Derick Brassard would have liked a little warmup. After scoring a goal in his Avalanche debut Monday night — approximately 11 hours after switching locker rooms at the Pepsi Center — the Avs’ new forward from the Florida Panthers revealed he hadn’t skated in the previous three days.
The Panthers didn’t have a morning skate Saturday before an afternoon game against the visiting Los Angeles Kings — a game Brassard was scratched because of his likely trade — and Florida didn’t practice Sunday after arriving in Denver.
Brassard, a pending unrestricted free agent/attractive “rental,” really wanted a morning skate at the Pepsi Center to either prepare for his next game for another team or the Panthers’ game against the Avs if his trade didn’t unfold.
He got neither, and just “five seconds” after hopping on the ice for Monday’s morning skate he was pulled off and told he was traded to the Avalanche. He was expecting to catch a flight but instead switched locker rooms and spent the afternoon dealing with another move. Brassard was traded from Pittsburgh to Florida on Feb. 1, before the Panthers played themselves out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
“It wasn’t great. I didn’t skate for three days before (Monday). So I was really hoping I could go on the ice this morning and move around a little bit,” Brassard said after the Panthers’ 4-3 overtime victory over the Avs. “I just tried to prepare myself to play a game tonight, trying to keep it simple. The first period, I had some butterflies out there. (But) the guys made it really easy for me. They make me feel really comfortable around the room.”
Brassard said he woke up at 6 a.m. from his Denver hotel Monday and didn’t get in an afternoon nap because of the logistics surrounding his trade. He came to Denver for a hockey game but is now looking for a place to live.
“I wanted to know where I was going. I haven’t been asleep since 6 o’clock this morning. It’s been a long day, a lot of stress involved in that,” Brassard said. “I’m looking forward to relaxing tonight. I really enjoyed my first game (with the Avs). I wish we would have got the two points. We didn’t play a bad game. (But) I think we could play a little bit better.”
Footnotes. The Avalanche is scheduled to take Tuesday off before Wednesday’s morning skate at the Pepsi Center, where it hosts the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night. … With the point Monday, the Avs have collected points in nine of their last 11 games. They are 4-0-1 in its last five games and 5-1-1 over its last seven. … Colorado right winger Mikko Rantanen had a goal Monday to tie Nathan MacKinnon for the team lead in points (80). Rantanen is four points shy of his career high, set last season in his second year. He and MacKinnon are tied for fourth in the league in points.