With fewer than ten games to go on the season, the Colorado Avalanche are making their final surge towards what would be an incredible turnaround — and their first playoff appearance since the 2013-2014 season.

Powering that surge is a head coach who is pulling all the right levers in Jared Bednar and a potential Hart Trophy winner in Nathan MacKinnon.

In an interview with Les Shapiro and Ronnie Kohrt of Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7, Altitude Television’s Kyle Keefe talks about the pair and how the NHL cognoscenti should put them in the mix for the league’s greatest honors.

“If it’s not the head coach in Vegas (Gerard Gallant,) it’s Jared Bednar in the conversation for the Jack Adams (coach of the year). You just can’t possibly take your team to 48 points to 88 points with nine games to go, and not have a massive impact on the feeling on the locker room.”

Keefe says that the tough situation that Bednar jumped into last year made it almost impossible to craft an immediate winner.

“Last year, it was tough because he came in so late (that) it was hard to build a system and a trust. You know you’re living with these guys. It’s family, and I know that’s cheesy, but you need to know the ebbs and flows, and when a guy is pissed and when he’s not, and how to handle criticism — and that takes time.”

As time has passed, Bednar’s chemistry with his players is working and Keefe says the players have grown to like him. “There’s something that goes on between a coach and a player that you can’t really speak of, and I think the boys in the locker room respect him and like him, the front office likes him. He’s got to be 1-2 for Jack Adams.”

But while the coach should in the line for some potential hardware, Keefe says that another Avalanche member could also be looking at hardware once this season is finished. “What Nathan MacKinnon has done this year from a personal standpoint — the way he has matured to the media, to his teammates, about leading by example, talking by example, practicing by example, and more importantly producing by example — has made this team so much better,” Keefe said.

“[MacKinnon] has made them more stronger. And hands down, he will be the Hart trophy winner if the Colorado Avalanche make the playoffs, 100 percent.”

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