Avalanche defender Ian Cole is “100 percent” on the reported NHL proposal to skip the end of the regular season and go straight to a 24-team playoff to award the Stanley Cup in late August or early September .
As a two-time cup champion with Pittsburgh Penguins, Cole would vote for any plan that would give him a chance for a third crown. And he knows that the Avalanche is able to win its third cup in 24 years.
“To be honest, I like to keep it simple: whatever we come back and play for, I’m 100 percent for it. Whether that’s 16 teams, 24 teams – 30 teams, 31 teams – whatever brings us back and plays, I’m 100 percent on board, ”Cole said in a telephone interview with The Post.
In the plan proposed by NHL and NHL Players’ Association originally reported by Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the Avalanche is said to have been number 2 of the Western Conference and a bye during the five-game “play-in” round between seeds 5-12 in hub cities. In parallel with those games, played without fans in the stands, Colorado and the three other teams played with the top four regular season records of the West (St. Louis, Vegas, Dallas) to determine the numbers. 1-4 seeds.
The Avs may be able to take the Blues for the West’s No. 1 off the saddle when the traditional seven-team, sixteen-team run begins.
“I like to compete for that top position in the conference,” said Cole. “If we can do that, we would like to do that.”
He added, “You only have so many chances to be part of a really great team that has a very legitimate chance, and I consider us a team that has a very legitimate chance of winning a Stanley Cup. I look around at all the teams in the league, and I’m obviously biased, but I think we can beat every team in this league in a series of seven games. I’ve been lucky enough to win two Stanley Cups, but I don’t want to do anything but a third, then a fourth, then a fifth. I think a lot of guys on this team mimic that. ‘
Cole and his wife have been in Denver while interrupting the game and training at home and in nearby parks. He said the Avalanche has not yet planned small-group skate players in the area, but that could happen once South Suburban Ice Arena and others are opened to private skates of no more than 10 people on the ice at once.
The Avs’ exercise facility, Family Sports Center, is part of South Suburban Parks and Recreation.
Cole’s current workouts are what he couldn’t do a year ago after two hip surgeries.
“I’m lucky to have a home gym here. I have a stationary (bike), a pack and all the weights I would ever need,” he said. “I do cycling, a lot of weightlifting, a lot of grass days, track days, in the park. It was very good as I didn’t really have a chance to train last summer … So I took this opportunity to keep an (out of season) training camp with myself and get in good shape and really be ready to go play off time. ‘
When the playoff time unfolds, it will be like nothing anyone has ever seen. No fans but almost 100 percent healthy line-ups.
“I’m sure everyone is working hard to come back, and I know guys feel better,” Cole said of his teammates. “That will be a unique aspect of this particular year. You will have each team largely healthy. You will see the healthiest playoffs the league has ever seen. Which can lead to a pretty great product.”
And play without fans?
“Obviously, with the way it is now, it’s hard to be picky,” said Cole. “I think you want to get the league in the best possible situation and get some of that income back, and if it’s not for fans, it will be.
“Like I said, I’m pretty straightforward. I just want to come back and win a Stanley Cup.”