The Colorado Avalanche completed training camp with their annual Burgundy and White scrimmage. The game was held at Magness Arena on the University of Denver campus. Each team featured 23 skaters and three goalies. All Avalanche players — barring those on “day-to-day” status with injuries — and prospects for the squad participated in the scrimmage.
First Period Takeaways
If the previous day’s “championship” scrimmage was intense, then the Burgundy and White game was electric. The regular skaters are looking to get into game mode, and the prospects are looking to make the team — or be the first call-up.
One of the former scored first, Dennis Everberg of Team White, who beat starting goalie Semyon Varlamov with a feed from fellow hopeful Paul Carey. Not to be left behind by the youngsters, forward Jarome Iginla received a pass from linemate Matt Duchene near the end of the period and beat Varlamov. Well, technically Tyson Barrie beat Varlamov — but they were both Team Burgundy, so Iginla got the credit.
Takeaways from period 1 — Iginla and Duchene are going to play well together. In fact, Duchene may finally have a linemate who elevates his play, rather than only vice versa. The other takeaway — backup goalie Reto Berra has, indeed, improved “every day,” as he said during the post-camp presser. He looked solid in net, stopping ten shots for a personal shutout.
Second Period Takeaways
Barrie can score goals, and not just in his own net. In fact, he picked up speed over the summer, and he looks completely recovered from his knee injury. Halfway through the second period, Barrie sped down the ice and beat Finnish goalie Sami Aittokallio top shelf.
As a carryover observation from training camp, the rumors about Nathan MacKinnon are true. He’s more explosive, and he’s strong. In fact, at one point he and cornerstone defenseman Erik Johnson were fighting for the puck. MacKinnon muscled Johnson to the ice without going down himself. That is a rare feat –I have seen the likes of St. Louis Blues’ David Backes, Boston Bruins’ Milan Lucic and Anaheim Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf fail at it.
Plus, Kiddo MacK has scoring hands. He dangled Aittokallio and finished with a backhand goal to tie the game.
Third Period Takeaways
Another hopeful, Andrew Agozzino, was able to “clean up the garbage” in front of Roman Will’s net. With scrum going on all around him, he got one past Will.
While the announcers were still announcing his goal, fellow prospect Michael Schumacher snuck one past Grancois Tremblay. The game was tied again.
A big takeaway from period three was that NHL stars shine even when the game means nothing. At a certain point, their competitive instincts take over. Duchene scored the game-winning goal with a beautiful snipe shot that got past goalie Francois Tremblay.
After the game, Duchene said of the experience:
"“It was a fun battle, playing against them. Very competitive. Both our lines pushed each other and all the other guys played great too. It was a great, close game. It was a pretty intense game. A lot of hits. Obviously, the glass broke a couple times. It was fun to get out there and play our first real game after the summer.”"
Burgundy and White Shootout Video
MacKinnon shows he’s ready to go as he scores in the shootout against Francois Tremblay:
Tyson Barrie has puck-handling skills — they just get the better of him sometimes:
Prospect Conner Bleackley is looking to impress at camp and beyond as he beats Will for a shooutout goal:
Even Matt Duchene loses control of the puck every now and again:
A last, humorous, takeaway — when the game is over, Johnson is ready to get off the ice. After a shootout, he congratulated Will and started to head down the chute towards the locker room. However, the teams decided to participate in a handshake line. Johnson came sprinting back out and onto the ice. He’s surprisingly quick and graceful for such a large man.