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The Official Site of the Colorado Avalanche

On The Road: Quebec City

by Ryan Boulding / Colorado Avalanche

9:15 am - The bus departs the team hotel for the Colisée Pepsi, home of the Quebec Remparts major junior club. Players taking part in the morning activities have already gathered in the lobby, eating a quick breakfast before leaving for the rink. Media begins arriving shortly thereafter, setting up in preparation of a press conference with Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy.

Both are important figures tied to the hockey world in Quebec City. Joe Sakic played for and captained the Quebec Nordiques before the team relocated to Denver in 1995. Roy was coach and general manager of the Remparts for 10 years before rejoining the Avalanche as head coach.

10:30 am - The conference begins. Both men answer questions in English and Roy also answers in French. Sakic is asked about his favorite memories from playing in Quebec City and he speaks fondly about the support the team had from the passionate fans. When questioned about the new arena being constructed next door and the possibility of an NHL team returning to town, Sakic talks about what he knows for sure.

“They’re going to make it a special place to go if you’re a fan,” said Sakic. "You’ve got some of the best hockey fans around, here... I can tell you that the fans here support hockey as well (as), if not more than, any other place in North America. It’s just an incredible place to be as a player."

12:00 pm - The bus departs the Colisée for the hotel. Players and staff attend a catered lunch and have time to relax or go explore the city. They have been told the specific departure time of the bus, so they know when to be back.

4:50 pm - It's that time again. Everyone descends on the lobby of the hotel, bags in hand, to board the bus and ride out to the arena. The pregame rituals begin anew upon arrival and there is a considerable media presence already on site. Players conduct a series of interviews with local networks prior to the start of warmups. The first is veteran Daniel Briere, followed closely by Maxime Talbot, who both conduct their sessions in French. As with most cities, Nathan MacKinnon is present to answer questions as well.

7:37 pm - The puck is down and the game is off. The full house is packed to the brim with fans cheering for the Avalanche. So much so, the Canadiens were booed onto the ice for both warmups and the game. Meanwhile, the Avalanche receive raucous cheers from the crowd.

7:50 pm - Sakic is shown on the video board with a welcome back caption and the place goes nuts. Fans scream for nearly a minute and a half, honoring their old captain. It was quite the spectacle.

8:08 pm - Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson blasts a puck from the left faceoff circle up and over Dustin Tokarski and into the far side of the netting. His power-play goal is the first of the night. Johnson managed to catch a tipped pass from Matt Duchene out of the air, toss it down to the ice, and blast it into the net before his defender could close the gap. Tyson Barrie also had an assist on the tally.

8:47 pm - Montreal ties the game on a bouncy shot from Sven Andrighetto that sneaks past Semyon Varlamov. Tie match.

9:53 pm - With the game tied at two apiece and the minutes counting down towards another overtime, Montreal gets the go ahead goal, sneaking past a pinching defender and into the Avalanche zone for the score.

10:53 pm - The bus arrives at the airport in Quebec City, players spilling out into the warm Canadian night to collect belongs before the long flight back to Denver. Once the plane is boarded, everyone settles into a comfortable and familiar routine for the return trip.

3:53 am (ET) - The plane has landed and the process of going through the airport, passing customs, and getting back to the vehicles to drive home has begun. Saturday is a much welcomed day off before the team gets back at it on Sunday.

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