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Landeskog Enjoying Fatherhood During NHL Pause

Avalanche and the rest of the league has been on hiatus since March 12 due to the coronavirus

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

Like most of North America, Gabriel Landeskog is in self-quarantine with his family.

This is an unprecedented period for everyone around the world in midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the chance to be with his wife Melissa and infant daughter Linnea during this time of unknown is what Landeskog appreciates the most.

"We're just trying to enjoy everything as it comes," Landeskog said of spending some daddy-daughter time. "She is 5 months old, she's not mobile yet, she doesn't move. She is sort of getting to the stage where she can try to roll around and she can almost sit on her own… It's been fun being a full-time dad for a change."

While he has traded scoring goals and delivering body checks with changing diapers for the time being, the Colorado Avalanche captain's focus remains on getting back to the ice and finishing what he and his teammates have started this season.

The Avalanche is in second place in the Western Conference standings with a 42-20-8 record and 92 points, two fewer than the leading St. Louis Blues. However, Colorado has played one less game than its Central Division rival and has completed 70 of its 82 contests on its regular-season schedule.

"I like the way our group was playing," Landeskog said. "We were finding different ways to win hockey games, and I think we were 7-2-1 in our last 10, and we were just gearing up for a playoff run and then this happened."

Colorado last played on March 11 at Pepsi Center against the New York Rangers and won 3-2 in overtime. The NHL paused its season the following day due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 around the planet, and its players have been practicing self-quarantine and social distancing ever since.

The league allowed the players to leave their playing cities and travel to a place they might be more comfortable as everyone waits for the season to resume. The Landeskogs elected to go to Toronto, Ontario, where Melissa is from and her parents still reside.

"We left Denver fairly early as we weren't sure how travel restrictions were going to be affected, but we got here," Landeskog said. "Obviously with having my in-laws and things like that here, it was pretty easy to make the decision to come and hang out here."

Video: Central Division stars discuss NHL Pause

Landeskog gave an update on his and the team's status from the kitchen of his Toronto home on Tuesday afternoon during a league video conference call, which also included Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars, Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild and Blake Wheeler of the Winnipeg Jets. The talk of parenting and playing against each other dominated the conversation for Landeskog and his division foes--all of whom are wingers that often line up against one another during games.

"These are three guys you don't miss playing against, but at the same time you do because like [Wheeler] was saying, it's the competitive thing that we like doing and it sucks not being able to do it right now," said Landeskog.

Another topic was how each player was trying to stay in the best shape possible while most of the continent waits at home for the curve of the virus' infection rate to start lowering.

For Landeskog, he considers himself lucky that he has access to a workout facility. The family spends most of their offseason between Denver, his hometown of Stockholm, Sweden, and Toronto, and they installed a small home gym at their Canadian residence last year to aid in his summer training.

That investment is paying dividends right now for many reasons.

"Got a decent setup and at least I have the opportunity to do some stuff," Landeskog said. "For me, working out is keeping me from going crazy. I get real impatient around the house if I don't have anything to do, and if I can't burn some energy. So I've been doing some lighter stuff down there to just keep in shape, and I guess really get away from diaper duty and feeding Linnea two times a day."

As of Tuesday, the contagious coronavirus had affected more than 800,000 people worldwide and can be deadly. NHL players are not immune to the infection and there have been four reported cases affecting active players, with two being members of the Avalanche.

"From the conversations that I had with them, they've recovered well and they're doing well," Landeskog reported of his two teammates that tested positive for the virus. "In our household, we're doing good.

"I'm glad everybody's doing well, and hoping that everybody else in Denver and everybody is staying safe and healthy back there."

Right now for the Landeskog and rest of the Avalanche, the focus is to be smart and stay healthy by following local laws and guidelines to self-quarantine. Though returning to the ice remains a priority for the club.

The Avs aim to have a long summer as they compete for the franchise's third Stanley Cup.

"This has been probably the first time in nine years that I've been in Denver that we've felt really confident about the group that we have and actually feel like you have a shot at this thing," Landeskog said. "We're not just playing to make the playoffs, we were chasing down St. Louis and we're two points behind with a game in hand and we knew we had them coming up in Game 82, last game of the season."

That opportunity will hopefully come later in the spring, as the U.S., Canada and the World continue to combat this global pandemic. In the meantime, Landeskog will cherish these moments away from the game and continue to manage diapers.

"It's been a lot of fun," he said. "Obviously you definitely get an appreciation for what the wives and the girlfriends are going through when we're on the road and it's non-stop."

Other Highlights From The Video Conference Call…

On his game of choice while at home: "We've played some cards, and we've played Yahtzee quite a bit."

On what him and Melissa have been watching: "We just finished the Tiger King. The hype around the Tiger King was pretty impressive. So we figured we had to start watching that to stay in the loop, but we're open to suggestions for the most part [on what to watch next]."

On choosing teammates Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Nieto and Nikita Zadorov to NOT be stuck in quarantine with: "I'm not a big video game guy, and we have a handful of guys that just play Fortnite… I would like to have some conversations if I'm stuck with a guy in quarantine."

On which teammate he would want to be quarantined with: "Erik Johnson, one of my close buddies on the team. He has a pretty addictive personality… I wouldn't mind being stuck in quarantine with somebody starting a wine collection."

Message to Avalanche fans: "Hope everybody's staying healthy staying at home, doing you can and taking part in the social distancing and taking this seriously. If we do, hopefully we can limit the spread and stop the spread and get back on the ice. The one thing about doing what we do is usually when the world or country is going through a tough time or something happens, whether it's a natural catastrophe or whatever it might be, usually as athletes we have the ability to give people a break in their day and allow them to kind of get away from the real world for a couple of hours and cheer on their favorite team. And we don't have that anymore, and hopefully everybody can say stay positive and hopefully we can be back soon."

Landeskog also sported a missing tooth during the conference call, which he later revealed to Altitude Sports that it was caused from a collision in the last game with Nikita Zadorov and the Rangers' Brendan Lemieux: "I can't say the letter 'F.' Air just goes right through the hole."

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