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Practice Report: March 26

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – There was a bit more jump to the players’ step on Tuesday at the South Suburban Family Sports Center as the Colorado Avalanche returned to the practice ice after having Monday off.

The practice itself was about an hour long but most of the players spent up to an extra 30 minutes on the ice afterwards, going through additional drills with the assistant coaches. The length of time spent on the ice was a bit unusual given that practices tend to run shorter during getaway days.

“We had an up-tempo practice, get the legs pumping again,” said center John Mitchell afterwards. “I think it was productive for us.”

The club spent nearly all of practice working on special teams, including some penalty kill scrimmaging near the end of the main session.

Colorado’s penalty kill has been solid recently as they have not given up a goal in 11 of the last 13 man-down situations. The Avs have killed off 90.5 percent of their penalties this season at home, the third-best in the league.

However an early power play goal by Vancouver last Sunday led to the Canucks picking up some early momentum and allowed them to take a 3-2 win over Colorado.

Before practice, head coach Joe Sacco said the team discussed about having better starts to games and not getting down early from mistakes that the club makes.

“Comeback hockey is not conducive to consistent winning,” Sacco said after practice.

“If you don’t score that first goal, which may happen, stick with it and don’t feel like you have to get it the next shift. Sometimes we have a tendency as a group that we feel like we have to score the next shift after we give up that first goal, and therefore we may make a couple more mistakes that we shouldn’t be making.”

Despite being down early in recent contests, the team has done a good job of coming back from those deficits. In the last game, PA Parenteau scored in third period to cut the Canucks lead to one, and the team had several quality chances late in regulation but just couldn’t find the equalizer.

While he is not happy with the losses, Sacco said he does like his club’s competitive level in the past few games.

“There is certainly not any quit in the dressing room. I like the guys’ will,” Sacco said. “It’s just a matter of in the first few shifts to not take a penalty, not turn the puck over, and not having a defensive lapse. Maybe stuff that is self inflicted then what the other team is doing to us.”

Injury Update

Ryan Wilson can’t catch a break.

For the third time in two months, the defenseman was placed on the team’s injured reserve list after he re-aggravated an ankle injury during a collision in the second period of last Sunday’s game against Vancouver. It was Wilson’s first game back after missing the four previous games with the injury.

Sacco said that Wilson is out indefinitely with the injury, which he originally suffered on Feb. 2 against Edmonton.

To replace Wilson on the roster, the team recalled defenseman Tyson Barrie from Lake Erie. Barrie has already played in 15 games this season for Colorado.

Wilson’s ankle ailment came one period after center Paul Stastny left the game with a foot injury after blocking a shot. Sacco said Stastny would be out at least 10 days

Quinn To Boston University

Assistant coach David Quinn was introduced as the new head coach of the Boston University men’s hockey team on Tuesday in Boston.

Quinn is a BU alum and was a team captain of the Terriers during his senior season in 1987-88. He was an associate head coach for the school for five seasons and won the 2009 national championship with the team before moving to the professional ranks as the head coach at Lake Erie.

He will finish this season on the Colorado coaching staff before he takes over the Terriers in the fall.

“The one thing with David is that he’ll certainly remain focused here,” Sacco, another BU alum, said after practice. “He made it perfectly clear that he wanted to finish what he started.”

Quinn will replace Jack Parker, who announced his retirement earlier this month after 40 seasons as the head coach of the program.

“It’s a great position and hopefully it is one that he’ll have as long as the guy before him had,” Sacco said of Quinn’s new job.

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