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Catching up: News & notes

August 28, 2019, 4:54 PM ET [5 Comments]
Rick Sadowski
Colorado Avalanche Blogger •Avalanche Insider • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Just got back from a two-week family vacation, so trying to catch up.

Not much happened while we were away, the most significant news that restricted free agent Mikko Rantanen remains unsigned. More on that in a bit.

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Altitude TV, which televises Avalanche games and those of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Rapids, is in a dispute with its three main distributors – Comcast, DIRECTV and Dish Network. Contracts with all three are set to expire this week without an agreement in place, putting game broadcasts in jeopardy.

“Although Altitude has been negotiating with the three distributors in good faith for fair market rates, and for terms and conditions no different than the ones under which each of those distributors have been carrying Altitude since its initial launch fifteen years ago, all three distributors have so far refused Altitude’s offers,” Altitude stated Wednesday in a release.

The terms being requested by each distributor would make “Altitude’s business unsustainable,” the release said.

Comcast, in a statement to the Denver Post, claimed Altitude has “demanded significant annual price increases” throughout the duration of their 15-year agreement.

The Avalanche open regular-season play on Thursday, Oct. 3, against Calgary at the Pepsi Center.

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Rantanen, 22, is expected to pass Nathan MacKinnon ($6.3 million cap charge through the 2022-23 season) as the team’s highest-paid player after collecting 87 points (31 goals, 56 assists) in 74 games last season, with 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 12 playoff games.

The Avalanche have about $16 million in projected salary-cap space, according to capfriendly.com.

General manager Joe Sakic told reporters that he spoke with Rantanen by phone and said both parties would prefer a longtime deal. Rantanen is represented by Mike Liut.

“I don’t want to do (a) bridge (contract),” Sakic said. “I talked to Mikko and I’m certain he would prefer long-term as well. I didn’t call him about negotiations, but just to see how his summer was going and telling him we’re looking to do long term. Not negotiating or anything. That’s for myself and Mike Luit. I just wanted to touch base.”

Avalanche veterans are scheduled to report to the Pepsi Center on Thursday, Sept. 12, for medicals and physical tests. The first on-ice training camp sessions begin the next day at Family Sports in Centennial.

“We want him here for training camp,” Sakic said. “No one needs the distraction.”

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First-round draft picks Bowen Byram (2019) and Martin Kaut (2018) are among the rookies who will take part at the Anaheim Rookie Faceoff at Great Park Ice in Irvine, Calif., from Sept. 7-10.

Defenseman Conor Timmins, who missed all last season while recovering from post-concussion issues, is scheduled to participate. So will goalie Adam Werner, who will play for the AHL Colorado Eagles.

The rookies will practice at Family Sports on Friday, Sept. 6, before leaving for California. They’ll play Vegas, Los Angeles, Arizona and Anaheim in the rookie tournament.



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