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Sunday's Practice Report

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
After taking down the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night, the Avs will look to do the same against the defending Eastern Conference Champions on Monday.

Following Sunday morning’s practice at Family Sports Center the Avs boarded a plane and headed to Philadelphia, where they will face the Flyers on Monday evening.

Tomorrow’s contest will be the third in five days for the Flyers, who opened the season with a 3-2 win at Pittsburgh on Thursday and then dropped a 2-1 overtime decision in St. Louis on Saturday.

Monday’s game will be the 2010-11 home opener for the Flyers. And as any Avalanche fan that was at Pepsi Center on Thursday will attest, the emotional boost a team receives from its fans on Opening Night can greatly help out the home club.

“They’ll be all revved up and they’ll be charged up, and we have to make sure we’re ready to respond,” said Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco. “You have to be ready to start on time in that kind of game.”

The emotional high of hosting a home opener could be compounded by a pre-game ceremony during which the Flyers will raise their 2010 Eastern Conference Championship banner. For Philly the game also begins the club’s longest homestand of the season, with the Flyers hosting five games within a span of 13 days.

Colorado will have to put all those extraneous activities aside in order to be successful.

“We just have to weather the storm, especially in a place like Philly. They’ll have a lot of energy and we have to match that,” said defenseman Scott Hannan. “When you’re playing in front of a crowd that’s behind you 100 percent you can draw energy from that. We just have to play the way that we know we can.”

According to winger David Jones, having such a big challenge on the road early in the season will serve as a litmus test for the young Avalanche squad and will only help them in the long run.

“We played the Stanley Cup Champions on Thursday and now we have the Eastern Conference Champions on Monday, so those are two good tests right off the bat,” said Jones. “We saw in the playoffs that they’re a real tough team that likes to battle and has some very skilled players. We just have to play our game and hopefully take it to them.”

Foote, Cumiskey Return
After sitting out Saturday’s practice for “maintenance” reasons, defensemen Adam Foote and Kyle Cumiskey were both back on the ice Sunday morning.

Even with the return of Foote and Cumiskey, injured forward David Koci (jaw) again practiced with the team on the defensive side of the ice to give the club eight blueliners (four pairings) during the skate.  On Saturday, Sacco stated that Koci is still a couple weeks away from returning to game action.
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