on July 29 and begin the Stanley Cup Qualifier on Aug. 2.
Forwards Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Tyson Jost spoke to media following practice.
Colorado Center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
On Having Four Solid Lines: "I mean that's the key. I think if you look at the previous winners of the Stanley Cup Final, there's nobody that won with a two-line team or a three-line team. Nowadays, hockey in 2020, you have to have four lines to be able to keep the momentum, to create or to be able to play a good checking line, so it's vital. You won't go far if you don't have four lines that have momentum."
On Playing With Matt Calvert And Matt Nieto : "I mean, the only way that we are allowed to be that competitive is because we are pretty consistent with each other. We understand the way each other plays, and we kind of try to get one step ahead of the game by understanding the other guys' play. It's really simple when all three guys think the same way, and together now playing with Calvy (Matt Calvert) and Nietsy (Matt Nieto), I mean they are some of the most skilled guys I've played with on the fourth line. That's also changed the game for me this year because there is not a shift where those guys are going to be satisfied to just play a checking shift. Like, they are going to want to create, want to produce, try to create momentum. So that's maybe one of the biggest differences with some of the lines I've played with before is that we've been known to be just a solid checking line against the top line and be like, you know, physical and everything, but with Nietsy and Calvy I feel like we are creating more offense and people are expecting from us just because we are, there is a little bit more skills with those two guys for sure."
On The Competitiveness Of The 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs: "I could not agree less with the people saying that this year shouldn't be as worth it as the next one or the last one. It's going to be one of the most fair Stanley Cup Playoffs because you have had 12 weeks where every team had people that were hurt. We had people, like all over the league you saw people that were hurt that were supposedly out for the rest of the season, and now they're back, right? So, every team is going to have 99 percent of their roster ready to play. It's going to be a competitive situation. The level might, you know, take maybe a day or two in games to be able to get to the competitiveness of, if it does, you know, having 82 games in your legs and momentum and all of that, but this Stanley Cup Playoffs is going to be one of the toughest ever. Normally, you always expect at the end of the season some players on the other team that you are going to meet are going to be hurt. That's what it is. Those guys play a lot of minutes and, eventually, it's a sport with a lot of contact so some guys are going to get hurt. It's not the case right now, right? And now, every team is fully loaded. This Stanley Cup Playoffs, if there is anything to say about it it's that it's going to be tougher than before. And then you have the fact that you don't have any team that's had 82 games in hand that feels unbelievable because they had a great season. It was 12 weeks ago or 14 weeks ago, so like this is gone. Every team is going to have to from day one create their own momentum and that makes it a little bit more fair in the way that any team can have a chance to create their own momentum and then, out of nothing, can create like a winning team."
Video: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare after Day 6 of Avs Camp
Colorado Center Tyson Jost
On The Avs' Playoff Experience: "I think it's huge for our team. If you look up and down our lineup, there's guys who have been in different scenarios and guys who have a ton of experience now, so we have a very deep lineup and that's huge in the playoffs. You look at any team that's won it, they've all had that depth and that's something that the Avs have right now. We're excited, we're excited to go to Edmonton, and we know that we have a really good shot at this so that's exciting as a team, but we know that the work is going to have to come first. That's what we're doing here in training camp, and that's going to lead into Edmonton too."
On Playing Games In His Hometown: "I'll be about 15 minutes down the road from [my family], but I won't see them for two and a half months, so that's going to be really weird. It's kind of frustrating, I guess, just because I'd like to see them. You know, you don't get to spend too much time with them especially when you're here in Denver, and they're in Edmonton and stuff like that and I'm going to be just down the street from them and not be able to see them. So it's going to be kind of tough, but at the end of the day I'm there to win a Stanley Cup and that's what's my job and what's my goal. That comes first and they'll be cheering from afar, but I'm close I guess you could say."
On Cracking The Team's Top 12: "I'm approaching it as I always do, I mean any time I step on the ice I'm going to work as hard as I can and bring my A-game, and that's something that I've always done since I became pro, since I was in Bantam hockey as a little kid I go out there every day and I compete and that's what I want to do. Obviously, I want to be in the lineup, I want to be out there with the guys helping them win hockey games and win a Stanley Cup but I think it speaks to our depth. I'm just going out there every single practice and going to work hard and play the game. I know that I'm a skilled forward, I know that I have the jam or whatever to play in the lineup, but at the end of the day I want to win hockey games and I do want to be in the lineup, but whatever happens, happens. I'm just going to go out there and work as hard as I can every time."
On Becoming A Two-Way Forward: "It's not really a transition at all, honestly. That's what I've been doing my whole junior hockey career and in college too, I was always kind of that two-way forward. I played a ton of PK (penalty kill) and I love it, honestly. When I got the chance to play PK at the end of the year there, I was so excited, I did a really good job and I was happy with myself and how I performed on the PK. I know that's what I'm capable of, so it's fun to play on the PK, it's fun to shut down other teams' top power plays, and that's what you want to do. I was pumped when I got the opportunity, and I thought I made the most of it. It's fun to be out there, it's fun to stop other teams, so yeah, it's awesome. It wasn't really a transition just because I'm used to it. IIt was kind of just a little kick down the road there to college and that's something that I've done for a long time."
Video: Tyson Jost on after Sunday's practice at Phase 3 Camp
Quotes transcribed by Colorado Avalanche's Kate Reed