Versatile winger Andre Burakovsky and the Avalanche are set to embark on a four-game southern California road trip this week, marking the club’s first travel since it returned from the Edmonton playoff bubble.
While no longer confined to a secure setting, NHL road trips are now bubbles unto themselves.
Players are banned from dining at restaurants on the road, shopping at stores outside the hotel and using transportation not directly provided by the team. The same hotel in each city is used for all NHL teams playing there, so protocols are in place before they arrive.
“I think the bubble thing in Edmonton was tougher,” Burakovsky said on a video conference call after Monday’s practice at Family Sports Center. “We were there for two months. Now we’re only going to be gone for a week, and then we go back home and be in our house, apartments, whatever, sleep in your own bed. We’re not going to be gone for very long.”
The Avs (1-1) play the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday and Thursday at the Staples Center before bussing to Anaheim and facing the Ducks on Friday and Sunday at Honda Center.
Burakovsky, who began the season as the left winger on the first line but was switched to right wing on the second line in the two-game series finale against St. Louis, has offered an early spark thus far with goals in both Avs games.
Thanks to an ambidextrous element to his game, Burakovsky is like a switch hitter in baseball. He can play on the right wing just as well as the left. Most players like to accept passes while skating up ice on their forehand, but Burakovsky, a lefty, has similar confidence in accepting them on his backhand when he’s on the right wing.
Mikko Rantanen is another lefty who prefers the right side — particularly because of his one-time slap shot from the right circle in the offensive zone. That shot isn’t available to lefties on the left side.
“I’m really comfortable with both sides,” Burakovsky said. “Doesn’t really matter where I’m playing, left or right. I’ve been playing both my whole life so it doesn’t really matter. Maybe the right side a little bit more dangerous because I can cut into the middle and shoot. But I like both.”
Burakovsky is tied with Gabe Landeskog with a team-leading two goals after two games. Those two wingers have swapped spots in the first and second lines in a movement that began last season and will likely continue at times.
Footnote. Avs coach Jared Bednar was not made available Monday to take questions about the practice, which was closed to media. He is scheduled to speak on a video conference call after Tuesday’s morning skate in L.A.
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