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Second Day Of Training Camp A Grind

The Avalanche practiced physicality and speed

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

CENTENNIAL, Colo.--If the first day of Colorado Avalanche training camp was about playing with speed and moving the puck fast, then the second day was about adding a little physicality to head coach Jared Bednar's structure.

Chase drills, battles in the corner and clearing the puck out of the defensive zone with pressure highlighted practice on Saturday at Family Sports Center.

"I like what we did out there as group. Today was a little bit different because we got into neutral zone forecheck and D-zone coverage," Bednar said. "It was a little more grinding than skating up and down the length of the ice, but it was a good practice. Guys were paying attention, working hard.

"Our practice was getting competitive and physical. It's good to see."

For many players, throwing the body around was a welcomed sight. It brought an area of comfort as they learn a different system under a brand new bench boss.

"I have to use my body out there. If not, I'm no use," said 6-foot-3 forward Andreas Martinsen. "Obviously, it's good for me, but it's a lot of systems and I think we're just taking it step by step and making sure that everyone is on the same page and knows what we're going to do. I'm sure there is going to be more battles and stuff like that later on."

It's a process for Bednar and his staff to instill his style on the players. The Avs won't be experts overnight, but they should have a nice grasp on the system when their season opens in three weeks.

"As we start getting down to a smaller group of players, then we'll be able to teach it more and have more time to sort of take a step back and talk about it in more detail," Bednar said. "There is an evolution to it, but we're off to a good start after the first couple of days. I like where we're at."

Video: Coach Bednar discusses Avs Training Camp

Defenseman Nikita Zadorov had an advantage in learning Bednar's system after participating in rookie camp last week. He said he's still adjusting to the style, but that having a week head start helped him understand the structure and be prepared for training camp.

"I love it. There are going to be so many opportunities for me to jump into the rush," Zadorov said. "If we're going to play perfectly, how it's supposed to be, if I'm the first guy on the puck, I should be the first guy on the rush after. I think it's great. I like it."

Bednar had two games last weekend to see how the organization's prospects did in running his system, but that was after just one practice and against fellow young players from the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks organizations.

Sunday's Burgundy/White Game will be the first real chance for Bednar and his coaching staff to see his structure in place and where the players are at in the learning process.

"We'll have a lot of young guys playing in that Burgundy/White, mixed in with some of our veteran guys," Bednar said. "It gives us an opportunity to evaluate those young guys, some of the guys that were at training camp against NHL talent. And we have some veteran guys that aren't going to play tomorrow as well. It should be an exciting, competitive game."

Video: Reid Petryk talks about his deal with Colorado

Reid Petryk is one of the players that is looking to catch the coach's eye.

After winning the Memorial Cup with the Edmonton Oil Kings in 2013-14, Petryk signed an AHL contract and has played in the Avs' minor league system with the Lake Erie Monsters and the San Antonio Rampage. He registered 37 points (15 goals and 22 assists) last season and earned an NHL contract, giving him a chance to play for the Avs this year

"I'm definitely excited for the opportunity," Petryk said. "You just have to go out there and give it your all and see what happens. Just do the simple things and listen to the coaches when they tell you certain systems. Just work hard."

The players don't know every in and out of the system right now, but they'll be rewarded with more chances if Bednar sees the effort.

"Every day we'll get together and talk about what we liked, what we saw, where should we give some opportunities," he said. "Who earned opportunities to play and compete in the exhibition games? That will be a daily process for us."

It's all part of the preseason grind.

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