CENTENNIAL, Colo. — After an emotional exit from Edmonton, the Colorado Avalanche are back skating on their home ice.
"We wanted to get them up and moving and get a sweat on," head coach Jared Bednar said.
A light practice to start what could be the team's longest series break of the postseason, after completing a sweep of the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Final on Monday night.
"The break is now longer or could be longer than it was after the Nashville series, but we'll handle it very similarly," he said. "When we come to work, we're going to work. When we give them rest, we'll give them rest."
The first day was an introduction back to the ice after a travel day on Tuesday and an off day on Wednesday. Bednar said he plans to have a high-speed practice on Friday to ramp up the intensity leading into what could be a full week before the next series starts in Denver.
JT Compher, who scored five goals in his last five games, said the recipe to the perfect balance of rest and ramping isn't written, but it is understood.
"Just going off feel, making sure that you're working hard enough that you keep that level and then on your off days, you're still taking care of yourself, knowing that it's going to be a big series coming up and it could take all seven games," Compher said.
After the last long layoff, Cale Makar said he had a hard time getting his legs back underneath him to start the second round. Bednar said that's a lesson each player needs to learn for himself.
"He knows what he needs, I'm not going to hold his hand to get ready," Bednar said. "Some guys like a lot of work, some guys like a little. We'll have our team work and then it's up to those guys to make sure they're sharp and ready."
Bednar said he liked the start his team gave in each of the series, winning game one against Nashville 7-2, showing grit against St. Louis 3-2 in overtime, and outlasting the 14-goal marathon 8-6 against Edmonton.
He said he's not concerned for his team's discipline or preparation heading into the final stretch.
"Our guys are dedicated, like I said, it's not like we have to hold their hands to get ready, we're going into the Stanley Cup Finals, they're doing everything they can to get ready to play and we're going to give them the information that we feel is pertinent and get the work on the ice in our team practices in what we feel is important going into the series," Bednar said.
The Stanley Cup Final will feature the winner of New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning. Game one will be at Ball Arena, but time and date is still TBD.
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