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Avalanche Training Camp: Compher Stands Out!

Hello from Magness Arena, where a Zamboni is out there right now resurfacing the ice following the Colorado Avalanche annual Burgundy-White game. This, after J.T. Compher wiped the competition on the same ice Sunday.

Compher, no question about it, was the No. 1 star of the game. He scored two goals – one a hard-to-the-net rebound putback against a rusty-looking Semyon Varlamov, and the other a pinpoint slap shot to the top left corner from the right circle. He helped his White team to an easy 6-2 win.

Compher was his usual “I don’t want to talk about myself, just about my team” unsmiling self after the game. “Intense” is definitely the word to best describe the ginger-haired 22-year-old from Northbrook, Ill. Compher’s idea of fun this summer was to punish himself every day in the Michigan area under the auspices of a new trainer and skills coach, Brandon Naurato. Compher was never slow, but he looks noticeably quicker than during his first season split between San Antonio and the Avs.

“I skated with (Naurato) for about eight weeks, working on a lot of stuff to help create space for myself, and a lot of shooting. It definitely helped pay off today,” Compher said.

Compher skated on lines with several players, but started the day centering a line with A.J. Greer and Nail Yakupov.

“J.T. is skating noticeably well,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “He had two perfect shots today. He’s moving real well and that’s why he’s getting a few more chances.”

Yakupov, who is on a one-year “prove-it” contract with the Avs (for more on his thoughts of making the team, click here), was another shining star on the day. He finished with two assists, both of the high-skill variety. He slipped a nice little lead pass to Compher for his right-circle snipe and dished some sweet sauce to Travis Barron on a 2-on-1 that the prospect finished off.

Other news, notes and observations from the game:

  • Andrei Mironov, the former KHL defender, did himself a lot of good Sunday. He scored a goal on a big slap shot and nearly scored on a similar shot, and generally looked steady in his own end. Bednar said Mironov seems to be slowing the game down a little better in his mind, not quite the scrambly, nervous-looking guy of the rookie showcase last weekend in San Jose.
  • Bednar said Chris Bigras, vying for a depth spot on the Avs’ defensive group, was just “OK” in the game. Bigras had a couple of turnovers and mishandled the puck a couple of other times. Bednar seemed more upbeat about the play of fellow rookie hopeful Duncan Siemens, who was very physical and jumped into the play offensively at times too.
  • Barron scored two goals, including an empty-netter, and has looked solid so far in camp and in the showcase. He won’t make the club out of camp, but he’s shown well as a big winger.
  • D-man David Warsofsky had a good day, scoring one of Burgundy’s two goals and playing a fast game with the puck.
  • Varlamov looked, well, not great. He allowed five goals on 28 shots and just seemed rusty. But he seemed to move well enough, and he was hung out to dry a couple of times by a Burgundy defense that struggled.
  • Sven Andrighetto scored the other Burgundy goal and was slippery with the puck most of the day.
  • Brady Shaw needed some help off the ice after taking a big hit. He seemed to have suffered a possible head injury, but there was no immediate word on this condition.
  • Alex Kerfoot had a quiet day on the score sheet and nearly gave Burgundy a gift goal when a back pass in his own zone was intercepted for a mini-breakaway. He did make a couple of nice passes, but overall he probably won’t remember the day with great fondness.


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