The Colorado Avalanche held its first practice in a week on Wednesday after getting in at a decent hour the previous night from the New York City area. The team's schedule has not allowed it to get any on-ice work in outside of games with the coaches also needing to balance in rest during a stretch that had the club playing four games in the previous six days.
Many of the players had a late breakfast down at the hotel's restaurant or at one of the many coffee shops in downtown Buffalo before taking the bus to KeyBank Center for practice.
12:15 p.m.: The first bus leaves the team hotel en route to the home arena of the Buffalo Sabres. The trip only takes seven minutes. The club's second bus, which took most of the team over to the rink, left 30 minutes later at 12:45 p.m.
1:30 p.m.: The Avalanche held a team meeting to go over some video and discuss what the squad has done well over its past few games and what it can do better.
"We're in a middle of three in four nights, obviously, so we didn't want to do too much resistant, especially 5-on-5, heavy lifting goes, but we did want to make sure that we touched on a few things," said head coach Jared Bednar on the plan for the day. "We hit some things in video, we touched on them again on the ice and then hit a couple extra things for our O-zone play tomorrow night."
While the players met, defenseman Erik Johnson skated on the ice with assistant coach Nolan Pratt. Johnson is battling back from a broken leg and joined the team in New Jersey on Monday to get some more intimate work in with the Avs' coaches and trainers during this week-long trip.
"It looks like his conditioning is pretty good, and now it is just a matter of him working through some of the pain and soreness that he has from the injury in order to keep ramping him up so he can get ready and play sometime in the near future," Bednar said of Johnson.
2:30 p.m.: Colorado begins its hour-long practice, with only Johnson and Matt Duchene not skating. Johnson worked with the trainers following his skate, while Duchene was given a maintenance day.
"He was a little sore after last night's game," Bednar said of Duchene. "Nothing that will keep him out of our lineup, but we felt with two games coming up on a back-to-back it would be better and he would benefit from a day off today."
4:00 p.m.: Following practice, many of the players hurried to catch the bus back to the hotel where they would have the remainder of the day to rest and get ready for the following night's game against the Sabres. The second bus left the hotel at 4:32 p.m. with the remaining staff and any straggling players.