The Colorado Avalanche lost its first-round series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Nashville Predators 4-2 after falling 5-0 in Game 6.
Here is what Avs head coach Jared Bednar had to say afterward about the series as Colorado's 95 point season.
On the 2017-18 Colorado Avalanche team: "I'm proud of this team. What they accomplished, how hard they worked all year, how coachable they were. It's a great group, it's a fun group to coach. That's what I'll take out of it. I thought they were respectful, responsive, hard-working group, real close-knit group from day one, really. Great leadership. It was a good season, it was a fun season, it was a lot of fun, especially for a lot of our guys that went through probably their worst season, myself included, last year. To respond and have a season like this. It was fun and it was a good time."
On what fell short in Game 6: "We looked like we ran out of gas a little bit. I didn't mind, to be honest with you, the energy at the start of the game. We were out and on the forecheck but we made a couple mistakes in the D-zone and it ended up in our net. We kind of started reeling from there and as the game goes on you see it start slipping away. The work that you put into it gets to your head, it's a mental thing and you try to push through for pride and being respectful to the fans and everything, but the game has got to be played with a certain level of emotion and it just wasn't there for us tonight. It is what it is, that's sports. You got to grind through some losses every once in a while and this was a tough one, but it doesn't take away from the way I feel about our team and the season that we had."
On what improvements should be made: "I don't really want to get into too much of that analyzing our team. That's one of the top teams in the league, they proved it, they proved it through the course of the regular season. I thought we played real well in Game 1, real well in Game 2, made some mistakes that cost us. Game 3 we were fantastic, Game 4 from the start wasn't very good but we finished strong. Game 5 was a fun game and tonight it just wasn't there for us. We have to take another step and it's easier to say than it is to do. You look a lot of the teams, I don't know how many new teams are in it that weren't in it last year. It's a lot of work. Guys will use this summer to get prepared and get mentally prepared to go through it again, as will the coaching staff. You hope you can make some improvements in a bunch of areas even if their incremental and it takes you and moves you forward. The experience for some of our young guys I think is something that can't be overlooked but we also have to make sure as a team, there was a lot of hard work and commitment to get to where we were and we'll have to do it again next year and do it even better."
On the of experience getting into the playoffs: "I think it's really important. At the end of the day we played three elimination games and it was playoffs coming down the stretch. We look at it and we played I don't how many days, 11, 12 days extra, but we were also one of, with Philly losing before us, I think there was 11 teams left when the puck hit the ice so it's something to be proud of for this team. Every game they'll be able to look back and draw back on the series, the game against St. Louis, different guys stepping up at different times to help propel us to victory and try to get us to where we wanted to go. And they'll also remember the heartbreak from tonight and those kinds of things they tend to drive you in the future."
On what he learned while coaching this year: "A lot. You try to learn all year long and listen to your team and still make sure you have a heavy hand if you need it and be as fair and honest as you can be with these guys and you get to know your group. I think one of the biggest things for me was getting to know these guys last year and sort of moving our relationships forward and learning how to handle them. I thought our coaches did a real good job with that and treated them in a mature fashion and with respect and they showed that back. They were a coachable group and they worked hard on a daily basis. That's the first step. The culture that we built over the last two years here, we started last year and it was really good this year. They were a tight-knit group and that's when you play for one another. That's the first step because you can't win without that."
On what he told the team after the game: "Basically what I just told you guys, that we are proud of them. We talked after the first period and we talked again after the second and I'll catch up with all of them in our exit interviews."
On if he ever doubted himself as an NHL coach: "I would say no. I've been through tough seasons before, both playing and coaching. Players will tell you the same thing. Although you may be frustrated and you may be down at times, you believe in the work that you put in and certainly I know there's lots to learn. With the job last year, and I also know that from talking with my peers and the people I've played and coached with in the past, you got to stick with it at times and sometimes you're not good enough and sometimes even when you are you still don't win. You got to stick with it and stick to the things you believe in and you make adjustments if you can find some to make that are going to help your team. I don't believe that we coached the team too much differently than we did last year. The changes we made in the offseason really helped us and the commitment and the buy-in from the players and the leadership and the elevation of their games for all of our guys this year made all the difference in the world."
On secondary scoring in addition to the top line: "It's important, it's important to find some secondary scoring and some of it will be from the growth of our kids and the maturity of those guys. Some of it I'm sure will be additions and anything we can find tactically or systematically to keep helping them along. But, we rely on those guys because that's our core and every team relies on their core, it's not just us. I think we had guys elevate their game outside of that core that gave us the secondary scoring when we needed it. You don't get 95 points on one line. They're a big part of it, there's no question, they have to be and that's why they are who they are. I think a lot of other guys deserve a lot of credit for the seasons that they had, our veteran players returning and some of our young guys too."
On it being playoffs or bust next season: "Well, everyone is going to say that, right? For us, that's the way we go into every season. I don't think last year was any different, this year. You always go in as a competitor wanting to get into the playoffs and get a seat in the dance and a chance to win the Cup. Next year, everyone will say, 'Well, that's it, you got to move it forward.' But, we know from history that a lot of work goes into that and there is a buy in and a commitment and a determination from everyone in the organization has to have it if you're going to move it forward. You look at, I'm not going to name teams, but there are a lot of teams that were in last year and aren't this year and went to conference finals last year and are out already. It's a competitive league. The teams below us will all be trying to get better and the teams above us will be trying to get better, so we have to do the same and find any advantage that we possibly can to help make that happen."
On who was playing through injury in the series: "Not at this time, but yeah, we got some of that. I don't think there is a team playing right now, advancing or out, that doesn't have players playing through injury. The prime example for me would be (Philadelphia's Sean) Couturier. He went out with an MCL injury the other day, he missed one game and comes back tonight and scores five points. I don't know whether he needs surgery or not, but normally that is a three-to-four week injury any way and he plays through it. We have guys playing through it. There are some other guys with nagging injuries, and that is just the nature of the game. That is why it is such a hard trophy to win because you got to get a little bit of luck, you got to stay healthy and you got to be able to play through some of that stuff without being 100 percent."
On the team getting the respect it deserved in the series: "I think we earned some. They earned the series win, but I think part of the process for our guys is knowing that we earned a little bit, and if you want to earn more then you have to find a way to win. That will be part of what we'll remember and drawback on for next year. I think our guys can hold their heads up with the season they had, and the playoff series they had against a real good team."