The National Hockey League has officially entered Phase 3 of their Return to Play and with teams now several days into what effectively are shortened NHL training camps, the intensity is beginning to pick up on the ice.
The best example of that on Saturday came courtesy of Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar who was obviously not impressed with the level of effort he was seeing, or has been seeing, from his troops. It was the lack of physicality that Bednar was seeing from his players that set the coach off, although it is unclear just how physical he is expecting to see his players get with one another during such a condensed and unorthodox training camp.
"We're going to learn to fucking check to win fucking hockey games ... If you don't believe it ... We're going to be coming home and fucking golfing."
It seems the message from Bednar has reached the players though, The Athletic's Ryan S. Clark published a short clip on social media that shows a big hit followed up by some lumber to the back. The player on the receiving end however appears slow to get up and I don't think it would be in the best interest of the Avalanche to beat themselves up too bad before they head into the playoffs.
Bednar is obviously just trying to get the most out of his team in the limited time that he has to get them prepared for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and given the promise his players showed during the regular season the expectations are no doubt at an all time high for the Avs bench boss. That puts a ton of pressure on the shoulders of a coach who has never gone beyond the 2nd round of the playoffs at the NHL level. Bednar knows the opportunity this team has within their grasp and no doubt intends to make the best of it.