Colorado Avalanche: 3 Areas that Need Work During East Coast Trip

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 05: Matt Nieto #83 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 5, 2017 in New York City. The Colorado Avalanche won 4-2. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 05: Matt Nieto #83 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 5, 2017 in New York City. The Colorado Avalanche won 4-2. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche need to work on some areas of their game management while they’re on their East Coast road trip.

The Colorado Avalanche are about to embark on their second road trip, and this one is a doozy. They took off today for New York City, where they’ll face the Rangers tomorrow. They’ll then face the New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers in that order. They return home October 22, one week from now.

That’s a pretty hefty road trip. It will give the players some time to develop more chemistry as they go on team dinners and perhaps a few adventures. Previously they’ve done things like visit the World Trade Center and go on scooter rides.

This road trip is a serious time, too. The Avalanche are still trying to develop their overall identity. They definitely need to keep figuring out who they are on the road. So, as they head east, here are some areas they need to figure out to develop winning habits.

Play the Full 60

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It seems like I can write out this rant and copy-and-paste it every few games or so and it will be just as relevant. I don’t know if other teams have to deal with the issue of not playing the full game — I’m guessing they do — but it’s a problem that’s plagued the Colorado Avalanche for years.

It was the main culprit in the loss against the Calgary Flames at home. The Avalanche came out guns blazing, and went up two goals. By the second period they were flat, and by the third they were practically backpedaling.

The Avs are a tough team to beat. Unless they beat themselves. They couldn’t even take that luxury at home — they definitely shouldn’t try it on the road.

Maintaining Discipline

This key is two-fold. The Colorado Avalanche took penalties at wrong times in the Calgary game that took the steam out of their play. They also took way too many penalties in the game against Buffalo, though they managed to win that one. They need to keep their hockey clean unless it’s absolutely necessary to stop a goal or make a point. (Nikita Zadorov is still figuring out that line.)

The other part of this key is that the Avs need to play disciplined hockey, meaning be smart with the puck. They’ve gotten better about not trying to get too fancy, but it’s still a part of their game. Likewise, they just lost their focus and made silly plays that could be avoided.

Well, the defense is always to first to go with Colorado, and that’s something the team worked on in their single practice before heading east. Here’s what coach Jared Bednar said post-practice after the loss:

"“We went out and worked on some D-zone coverage today and getting quick to contact. Make sure we have support around the puck. I thought our guys’ intensity level at practice was really good. I think we’re all aware, coaches and players, that wasn’t our best game. When teams push, we have to push back. Everybody seems to be aware of it.”"

That sounds like a more disciplined game.

Inconsistent Lines

For the love of hockey, Jared Bednar and his salad spinner approach to making lines and defensive pairings. The problem is that he doesn’t have good vision for creating lines and pairings that click. When he tries to mix things up mid-game, he ends up with Franken-lines that lurch around on the ice not knowing what to do.

I’m not sold on what he’s potentially trying starting with practice the other day:

The top line remains the same. He promotes J.T. Compher to the second line, which is ok except the second line was the Avs’ most solid line against the Calgary Flames:

But even so, with four points (3 goals, 1 assist) in five games, Compher has earned the promotion. It’s who got demoted that I take exception to — Tyson Jost. He’s supposed to be groomed as the second-line center. I don’t think we want to call the kid a wash after five games. It’s called developing your players.

I know Carl Soderberg has been playing well, but he’s a plodder. Matt Calvert’s good, and maybe not bad for Jost’s development. I just don’t think that’s the best look for that line.

The fourth line continues to just be a catch-all of misfits. It has no identity and no seeming purpose. Honestly, it was better with Compher as the center and Calvert as the veteran. Then you could just plug in the rookie (or recent waiver pickup) of the day.

dark. Next. Avs Send Timmins Home for Rehab

Colorado Avalanche Pick up Marko Dano

The Colorado Avalanche claimed forward Marko Dano off waivers from the Winnipeg Jets today. The 23-year-old Dano has 19 goals and 26 assists in 130 NHL games. He’s played for the chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets as well.

The last two seasons Dano sat on the sidelines trying to crack toe Jets’ roster. He played a combined 61 games in those two season.

He’s a depth pickup for Colorado. He’s likely to go in for Vladislav Kamenev if that worthy isn’t working out, though the team also recalled Sheldon Dries from Loveland.

Avs fans on Twitter spent all day making jokes like “Marko Polo” and “Book ’em, Dano.” I’m sure the youngster has never heard those jokes before. (He is from Austria, so you never know.)