Colorado Avalanche: 1st Practice After the Bye Week

CENTENNIAL, CO - NOVEMBER 27 - Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon practices with the team at the Family Sports Center on November 27, 2017 in Centennial, Colorado. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
CENTENNIAL, CO - NOVEMBER 27 - Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon practices with the team at the Family Sports Center on November 27, 2017 in Centennial, Colorado. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche held a short practice before heading off to face the Central Division rival Stars in Dallas.

The Colorado Avalanche held their first practice after the five-day bye-week. After the practice the team left for their next game in Dallas, which is tomorrow night at 7 pm MT.

The Avalanche worked a lot on five-on-five drills as well as some work in the corners. I arrived just a little late (cold medicine), but the first thing I noticed was Alexander Kerfoot skating. Skating well. He really has a fluid stride. In fact, when I attend practices, I try to watch a couple players in particular so I can report on how they specifically are doing.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a lot of video of Alexander Kerfoot, but I did get him during a scrimmage:

As I observed in the tweet, he sees the ice so well. Something I’ve been noticing about his play, in fact, is how he’s constantly scanning the ice so he can keep tabs on what’s going on.

I also got a little footage of him skating very quickly past Tyson Jost as the latter picked up pucks:

That seems to be Jost’s duty since he’s a rookie. Of course, he’s one of five rookies, but it’s Jost I notice consistently cleaning up pucks. Kerfoot did go back later and fetch the bucket.

In fact, I did get a little more footage of Kerfoot, in this case interacting with a fan:

He’d also interacted with another fan who called out to him from the stands. I’m not a big proponent of spectators calling out to the players in practice. For the most part, they ignore people who do call out. The only other one who interacted with the other spectator was Jost, who said he didn’t have time to sign autographs after the practice. (The spectator persisted, which I didn’t think was fair — if you listen carefully, he’s the one who calls out at the beginning of the puck cleaning video. Sorry if you end up reading this, dude, but Jost said no.)

Anyway, on a lighter note, Tyson Jost earlier worked on forechecking J.T. Compher, who was participating in the practice wearing a red no-contact jersey:

Despite the no-contact jersey, Compher later did a little boards work with a couple players:

Compher participated in a lot of the practice. However, when the Avs were working in the corners, he skated off to the other end of the ice to toss some pucks into the net. Here’s some of the Avs working the dirty corners:

I also got some video of Erik Johnson skating because, well, EJ;

(My phone autocorrected that second tweet to Conroe for some reason.) Anyway, people are in

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awe of Samuel Girard because of his edgework and agility on skates. I think people don’t observe that about Johnson as much because he’s so big. But he’s just as agile and fine in the edgework as Girard. I think a lot of it comes in his core strength — I observed a couple years ago that Johnson transitions like he’s got a pivot in his belly and ball bearings in his hips.

Anyway, I also got a picture of Jonathan Bernier working with goalie coach Juusi Parkkila. I didn’t realize the significance at the time, but the team has since announced that Semyon Varlamov will be out at least two more weeks with a lingering “lower body injury” which coach Jared Bednar called murky, “Groins and hips and everything, he’s got a strain there.” I’m not sure what that specifically is supposed to mean, but generally speaking it means that Bernier is the number-one goalie right now.

In fact, the Colorado Avalanche recalled Andrew Hammond again from the Belleville Senators. It’s unclear if Hammond will get any starts, but Bednar stated that they hoped to get Varlamov back by the All Star break. There are seven games between now and then, including a back to back in Canada. You’ve got to think Hammond will start at least one of those.

Next: Will the Bye-Week Cool Off the Hot Avs?

The Colorado Avalanche practice was a little short today with even the laggers leaving the ice by 12:00 (Practice started at 11:00). There was no bag skate, which surprised me somewhat considering the team is coming off their bye-week and the focus is on conditioning this season. However, the players did have their team flight to Dallas, who luckily is also coming off the bye-week.