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Avs' Season Underway

by Scott Ward / Colorado Avalanche

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The Avalanche’s 2013-14 season officially got underway Sunday with a spirited rookie camp session at South Suburban Family Sports Center.

Twenty-eight players from Colorado’s system were on the ice, including several first-year pros (Paul Carey, Andrew Agozzino and Markus Lauridsen) and all the members of the Avalanche’s 2012 draft class and five of the seven from this year’s draft.

Joey Hishon, the club’s first-round selection in 2010, didn’t practice because of a groin injury.

Sunday’s session lasted approximately 90 minutes and included lots of speed and physicality by the players on the ice, especially when battling for position. The players showcased their skills in fast-break shooting out of the zone, perimeter shooting, tipping in shots from the point and one-on-one battles into the offensive zone.

Five coaches from the Avalanche system led the practice, including Colorado assistants Tim Army and Andre Tourigny, Lake Erie head coach Dean Chynoweth and Lake Erie assistants Randy Ladouceur and Jean-Ian Filiatrault.

Filiatrault, the Monsters’ goalie coach, was on the ice with all five goalies for about 20 minutes before the practice, and for what it’s worth, goaltender Sami Aittokallio was the first player on the ice in the camp session.

“I am going to try and keep it simple and try to get better every day. I'm going to do the systems and work my hardest, and hopefully my skill can come out from that. I'm not going to try and do too much out here—just try to play my own game and not try to change too much.”

- Forward Nathan MacKinnon on his approach to his first NHL camp

“I've been in the spotlight for awhile now, and I think I have adjusted pretty well to it. Obviously, a guy like [Patrick Roy] has been very successful in the NHL and knows what it is like to be under the microscope, so I'm sure he will be able to help me along the way."

- Forward Nathan MacKinnon on dealing with expectations

“You only get to have one shot at a first impression, so everyone’s working their best out there to try and prove themselves and show all the new staff and all the returning [staff] what they have.”

- Defenseman Chris Bigras on creating good first impressions

“I mean, you've got Francois Allaire, [and] Jean Filiatrault who we are surrounding these guys with to learn from. They have plenty of experience in the business and wisdom and attention to them, so in terms of evolving their current development state I think it's a fun time for them and a great time for the organization.”

- Avalanche assistant general manager Craig Billington on the five goalies in camp

Rookie camp will continue Monday with another on-ice practice session scheduled for approximately 10 a.m. at Family Sports Center and then wrap up Tuesday with another 10 a.m. practice.

The Avalanche will begin its full training camp Sept. 11, with veterans reporting for medical and physical tests. Colorado’s full squad will be on the ice for three days, from Sept. 12 to 14, at Family Sports Center. Practices and scrimmages for the full camp will take place roughly from 9 a.m. to noon.

All rookie camp and full camp sessions are open to the public at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Avalanche will hold its annual Burgundy/White Game at noon Sunday, Sept. 15, at the Air Force Academy. The Avs begin their preseason schedule Sept. 18 against Anaheim at Pepsi Center.

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