The Colorado Avalanche scrimmaged again in practice on Thursday with Team White taking a victory. The Avs are preparing to play an exhibition game against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday and their first round-robin matchup of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers on Aug. 2 against the St. Louis Blues.
Head coach Jared Bednar and Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog spoke to media after practice.
Colorado Head Coach Jared Bednar
On Goaltending Situation: "Well, I think that's a good problem to have, you know? We talked a lot about the depth of our team and how it can be a strength for us moving into the playoffs. I see the goaltending situation the exact same. We have a lot of confidence and both guys have played real well for us throughout the course of the regular season. You know, with some of the injuries to [Philipp] Grubauer, [Pavel] Francouz got more playing time than maybe what was originally scheduled for him and he made the most of his opportunities and to be honest with you, we feel like we've got two real good options here. After a big break, for me and our staff, it's going to be trying to watch these guys and make the best decision for our team that gives us the best chance to win on any given night. We're going to need both of them, we know that, and we still don't know the schedule and how the games are going to lie so, good options and good problems to have for our group."
On Cale Makar Skating: "Having Cale back on the ice, I think is a good, positive sign, you know. He's back out there working out on his own and hopefully he's able to join the group here quickly and be ready to go for when we get into Edmonton."
On Team Chemistry: "I would say that the chemistry of your team and the ability of your team to kind of pull together and stick together and play the right way and do the right things on a consistent basis, you know, being able to be hard on your teammates and on yourself and sort of raising expectations, that type of culture is hard to achieve. You know, people that are willing to give criticism within your group and also have everyone willing to accept criticism and the positives and negatives that go with the game of hockey, I think, when you kind of get that culture, then it's something that you desperately hold onto because that's the winning culture and it's something that we've been building towards here. We've got good leadership, we've got good young guys who are, they genuinely get along. Is it going to be a bigger test this year than any other year? I'm not certain. I know this though, you look at teams that have won and teams that we've been a part of as individuals and they always have that 'it factor' and that's a real good culture and work ethic and stick-to-itiveness and they're always a group that sticks together and enjoys one another, so I think that, you know, this year is going to be very similar. I think it's an important factor."
Colorado Left Wing Gabriel Landeskog
On Leadership in the Bubble: "Yeah, I mean I'm sure it's going to be a little trickier than usual just knowing that, you know there's questions that pop up every day and for the most part you're the guy to answer those and in a situation like this, you don't really have all of the answers because we don't know what to expect, right? But, I've been telling everybody the same thing is nobody knows what to expect, we're just going to have to go there and we can't expect everything to be perfect, we can't expect, you know, we're going to know exactly how the procedure works from, whether its meals or just everyday life activities off the ice, whatever it might be, we can't expect to know that in the first few weeks so we're going to have to go in there and make the most of it like I've always said. You know, guys have thrown around a bunch of ideas of things to bring and things to keep us busy, you know, and we're going to have to do some things obviously at the rink, but we'll have to explore what we can do as far as like teambuilding type stuff and make sure we get our team chemistry where it needs to be for the playoffs. We'll have to figure that out but knowing us and knowing our group and knowing the boys in there, you know, our group is awesome. We love hanging out with one another and this just feels like just a big, long minor hockey tournament where you're kind of hanging out with the boys all of the time and I guess the only difference would be that we're not going to be playing mini-sticks in the hallway, I guess. But other than that, it should be a fun experience, a cool experience, obviously we're going there to take care of business but yeah we'll have to adapt as fast as we can and just accept it for what it is. I think if you go there and you're frustrated that things aren't like they normally are at a road trip then you are going to be, you're going to have a tough time adjusting but if you go in with an open mind and just kind of make the best of the situation then I think you're going to be fine."
On Adapting to Injuries in the Regular Season: "Well, I think that's what good teams do and that's what, you know, obviously, our lineup looks different now than it's done in the past. Obviously, we have a lot of depth and you know, some good-looking moves in the last couple of years that have brought us a lot of success, especially this year. Look at Donskoi, look at Burakovsky, look at Kadri, Nichushkin, these are all guys who stepped in a helped us right off the bat. So then, obviously that helps when guys go down that you have that extra fire power and you know that you're a confident group no matter who goes down. I think it's allowed us to feel even more confident, you know. We haven't accomplished anything yet, that needs to be said, but at the same time there's no reason for us not to feel confident going into this thing and knowing that we have, you know, 20-plus guys that are out here and can really contribute."
On Making Progress as a Team: "Well, I still think it's a little early to tell but I do like the compete level, I like the way that we're, you know the second half of the scrimmage today got a lot better than the first, you know. I like it a lot, what I've been seeing from most of the guys, you know? Everybody's engaged, everybody's ready to go, it's not that rusty training camp look, you know start of the season that you sometimes see. It's everybody's excited, everybody realizes that we have to kind of get up as fast as we can, and guys are excited. We still have kinks we have to work out, we still have a lot of details that we have to really break down and make sure we're sharp on because once it comes to playoffs, you need your systems to be real tight. And that's something that we can still improve on and knowing that we still have a few more practices before the exhibition game and even practices through the round robin that we'll need to tighten up all of these details."
Quotes Transcribed by Colorado Avalanche's Kate Reed