Avalanche's Cole: 'We can beat any team in this league' in 7-game series
Bill Wippert / National Hockey League / Getty

Ian Cole is confident his Colorado Avalanche could defeat any NHL club in a traditional playoff matchup.

The veteran defenseman, who's won two championships with the Pittsburgh Penguins, said he's all for the reported return-to-play proposal, or for any format that allows the paused season to resume.

"I like to keep it simple: Whatever gets us back and playing, I'm 100% for," Cole told the Denver Post's Mike Chambers on Thursday. "Whether that's 16 teams, 24 teams - 30 teams, 31 teams - whatever gets us back and playing."

"You only have so many opportunities to be on a really great team that has a very legitimate chance, and I view us as a team that has a very legitimate chance to win (the) Stanley Cup," Cole continued. "I look around at all the teams in the league, and, obviously, I'm quite a bit biased, but I think we can beat any team in this league in a seven-game series."

The 31-year-old, who helped the Penguins win back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017, is in favor of the reported wrinkle in the potential format that would pit the top four teams in each conference against each other in a round-robin tournament to determine their seeding before they face the winners of best-of-five series involving the other 16 clubs.

"I like competing for that top spot in the conference," Cole said. "If we are able to do that, that's something we'd like to do."

That shouldn't come as much of a surprise, considering that at the time of the pause, the Avalanche ranked second in the Western Conference behind the St. Louis Blues in terms of both total points (two back with one fewer game played) and - more importantly - points percentage (total points divided by maximum possible points).

On Friday night, the NHLPA's executive board agreed to hold more talks with the league regarding its 24-team return-to-play proposal.

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Avalanche's Cole: 'We can beat any team in this league' in 7-game series
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