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Avalanche's Focus Shifting To Chicago

With Preseason In The Books, Team Looks Ahead To Opening Night

Sunday, 10.03.2010 / 4:00 PM / Features
By Aaron Lopez  - Special to ColoradoAvalanche.com
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Avalanche\'s Focus Shifting To Chicago
With the preseason now in the books, the focus begins to shift.

In talking to many of the Avalanche’s players over the past two weeks, the common theme was that the club was focused solely on itself during its exhibition slate. They weren’t overly concerned about what their opponent’s roster would look like in their next game, or the strategies that those clubs might employ.

For the Avalanche, the preseason was all about coming together as a team and getting reacquainted with the speed of the NHL game.

Now, with only a few practices left before the season officially kicks off, it’s time for the Avs to fine-tune some things in their own game while also getting ready for opening night on Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

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“We’ve got to come together quick here and I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that through the preseason,” said Cody McLeod. “We just have to work hard this week and get ready for Thursday.”

Following Sunday’s skate, the Avalanche has two practice days remaining before the puck drops for real against the Blackhawks. In the meantime, it will be a matter of focusing on a bit of everything.

“We have to work on our systems, work on our special teams and just be ready,” said McLeod. “We have to be ready to go from the drop of the puck. I think this week is going to be a good week to get down to the basics, go over our systems a bit more and get ready for Chicago.”

According to forward Brandon Yip, the Avalanche will be focusing heavily on trying to improve a power play that struggled to score throughout the preseason. In an effort to remedy that, Sunday’s practice focused primarily on special teams.

“We’re getting the system down and getting a feel for who we’re playing with now,” said Yip. “We’ll work a lot on special teams and also focus on little things like getting the puck deep and forechecking. Things will happen from there if we do that.”

Hejduk Sits Out
Milan Hejduk did not take part in today’s practice and is considered day-to-day with a back injury.

“He still has a tight back, so he wasn’t on the ice today. I’m hopeful that he’s back on the next time we practice,” said Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco.

Charity Golf Classic
The Avalanche will not practice on Monday, as the players, coaches and staff will be participating in the organization’s annual Charity Golf Classic at The Ridge at Castle Pines North.

The sold-out tournament in a fundraiser from Kroenke Sports Charities, which funds the Avalanche community projects for children and families. Since its inception, this tournament has raised over $900,000 to benefit thousands of children and families in Colorado. And since the team has arrived in Denver, the Avalanche has granted nearly $12 million to Colorado non-profits.

Check back to ColoradoAvalanche.com on Monday afternoon to view a photo gallery from this year’s event.
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