When the Colorado Avalanche say they’re not playing a full 60 minutes, or they blow a third period lead like they did on Saturday against the Senators, or they fail to get into the dirty areas, that all falls under failed game management.
This season coach Jared Bendar has been emphasizing conditioning. Players are being benched if they’re not in appropriate conditioning. So conditioning and recovery shouldn’t be an issue.
Blowing leads shows a lack of resolve. The Avalanche have to learn to stay hungry when they’re ahead — there’s no sitting on your laurels. That’s one of the things I liked about Alexander Kerfoot‘s second goal against the New York Islanders. It was an opposite situation in that the Avalanche were down by three with under 30 seconds to go. Yet he kept pressing — kept playing his best hockey — and that shows resolve.
Getting into the dirty areas, taking the kidney shots because you’re parked in front of the net, getting greasy in the corners — those aren’t the most fun aspects of hockey. Yet willingness to do that those things leads to keeping the right mindset during games.
This probably isn’t something they can work on in practice per se. Rather, it has to be emphasized from the coaching staff down. If you don’t maintain your intensity until the last seconds, you don’t get to play as many seconds (or minutes) in the game.