It feels like we’re waiting for the ice to freeze.
The NHL lockout over, the owners and players have spared enough of their differences for the sake of the game. The teams have reformed, the schedule set and the players, more than ever, are eager and ready for this season to start.
“Moods and spirits are high and everybody is excited to be back. The players have a lot of enthusiasm,” head coach Joe Sacco said. “There’s some good jump and pace in their steps. It’s exciting for everybody and it has certainly been a long time coming. I can tell our players are very excited as well.”
Most of the Avalanche players have not been estranged much from the game during the work stoppage. Some were playing overseas, as caption Gabriel Landeskog was in Sweden, others were in various leagues in North America and other just stayed active, knowing at any moment the deal could be made and season would be just a matter of weeks away.
The chemistry may be lacking early in the season, they’ll have to relearn each other’s tendencies, but it’s this team aspect that they are especially enthusiastic about.
“We’re having a blast like always; it’s great to be back. I think everyone has missed this part of the NHL, just being around the guys, just being around the room,” said Landeskog. “We’re looking forward to it.”
Colorado will open the regular season on the road in Minnesota on Saturday. They will play their first home game the following Tuesday against the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings.
A pair of tough initial matchups won’t allow the Avalanche to slowly acquire their sea-legs, they’ll need to be ready by opening night. The abbreviated season also puts extra onus on each team to come out of the gates fast.
“That sense of urgency, you’ll see that right from day one of camp and you’ll see it carry over through the 48-game season,” Sacco said. “Every team is in the same boat here. Every team wants to get out of the gates running here and we are in the same predicament.”
But what they’ll be lacking in preparation, they’ll make up in youth and passion.
“Guys are going hard and guys are aware they we have to come out flying right away here,” asserted Landeskog.