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Preseason Crucial To Vets, Rookies Alike

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche (1-1 in the preseason) will travel to Dallas tomorrow to face the Stars in the club’s third of seven preseason contests.

Today, the Avs split into two groups for practice, with the first squad hitting the ice at 10:30 a.m. and the second group following an hour later.

Nearly every player remaining on Colorado’s preseason roster is in a unique situation at this point in camp. Some are vying for the few open positions on the Opening Night roster, while others are trying to solidify the role they will play for the Avalanche during the 2010-11 season.

But for Colorado’s veteran players – those who have little need to worry about securing a job or finding their niche on the team – the preseason serves a different purpose.

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“It’s just to get together as a team and get adjusted to the speed. It’s been a long summer,” said Avalanche captain Adam Foote. “The other thing is you want to play for the young guys. You want to make sure you’re on top of your game for them. They’re in a tough spot where they’re trying to prove themselves and you don’t want to hurt them.”

Even still, there’s another category of players that look at the preseason in an entirely different light. For players coming off a major injury, training camp and preseason games are all about finding your game timing again and building up your confidence. Avalanche forward David Jones falls into that category.

Jones suffered a torn ACL in a Nov. 28 contest against the Minnesota Wild last season that ended his year, so the exhibition contests are a welcome challenge.

“It’s nice to be back playing five-on-five and getting into a scrimmage. It’s been a long time since I played a full game,” said Jones. “It’s nice to get that first exhibition game out of the way and I’m looking forward to getting into another one sometime soon.”

Jones says that the knee is fully healed, and that he has finally regained the outside speed that made him such a big offensive threat early last season. That swiftness was on full display in Tuesday’s preseason game against St. Louis, as Jones got a step on Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and swooped toward the net before scoring against Jaroslav Halak.

“I feel great. The knee feels 100 percent. I feel like I got my quickness back,” said Jones. “It’s something that didn’t come quite as quickly as I would have liked. Midway through the summer it just kind of clicked. All of the rehab and strength work I had been doing just kind of came into place and it feels great.”

Cumiskey Skates
Defenseman Kyle Cumiskey was on the ice briefly this morning before practice, but did not skate with his teammates during the regular session.

The blueliner did not participate in the on-ice portion of training camp due to a slight groin injury. Cumiskey was also held out of Monday’s Burgundy/White Game and has yet to play in the preseason.

Roster Reduced
On Thursday morning the Avalanche reassigned seven players to the Lake Erie Monsters’ training camp, reducing the club’s preseason roster to 34 players.

The list of those reassigned includes goaltender Trevor Cann, defenseman David Liffiton and forwards Tom Fritsche, Greg Mauldin, Julian Talbot, David Van Der Gulik and Ben Walter.

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