Avalanche Morning Skate Diary: Opening Night Lineup and Returning JoJo

We’ve all been waiting for this for three months… The Colorado Avalanche opening night is finally here! You’ve all waited what seems like an eternity since the last official Avalanche game, but that was only June 26! Tonight will be a night full of emotions for many fans and players. The third Stanley Cup banner will take its place in the rafters of the Ball Arena before the game, so be sure to arrive early. It’s been 21 years since the last was raised and this seems like a lifetime ago.

Tonight’s lineup is lower, but first some interviews with today’s players.

I talked to Ben Meyer after training to get the team out of camp.

“There was really never a sit-down conversation (about team building). I just kept coming to the rink every day and the rosters were due what, Sunday and I kept coming. So I kind of knew I had made it (laughs),” he said.

I asked him how the switch from center to wing had affected his game:

“I’ve played center for the past two years, but I’ve played on the wing before that. I think in professional hockey guys move around a lot, it’s part of the game and being versatile like that,” he said.

Meyers looks like he’s ready to play any forward position as long as he’s here.

Lukas Sedlak said while making the team:

“I guess I get nervous before every game,” he said.

When asked if he thought playing under coach Jared Bednar in 2016 helped make the team, he replied: “I probably don’t know. It’s more of a question for him. He’s the reason I chose to come to Colorado because I played for him (at Lake Erie). I know what to expect from him and he knows what to expect from me.

Sedlak and his coach Bednar won the 2016 AHL Calder Cup championship with the Lake Erie (now Cleveland) Monsters.

The Avalanche made one trade in the last 24 hours. It was a bit expected though. Jonas Johansson was claimed off waivers for the Arizona Coyotes. This is the THIRD time he has come to the team, either by trade or by derogation. He will be sent directly to the Colorado Eagles because he has already “cleared” waivers. He is expected to support or share goalkeeping duties with Justus Annunen. Minor of Trent will be sent to the ECHL Utah Grizzlies to make room.

The Avalanche did a dressing room remodel at the Ball Arena and I have to say, it’s classy.

Lines projected for opening night

Attackers

Lehkonen-MacKinnon-Rantanen

Nichushkin-Newhook-Rodrigues

Cogliano-Compher-LOC

Blidh-Sedlak-Meyers

Defenders

Makar Toews

Girard Manson

Byram-EJ

Goalkeepers

Georgiev – starter

Francouz

Grooves

MacDermid-MacDonald (red).

Petr Mrazek will be the starting goaltender for the Blackhawks. Colorado is a huge -400 favorite moneyline at SuperBook Colorado.

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