Day three of Colorado Avalanche training camp saw a lot of work in game-like situations in preparations for the opening two preseason games Sunday and Monday against the Minnesota Wild and Vegas Golden Knights respectively. The roster for Saturday’s camp was fairly similar except for the loss of Peter Holland, who was excused by the team to depart.
Nathan MacKinnon did not make it back in time from Halifax and his ceremony Friday night to participate in the first group of camp in his usual spot. Cale Makar had said at media day Wednesday he’d hope to return for the end of camp but did not end up taking to the ice any of the three days of training camp.
The first group worked well, especially the first-line chemistry of Jonathan Drouin, Ryan Johansen, and Mikko Rantanen. It was unfair for defenders to fend them off, as they bullied defenders multiple times. The same goes for the second line of Miles Wood, Ross Colton, and Tomas Tatar.
The pressure and intensity wasn’t as high with the first group as it was on Friday simply due to the upcoming games, but it didn’t call for a loss of competitive spirit between the sides. This was only demonstrated further by a big save by Alexandar Georgiev in one of the final drills of the day for the first group.
In the second group, there were not many standouts from the lower levels. The intensity was not as high as the first group either.
It didn’t leave any dissatisfaction for talent though, as Valeri Nichuhshin took the cake for arguably the best play of camp, with a between-the-legs pass in front of the net to Artturi Lehkonen who put it in a gaping net, leading to a thunderous roar from the crowd.
Nichushkin was most certainly the standout from the second group, as he also showed some anger when he lost a drill by slamming his stick on the glass. He certainly has a fire lit underneath him with everything that’s unfolded and wants to have a great year.
Before the day was done, one surprise was left for everyone in attendance for the final few drills. Do you think this kid has a shot at making the team?
This Nathan MacKinnon kid in green who just came from Halifax is pretty good. Wonder if he’ll get a chance despite playing in green on the fifth line in the second group in the near future #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/wQozmdfFhe— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) September 23, 2023
Regardless, neither group did conditioning at the end of their group sessions and it is unknown for the time being what the lineup will be for the first game action since April against the Minnesota Wild. Therefore, there may be a good mix of players from both groups of camp playing in the next two games in two days.
Nonetheless, hockey is well and truly back with game action. It’s all up from here Avs faithful, let’s get this show on the road!