Avalanche and Blue Jackets back in training ahead of Global Series

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HELSINKI– The business part of the NHL World Series trip for the Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets began on Tuesday.

Each team had a lively practice at a local municipal rink as preparations for regular season games at Nokia Arena in Tampere on Friday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, ALT, BSOH, SN NOW) and Saturday got underway in earnest. , one day after each team arrived here.

The Avalanche hit the ice first and practiced for over an hour. It was the first time they had skated since a 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday.

“Our schedule is a bit strange,” coach Jared Bednar said. “We had days off stacked on days off, so it’s really good to be able to put the guys on the ice today.

[RELATED: More 2022 NHL Global Series Finland coverage]

“We have another day off tomorrow. We’re trying to find a bit of a rhythm here and the training time will help us in that respect. We wanted to make sure we got the job done today before taking tomorrow.”

The players adopted it. Many stayed long after practice was over, working on skills or having a little fun.

Colorado defender Devon Toews said there was a sense of urgency for the Avalanche (4-4-1) to get their game back after back-to-back losses to the New Jersey Devils (1-0 Friday) and Islanders.

While the Avalanche players are excited to have the day off Wednesday to sightsee and enjoy what the city has to offer, they also know it leaves them with a free practice at Nokia Arena on Thursday before facing the Blue Jackets.

“We still have a few days left and I think we’ll need it,” Toews said. “It’s good to be on the ice here today. … We are on a long journey here. We have already been away from home for quite some time and adding this extra trip is hard for us to manage. But at the end of the day we’re here to try to win two games and we have to get back to our game.”

Video: Bednar, Toews and Newhook discuss the World Series

The Blue Jackets (3-7-0) are also eager to resume their game. They lost 7-1 to the Devils on Sunday and have had that sour taste ever since.

Their job on Tuesday was the beginning of the cleanup process leading up to two games against the defending Stanley Cup champion.

“The legs are starting to crush us”, attacker Jack Roslovic said. “We are a serious team and we have to start playing a bit better.”

That’s the message coach Brad Larsen has been preaching since the Blue Jackets arrived in Finland.

“We’re in the regular season, it’s not pre-season,” he said. “Every game counts, especially where we are at the moment.”

That said, Larsen still wants his players to enjoy the moment. He pointed the way Patrick Laine skated on Tuesday, almost dancing on the ice. Laine is from Tampere and will be playing in front of family and friends this weekend.

“It’s a pretty exciting journey for a lot of guys, some guys who are from here,” Larsen said. “For us, as a team, as an organization, it’s a great experience.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity for the team to take advantage of what Finland has to offer, but we have to make sure we’re focused when we have our training time and prepare for the games. matches.”

They have a pretty good role model in the Avalanche, who Bednar says is a master at balancing competing demands to enjoy the process and be ready when needed.

“I like to think that’s how we try to get through the whole season,” Bednar said. “You know, it’s a long season. It’s a tough season. Obviously the game is the most important thing and you have to be focused and prepared for those games.

“But we want our guys to enjoy each other’s company and to be able to get out there and be able to do things and enjoy things off the ice as well. It’s special.”

Photo courtesy of: Columbus Blue Jackets

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