The Colorado Avalanche returned to Denver late Tuesday following its loss to the Minnesota Wild and participated in mostly off-ice workouts on Wednesday at the club’s practice facility. The team starts a four-game homestand on Thursday with a contest against the Florida Panthers.
“We felt like we played a strong game, but this time of year that’s not what it’s about,” Gabriel Landeskog said regarding the Avs' 6-3 defeat to Minnesota. “It’s about getting the two points at the end of the night, and we didn’t do that. Important homestand coming up, no doubt.”
Only Andrew Bodnarchuk, Andreas Martinsen, Zach Redmond and goaltender Semyon Varlamov went through on-ice drills with assistant coaches Tim Army and Dave Farrish on Wednesday.
Head coach Patrick Roy is making sure that his focus, as well as that of his players, is on the next few games at Pepsi Center, but while still taking it one contest at a time.
“The homestand is going to be very important, but I think the best approach is taking it one game at a time, starting tomorrow night against the Panthers,” said Roy. “I mean it’s a good test for us. It’s a team that has been playing really well, and they made a lot of good trades. Certainly we are going to have to be sharp.”
After Monday’s trade deadline, one of the new faces in an Avalanche sweater is forward Mikkel Boedker. He made his Colorado debut on Tuesday against the Wild.
“I think when you put on the jersey, you kind of realize that a new journey starts for real. It was fun to put on a jersey like that,” Boedker said of joining his new team. “You grow up admiring [Joe] Sakic and [Peter] Forsberg and all the guys that were here. So it was a lot of fun to put on that jersey, and hopefully there are many more times to come.
“The transition has been easy. The guys in the room are really easy going and easy guys, so that part has been really easy. Obviously on the ice you got to find chemistry, and hopefully we found a little bit last game and can continue that into tomorrow.”
Boedker registered an assist on Tuesday and was on a line with Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon, a grouping that Roy said will remain intact for Thursday’s contest against Florida.
“Chemistry is a big part of what makes a good line combination,” the Colorado captain said. “But I felt like for being the first game together, I think we played pretty good and we gelled together. [Boedker] is a smart player and a player that has a lot of speed and offensive talent, no doubt, but we are looking to get better as we go along.”
Roy also noted that netminder Calvin Pickard will be between the pipes versus the Panthers.
“It’s a good opportunity for me tomorrow,” said the 23-year-old goaltender. “Every game is huge at this point and the only thing we are looking for is a win.
“It means a lot to have the confidence in your coaching staff and teammates, you know that’s everything for me and it makes me comfortable in the net. When I am called upon, I feel confident in there, and it goes a long way, for sure.”
The puck drops at 7 p.m.
AVS ANNOUNCED TO WORLD CUP ROSTERS
The first round of players selected to the 2016 World Cup of Hockey were announced on Wednesday, as the respective teams released their preliminary rosters.
The international tournament will take place from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, and all games will be played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Goaltender Varlamov was named to Team Russia, left wing Landeskog was selected to Team Sweden, left wing Boedker was announced to be on Team Europe and center MacKinnon was added to the North American under-23 team.
“Huge honor, very excited to hear that, no doubt,” said Landeskog of being named to Sweden's squad. “I am really excited to have the opportunity to represent my country and to play in such a tournament where all the best players are going to be. That is something I am looking forward to.”
Each squad named 16 players on Wednesday. The full 23-man rosters must be announced no later than June 1.