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Colorado Gets Back To The Basics

The Avs reviewed their recent mistakes at practice

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

CENTENNIAL, Colo.--The Colorado Avalanche's practice on Monday was about getting back to the basics and eliminating the costly mistakes the team has made over the past few games.

Colorado's last ice session to work on stuff was on Wednesday, hours before the team boarded a flight to Chicago to play the Blackhawks the following day. That was the start of three contests in four days, including back-to-back afternoon outings over the weekend.

"We have been playing every other day, but it's nice to get back, get some practices, get some drills going," said defenseman Nikita Zadorov. "Get adjusted to the system and everything."

The day actually started in the video room, as head coach Jared Bednar had a meeting with the team and went over video clips highlighting some of the club's costly mistakes, many of which led to too many odd-man rushes--a common feature from Sunday afternoon's loss at the St. Louis Blues.

Bednar liked the response he saw from his team during the video and on-ice sessions.

"Practice was good. Guys were upbeat, working hard," Bednar said. "We had a good meeting, probably equally as important before practice. Went over a lot of things, and guys came on to the ice with the right mindset to try and get better and work through some of our issues on the ice. That's where it starts, we have to be consistent with that work and be diligent in what we do and have a real strong focus in practice and that will carry over for the games."

Video: Coach Jared Bednar reflects on the day's practice

Colorado's busy November continues on Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes, the start of a full week and the team's first homestand.

The Avs have already defeated the Coyotes once this season, winning 3-2 on Oct. 29 at Gila River Arena.

"We played well," said Cody McLeod, reflecting on the team's contest in the desert. "We played well in all three zones, and I think the biggest thing is that we want to have a good start and have a good first period and just keep building off that. We've had good third periods, but it's been the starts that have kind of killed us."

McLeod returned to the Avalanche's lineup on Sunday after being a healthy scratch for five games and is expected to stay there for Tuesday's contest.

Blake Comeau continues to deal with a groin injury, which has hampered him throughout the first few weeks of the season.

"He missed some time coming into training camp," Bednar said of Comeau. "He took some time off and came back and he was good, and now he's having some troubles with the other side."

Video: Cody McLeod talks about the day's practice

With McLeod more than capable of filling in after 10 strong years in the NHL, Bednar doesn't want to rush Comeau until he's fully ready.

"We need Blake playing the way he can play with energy and physicality and being a really good soldier for us, and right now he is having a tough time doing that 100 percent," Bednar said. "We may give him some time here to get himself healthy so he can comeback strong and help us win."

Goaltender Calvin Pickard will be in net for a third-straight game, as he'll make his fourth start of the season.

Pickard is coming off a 32-save shutout win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday and played the third period on Sunday in St. Louis, stopping all three shots he faced.

Bednar said the coaching staff hasn't decided on the netminder rotation between Pickard and Semyon Varlamov for the upcoming week, other than previously saying that both keepers would see action.

"We talked a lot about how we're going to handle our goalies," Bednar said. "We're a good portion into the season, and we're going to evaluate them day-by-day and make sure that we're picking the starts. If we have a hot goalie then we'll ride them and kind of move on from there on a week-to-week basis."

Tuesday's 7 p.m. MT contest marks the second of three meetings between the Avs and Coyotes this season. The game will be televised on Altitude 2 and broadcasted on the radio on FM 92.5 The Wolf.

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