Training Camp Essentially Ends With...More Drills.

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Avs finally change it up, practice special teams in case they ever get a PP this season.

So the scoop from our very own Cheryl Bradley about Bordy making the Avs has put me way behind the 8-ball in getting the final day of training camp report up so the sleeping pills I took 35 minutes ago are starting to kick in and we've reached now or never time. tl;dr this will be brief. Same format as previous days applies.

Lots of people here. Local news finally paying attention to the Avs. Lots of stands closed off. Gotta make it look packed

Boys have taken the ice, back in line jerseys. Id love one of those orange ones, man. Even better cause they're no contact during the season

Lots more jump early. Looks pretty pretty.

I'll skip the "Vary hurt" tweet as it's been gone over already. No big deal.

Jiggy robs Duchene, crowd erupts. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY GLOVE"

Wilson has disappeared during drills. Not like he's invisible, like he's not physically out there. Cue trade speculation....now!

Rink buzz today surrounds the Avalanche apology letter. Excited to collect extras to give to people for future transgressions.

So EJ is ultra pissed at Elliott. ULTRA PISSED. Like ten minutes later he's still glaring at him.

Special teams work! Duke working the non ej point with stastny line. INTERESTING.

If Ryan Wilson is a coyote by the time I get home, I will chuckle heartily. O'Reilly/Wilson for Yandle.

Kobasew...awful PKer. Gettin lit up out here. EJ has been very vocal today. Barrie bossin around Parenteau, both manning points.

Barrie looking great on point. You can tell the game is starting to slow down for him. Last year he was in panic mode when pressured

Duchene working the half boards on PP unit, playing two man game with Elliot. Stef showing some life but not passing with confidence

New drill starting, sacco finishes instructions with "Make good passes!" First pass too far for EJ. Lol.

Love the small details. Receiving passes on the rush, Parenteau, Duchene, Hejduk all pick spots to shoot at quickly. Downie locked on puck

And that was it.

So no scrimmage today but I'll post some thoughts about a couple guys and camp in general.

Basically, I've had a few people ask why guys like Hejda/O'Byrne/Johnson haven't been talked about much by me. Answer is pretty simple: low contact drills and scrimmages take away a big part of what makes those guys so effective. The same way Sgarbossa kicked it into gear when scrimmages began, those three will likely start to look quite a bit better when they're allowed to hit people again. Of course, the low contact rules didn't stop O'Brien from throwing the body. At least he and Steve Downie didn't get into it today. That was a nice change.

Moving on, I thought my favorite PP unit I got a chance to see was Barrie manning the point with Parenteau playing a roaming point man on the other side with Dutchy working the half boards and Downie and Landy clogging up the middle. Dutchy looked comfortable on the half boards and was the crux of what the unit was trying to accomplish and Parenteau's vision and passing acumen were on full display as they worked the puck around nicely. They created a couple nice scoring chances but were unable to bury any of them.

The unit that did bury a couple chances but were feasting on the weaker players opposing them (McLeod-Kobasew as forwards, Hunwick and I THINK Zanon as D) was Elliott playing point alongside Hejduk with the Stastny line up front. Going against teams with weaker PK units (thinking the second unit of MN as an example) is going to have trouble keeping up with the creativity we can ice with either of these two units.

No real notes about the PK because I only got to see the units littered with guys who aren't likely to see many PK minutes this year (all the big guns were at the other end of the ice, a rather curious decision imo).

As far as specific players go, I made a dedicated effort to keep an eye on Steve Downie today and wasn't disappointed. I think he's due for a sneaky good year, especially if O'Reilly ever returns from his self-imposed exile from sanity. When he gets his Charles Manson look going (see picture above) and isn't suffering from a serious shoulder injury, Downie is going to be a guy that finds ways to contribute that will never be reflected with traditional statistics. If we can get him to muster of some goal-scoring punch, that would just be some delicious gravy for this mashed potato lineup.

Chuck Kobasew's days as an NHL player ought to be nearing an end very soon. He simply doesn't have a much of a purpose on this roster anymore.

Tyson Barrie has looked great in camp but like the Hejda/Johnson/O'Byrne trio is punished in this format for their physical play, Barrie looks like an unstoppable force because he hasn't had to stop anyone himself and nobody is laying the wood on the kid anytime he tries to make a move with the puck. He's had the freedom and space to do whatever he wants and show his skills. Good on him for taking advantage of his opportunities but he by no means did enough to force the Avalanche to keep him around. I think he's in line for the first call up and will undoubtedly spend time in Denver this season. It's only a matter of when, not if, for Barrie this year.

That's all for Avalanche training camp from me this year. Tomorrow' session will be a closed affair at the Pepsi Center and Friday's practice will be little more than a light skate as the team prepares to head to Minnesota that night for the season opener. Thanks for all the compliments and questions regarding the coverage those of us at MHH have been lucky to provide for the past several days. Hope you all enjoyed the experience as much as I have. Until next time! /wave

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