The Colorado Avalanche held an informal “rest and reset” day which included a mini practice attended by five skaters and both goalies.
The Colorado Avalanche held an optional practice today.
Only five skaters and both goalies participated. This miniature practice comes just three days after the team was blown out 7-1 by the Tampa Bay Lightning and just hours after the team was blown out 6-4 by the Edmonton Oilers.
In other words, I find a practice that consists of just five skaters and the two goalies when the team is in the middle of not playing well puzzling. Especially since these are the five skaters:
- Sven Andrighetto
- A.J. Greer
- Gabriel Bourque
- Mark Alt
- Patrik Nemeth (worked alone with Sean Allard)
Now, I get it that the optional practices are usually attended by bubble players, those trying to fight for roster spots. However, defense was a big problem for the Avalanche in the last couple games, and that group only consists of two defensemen. One of them, Alt, didn’t even play in either game.
I also get working specifically with the goalies, who were also less than stellar in those two games.
However, I feel the team has had enough rest. They need to get back to the tidy hockey that wins them games. Granted, watching film might help them to that end. But practices exist for a reason.
In any case, here’s the four non-Nemeth skaters and two goalies:
Some goalie work:
The goalie work in action — that really was an important focus:
Nemeth talking about the optional skate and what he worked on with Allard:
He mentions some of the “small areas” of his game that he worked on that will help him “feel more confident.” He also mentions that it was a good chance for some players to get some rest.
Ok, I get the Avalanche just had a four-game, week-long road trip that was quite grueling. They held no practice the day after, Sunday, followed by a full practice on Monday. Next came the blowout loss to Edmonton on Tuesday followed by… today’s optional skate.
Ah, well, what’s done is done. I think it’s another example of bad decision-making, but moving on to some good news. Two defensemen, Mark Barberio and Connor Timmins skated in no-contact red before the option practice.
Barberio has been out since November 30 with an upper body injury. Here he is shooting some pucks before practice:
Timmins has yet to suit up for an Avalanche game thanks to a concussion he suffered in a S.o.o. Greyhounds playoff game last May. However, look how good he looks in his pre-practice skating session:
I feel like he’s used his convalescence to work on his skating, which is at least a silver lining.
The Colorado Avalanche will hold a practice — hopefully a full practice — tomorrow before heading to St. Louis for their first leg of a Central Division back-to-back series. They return home on Saturday to complete the series by hosting the Dallas Stars.