Tuesday’s Colorado Avalanche practice was meant to send a message to the players.
Head coach Patrick Roy was not going to accept anything less than the team’s best effort the day before the club plays the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Five-on-five drills were first on the agenda for the Avalanche, before setting up for a different kind of drill.
‘Mountains’ consist of sprinting back-and-forth from every line on the ice. The players skated in two groups: those wearing black jerseys and those wearing gray sweaters.
One group waited, while the other pushed their legs back and forth down the ice and eventually over the finish line. Every player went twice, but those who did not make it under the set time—46 seconds for the first and 48 seconds for the next—were required to run a third round.
The Avs sprawled behind the net from exhaustion after the drill was completed, and Roy ended practice when he left the ice.
The head coach’s point was received.
“It’s just a message [that] we’ve got to be ready more and bring that to the game. So it was good,” Marc-Andre Cliché said after the skate.
For two of the newest additions to the roster, the first practice wearing an Avalanche jersey this year was not an easy one.
“It was great. Real tough practice,” said Joey Hishon, who was recalled from Lake Erie on Monday. “I had a tough skate there at the end, but that’s what its all about. You’ve got to work hard every single day, earn your place in this dressing room and that’s just what I’m trying to do.”
Jordan Caron, acquired in a trade with Boston before Monday’s trade deadline, had been in Colorado for less than 24 hours before hitting the mile-high altitude at full force. Still, he finished the practice on a strong note.
The 5-on-5 drills offered fans new potential line pairings for Colorado’s game on Wednesday night.
During practice, Caron was seen skating next to center Matt Duchene and right wing Jarome Iginla.
“It’s fun,” said Caron. “Playing with offensive players like this, it’s good for the confidence. We’ll see what’s going to happen tomorrow, but I think that would be a good line to play with.”
Hishon was posted on a line with Cody McLeod while Marc-Andre Cliché and Daniel Briere rotated in at wing.
“It’s great, I mean all those guys have experience in the NHL,” said Hishon. “To get this opportunity is big for me, and I have to make the most of it.”
Nathan MacKinnon also returned to his regular position alongside Ryan O’Reilly and captain Gabriel Landeskog.
Whether these line parings remain for Wednesday’s game against the Penguins remains to be seen, according to Roy.
“We haven’t made any decisions yet,” said Roy. “We’ll see tomorrow after the morning skate.”