The Colorado Avalanche put defenseman Mark Alt in for his first game with the team against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Mark Alt made his Avs debut in the electrified game against the Vegas Golden Knights. His opportunity came about because forwards Sven Andrighetto and Colin Wilson were scratched, as were defensemen Anton Lindholm and David Warsofsky.
Coach Jared Bednar went with his 11 forwards, seven defensemen rotation. Unfortunately, Duncan Siemens got the short end of the defensemen stick, playing fewer than four minures. Alt, who skated some on the bottom pairing, recorded 10:58.
The 26-year-old Alt, who wears number seven, did pretty well in this electrified game. He seemed to hold his poise and not make an egregious errors. The right-handed shot — same as Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie — even got a couple pucks through as shot attempts. He delivered a couple hits and blocked a shot.
Alt, who hasn’t played an NHL game since December 7 nor any official hockey since his February 26 waiver pick up by Colorado, admitted in his post-game presser that it took some time to get back into the pace of the game. He went on to add:
"“After a few shifts, I felt really comfortable. It really helped to play with guys like EJ to help settle me down and get in the flow of things.”"
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Because it was over three weeks between NHL games, Alt had to get creative in how he prepared himself. He remarked that he tried to create “game-like” situations in practice, though he acknowledged that it’s impossible to recreate the flow of a game in practice.
Alt has spent the majority of his professional career playing in the AHL, including 23 games this year with Philadelphia’s affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. However, because Alt was a waiver pick up, Colorado couldn’t send him to San Antonio. So, the team has just kept him on the roster, sort of biding his time.
Mark Alt has been in this situation before, with the Flyers. However, naturally, players want to play. He said he’d talked with the coaching staff here in Colorado, and he knew he’d just have to be patient. He added:
"“It was a tough situation coming into it. But I knew that was it — I had to be patient, stay in shape. That’s really all I could focus on, and that’s what I did.”"
Well, Alt certainly got his chance in a big game. Colorado dropped a… ridiculously bad game to the LA Kings on Thursday in front of the home crowd, so they knew they had to come out with something a little better on Saturday.
Alt really enjoyed the atmosphere he felt at Pepsi Center:
"“That atmosphere was a blast. I don’t know if it was new or different, but it was loud in there. It felt like a playoff game. So, it was a ton of fun just to play in that game.”"
Mark Alt, who’s the son of Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle John Alt, was selected 53rd overall in the 2010 NHL draft by the Carolina Hurricanes. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound defenseman never cracked that lineup, and he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in 2013. He played nine games with Philly — one in 2014-15 and eight this season. Now he’s played the game with the Avs, bringing his NHL total to nine.
The Colorado Avalanche have traveled to Vegas and are slated to face the Golden Knights again tomorrow evening. I’m not sure what the rationale was for playing Alt on Saturday beyond shaking up the lineup. Colorado is healthy, though, so I’m not sure I see the reason to play the 11-7 configuration. And if the Avs go back to 12-6, no telling if it’s Alt or Siemens who sits — or both if the coaches decide to slot Lindholm or Warsofsky back in.
In any case, it was good to get a chance to see Mark Alt in action at least once this season.