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Practice Report: November 5, 2014

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Roy and the gang got together this morning for a real humdinger of a practice as he finally made adjustments to a failing system.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports


Going to be another short report today as I missed the first 10 minutes of practice (luckily nothing interesting ever happens) because I woke up a mere minutes before practice started and had to hustle to the arena to get there at all.

-Upon my arrival, Avs were doing their standard 2-on-0 breakaway drills to get everyone nice and warmed up. This went on for just a couple more minutes after I got there and finished with the team gathering at the whiteboard on the opposite side from the bleachers.

-The arena was extremely quiet for once and Roy was not shouting, making him very to easy to hear. Today was definitely a good day for this as he explained at great length that the forwards need to be doing significantly more in the defensive zone to help out the defensemen, both in covering players and assisting in the breakout. Lots of drawing on the whiteboard took place with a heavy emphasis on collapsing on players below the goal. Roy's exact words were "Support the guys playing below the goal."

-This discussion lasted several minutes, with players asking questions. Notably, EJ asked a question (couldn't hear it) but Roy's response was "We are not playing slower, we are supporting the defense better". A couple more questions from various players were met with "You support!" answers from Roy.

-Several more minutes of discussion went by and the team finally breaks on the ice to work 5-on-3. The D pair would breakout with the forwards and have a controlled zone entry (obviously not hard against just 3 guys playing on their heels) and then they'd dump the puck in to work on what Roy wanted. The 2 D on the team of 5 would stand at the blue line, mostly hanging out. This was all about the forwards working together. The 2 D on the team of 3 would play a much more zone-oriented system with 1 F supporting where he was needed.This drill would comprise the entire rest of the practice session.

-The lines for this drill were:





This means there was no John Mitchell on the ice. Again, I was there late so if he was on there early and tweaked something, I did not see it. I did see who I believed to be Mitchell standing in the door way to the Avs locker room observing practice. He was not in hockey gear. I am completely open to the idea that I simply missed Mitchell but during this final drill I never saw him out there. The D pairings were rotating consistently so there wasn't a real feel to them.

-MacKinnon got torn apart by Roy pretty badly on his first attempt on this drill as Roy stopped a mere seconds after MacKinnon's line gained entry into the zone and shouted "Your brain is not in Colorado. What are you thinking right there? What's going through your head? Figure it out!" MacKinnon responded by skating over to Tourigny to ask what he needed to be doing, Tourigny showed him and MacKinnon skated back to center ice where Roy was glaring daggers at him. Extremely tense moments, to say the least.

-Shortly after this, Roy stopped everyone, called the team into a circle around him and started yelling. This is as agitated as I've seen Roy in a practice, much more so than a couple weeks ago before the Avs decimated the Canucks.

-Each line runs through the drill a couple of times without incident. The F rotating with the team of 3 consists primarily of Duchene, Everberg, and Briere. Duchene is by far the most successful of this group as Roy gave him kudos on multiple occasions when he made sound defensive plays to gain a controlled zone exit. Briere looked fine to me but Roy didn't even look at him from what I could tell. Everberg got chewed on hard twice as he failed to support his defensemen in the corner the way Roy wanted. Roy stopped and told him "Do not be afraid to leave him (referring to man in front of the net) to support your D in the corner. You're watching him lose the battle, go help him win it and trust your W to cover the man in front".

-Everberg responded by stealing the puck on his next attempt, then scored a goal on a beautiful deflection his next time on offense. Roy gave him the bro nod of approval.

-The team gathered up at center ice for one last brief discussion and practice came to an end. I skipped hanging around for the post-practice work the players always do because I have a ton to get done before I have surgery Friday.

-On that note, many of you know by now that I'm having a kidney removed this weekend and because of that I will be out of commission for several weeks. This is my last practice report for the foreseeable future. I appreciate all the support many of you have already sent your way. We'll likely have someone else covering practice the rest of this month and potentially this season so thank you again for all the kind words you've said about these reports in the past. It means more than you guys will ever know.

-Go Avs