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No Loss Of Chemistry

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Paul Stastny had waited all offseason to play with his linemates from the end of last year, David Jones and Jamie McGinn.

On Monday he was able to show his teammates and the fans in attendance at the Family Sports Center that the line he centers hasn’t missed a beat.

“I think we are ready to pick up where we left off,” Stastny said of his line, which was one of the more productive on the team at the end of last season.

The Avalanche acquired McGinn from San Jose at the trade deadline, and the trio seem to immediately click as they combined for 18 goals in the final 15 games. Stastny and McGinn led the team in scoring after March 1 with 13 points each while Jones was close behind with nine points.

Stastny’s line wasn’t able to score in a scrimmage that Colorado held to close out its second day of training camp – in fact no one was able to – but it was clear from the crisp passes that the line still has chemistry out on the ice.

“We read off each other well, and we play off each other real easily,” Stastny said. “It’s exciting to be together.”

The three forwards had participated in drills as a line on Sunday – the first day of training camp – but Monday saw the first official “game setting” of the season.

Usually scrimmages during past training camps have involved more “teams” and more players participating, but with the shortened preseason, Monday’s scrimmage saw two teams with 13 players on each side.

Stastny said the pace and the intensity of the scrimmage, which lasted less than an hour, was a little harder than what would typically occur in the regular season.

“I think here guys haven’t scrimmaged in a while so they are getting hungry and are just puck focused and are skating as hard as they can,” he said.

While there wasn’t a lot of banging of bodies on the ice, defenseman Erik Johnson said the scrimmage was good for guys to feel the physicality of the sport again.

“A lot of guys haven’t been hit in a while or haven’t dished out any hits,” Johnson said. “Just to feel like a hockey player again is exciting.”

The scrimmage itself wasn’t continuous as the coaches stopped play occasionally to go over certain things they saw in more detail.

One highlight of the scrimmage was that the coaches appeared to have awarded a breakaway opportunity to defenseman Ryan Wilson, who attempted to score on goaltender Semyon Varlamov while being chased by the other players on the ice.

Wilson wasn’t able to score on Varlamov, who along with fellow goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere stole the show.

Both goalies stopped every puck they saw in the session with Giguere probably making the prettiest one of the day, a glove save on a close wrist shot that drew applause from the crowd and stick taps from his teammates.

Prior the scrimmage, the team worked on some puck handling, transitioning and open ice drills on a neighboring rink.

Chuck Kobasew returned to the ice after being sick and missing the first practice of the season on Sunday. He replaced Patrick Bordeleau on a line with Cody McLeod and Mark Olver.

Bordeleau was moved to a line with David Van Der Gulik and Michael Sgarbossa.

With two days of camp now over, Colorado only has four more practices before they travel to Minnesota for their season opening game on Saturday.

But in the past two days, defenseman Matt Hunwick said the team has already got a lot of work done and are getting more in sync after every drill.

“I think we are happy where we are at right now,” Hunwick said. “We are looking forward to tomorrow.”

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