The second day of training camp for the Colorado Avalanche started with the second group rather than the first. This included a mix up of lines with the absence of Nathan MacKinnon, who is in Halifax for his jersey retirement Friday night, and it is unknown if he will be back for Saturday’s session.
Regardless, the second group hosted a lot of AHL-caliber players, and played like it too. However, Riley Tufte stood out in particular from the group, taking his chances. Jared Bednar said he liked how day one went, and gave Tufte the chance to center Artturi Lehkonen and Valeri Nichushkin and did well with said chance.
Andrew Cogliano continued to look solid in a non-contact jersey, as did the defensive pairing of Sam Girard and Jack Johnson shutting plays down often. Overall, the aggression of the group was strong, with plenty of hard hits and puck battles which were draining to just watch. However, would the first group later on keep up the same energy?
Aggression is high across the board in this group. They’re bringing a ton of energy, with less of Bednar shouting and more teaching for this lesser experienced group #GoAvsGo— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) September 22, 2023
The answer? A resounding yes. Mikko Rantanen led the way with plenty of goals and cheers. In fact, he was not the only one receiving the cheers and wows from the large crowd in attendance.
Most everybody had an excellent moment in the first group, leading to an uproar of energy. There were lots of smiles and energy surrounding the group, leading to great moments like a Matthew Stienburg which floated over the sliding defender to Devon Toews who finished on a one-timer in front of some important eyes.
Cale Makar and Gabe Landeskog sitting in the perch with the Avalanche staff. pic.twitter.com/McjRVNkt2x— Evan Rawal (@evanrawal) September 22, 2023
More great work was done by Sam Malinski absolutely shoving Kurtis MacDermid off the puck in a one-on-one drill. However, he did tweak something afterward but did finish out the session fine.
Another rookie several who had several eyes on him was Jason Polin, skating with the group for the first time since his upper body injury he suffered in the Rookie Tournament in Las Vegas. He skated with the other non-contact players before the sessions began and joined the first group in the afternoon.
Unfortunately, he didn’t shine as much as some had hoped he would. But, coming off of an injury and going at full-pace for the first time can take some time to perfect. Therefore, he still has time leading up to the first preseason games this weekend.
Jason Polin IS skating with the main group today. Excellent sign for the guy who left the Rookie Tournament early with an UBI. Definitely watching him to see how he does heading into the preseason #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/aYIe0DnExu— Puck Yeti (@PuckYeti) September 22, 2023
Overall, the vibe of the second day of camp was a special one. It felt very similar to the energy leading up to the 2021-22 season: all business, and getting the work done and in the right way.