BED­NAR DE­FENDS TEAM’S SYS­TEM

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

Jared Bed­nar was hired as Avalanche coach in part be­cause gen­eral man­ager Joe Sa­kic liked what he heard as Bed­nar out­lined his push-the-pace sys­tem.

But with Colorado likely to fin­ish the cal­en­dar year with the fewest points in the 30-team NHL, it seems fair to say it isn’t work­ing with this team.

The Avalanche also went into Thurs­day night’s game against Toronto with the fewest goals in the league and has been plagued by er­rors lead­ing to odd-man rushes the other way. Bed­nar isn’t back­ing off. “There’s only one way to re­ally play the game,” Bed­nar said af­ter the morn­ing skate. “You have to be able to play fast. No one in the league is try­ing to slow the game down. No one in the league is try­ing to tip­toe around the perime­ter.

“Now, there’s a hand­ful of dif­fer­ent sys­tems guys use, they’re mix-and-match around the league. But you have to find a way to ex­e­cute them and play with pace, play faster and get to the dirty ar­eas to score goals. And then you need your guys to make plays in cer­tain ar­eas.”

Christ­mas break. Per­haps a break — or two or three — will do the Avalanche some good.

The NHL col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment calls for a three-day Christ­mas shut­down Satur­day through Mon­day, with nei­ther prac­tices nor games al­lowed, and then the Avalanche faces Cal­gary at home Tues­day night.

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