Morning skate is underway at Madison Square Garden. It is the first time the Avs have been on the ice since the final buzzer to conclude a nice 2-1 victory in New Jersey. After a solid day off in New York City, the boys are back at it, prepping for a big game and some potential revenge against the New York Rangers.
Players run through a variety of shooting exercises to warm up the muscles before working on passing and power-play/penalty-kill situations.
Storylines from the day are: the potential return of Alex Tanguay to the lineup, competing with the same solid intensity from Tuesday, facing the Rangers on their second game of a back-to-back set and who will be Colorado's starting netminder. Media availability will follow the skate.
The drive to the rink, although slow going due to the high volume of people everywhere, is never lacking any excitement. Ricky, the bus driver, is no rookie to navigating the myriad routes of the enormous city. In fact, he has been driving the Avalanche around the area since the team moved to Denver in 1995, and the relationship shows. There may be no better chauffeur for the team than him. The man can whip a 45-foot long vehicle around like it's a Volkswagen Beetle, weaving in and out of the seemingly chaotic traffic as though he's Neo from The Matrix.
His mouth is as quick as his driving and his hand on the horn is equally as efficient.
He is a wealth of knowledge and fact and humor, and Ricky isn't afraid to stop the bus so someone can take a picture of the Christmas tree set up at Rockefeller Center on the way to the rink, twice.
12:20 p.m. ET
The team is back at the hotel and devouring lunch before they head off for their pregame naps and rituals. Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy said that Alex Tanguay will suit up tonight against the Rangers and that Semyon Varlamov will get the start in net.
More news out of the press session is that there will be no Norwegian matchup between Andreas Martinsen and Mats Zuccarello as the former will be a healthy scratch.
Read more from the morning skate here.
7:44 p.m. ET
It's the first intermission at The Garden. The score is 0-0 and shots are 4-3.
The second group of players, coaches and staff arrived at the loading dock, courtesy of Ricky, at 5 p.m. After passing through security, everyone walked up the long, winding ramp to the rink level. They trekked up five floors, just as Led Zeppelin would have or even the elephants when the circus is in town. While it sounds like a long hike, it passes quickly. The warn concrete is no doubt full of outstanding stories, the way the stone streets of Rome would speak tales of treachery and triumph.
Unlike at Barclays Center, where the ice is actually below ground, the frozen pond at Madison Square Garden is located on the fifth or event level. There are four more stories from there, all for seating, including on the ninth level where the press box is located.
The building was renovated over the course of the last few years and the money put in has certainly paid off. It's luxurious and modern and still has an old-time feel to it. Also, the excellent rock-and-roll musical mix/mashup that plays during warmup is thundering loud at ice level.
As Carl Soderberg said this morning, "It's just a great building, a lot of history, and I think all the guys love to play here."
After the conclusion of the game, the team will meet the press, shower, pack up and hit the road to the airport. It's on to Minnesota.