It was an optional skate today and not much was revealed in the way of who all was on the ice. We do know that missing defensemen Cale Makar and Bo Byram, as well as forward J.T. Compher were all on the ice when Avs head coach Jared Bednar addressed the media.
“I should know later today if they’re available tomorrow or not, or I should know after this skate, but they’re all on the ice right now,” Bednar said.
Stand-in Avs D-man Dan Renouf was put on waivers Wednesday morning, in a move that might suggest Bo Byram may be coming back.
“It helps clear cap space to be able to activate guys,” Bednar added. “We haven’t sent Renouf down. We put him on waivers, but we haven’t sent him down or put him on the taxi squad or done any of that at this point.”
I do believe Bednar legitimately doesn’t know if Byram, Makar or Compher will be ready for tomorrow’s tilt against Minnesota…but I also do believe that sending Renouf to the taxi squad—or at the very least, readying for Renouf to be sent there—is a pretty good indication that one of Byram or Makar will be ready to rock. My money’s on the former.
On the note of Avs defense, I asked coach Bednar about how his conversation went with Hunter Miska, who is coming off a rough, rough outing on Tuesday night. Bednar’s answer was insightful, open and honest, and genuine.
“I did talk with him this morning, and it wasn’t that long,” Bednar told Colorado Hockey Now. “He had a tough night; he’s had a couple tough nights. He’s a young guy and goalies take a long time to develop. I love his attitude; I like his work ethic; he’s a great teammate; he wants to get better; he’s willing to learn and he’s putting that time in.
“He hasn’t played since February, so I wasn’t expecting miracles out of this guy. It’s not an ideal situation. I don’t know if he’s ready to be an NHL backup at this point, but he’s been a good option for us and I just want him to keep working and trying to get better. We’re not going to indict him on a couple bad games, nor are we going to sign him to a five-year deal if he pitched a shutout. It’s not how we operate. It’s a constant evaluation and I just want him to keep his head up, not worry about it, put that behind him and get ready for his next start, whenever that is.”
Other news and notes:
- As we reach the halfway mark of the season, Bednar said “I’m pretty happy with our first half” and “likes where we’re at.”
- Cont.: “I think we could’ve been better than our start. I think our record didn’t indicate how we were playing…we’re starting to find our footing from an offensive standpoint. We have some guys that can still produce more than they are and we’re starting to get healthy. For the most part, I’m pretty happy with what we’re doing.
- Bednar also answered some questions about that status of Erik Johnson, and it’s, uh, concerning: “The longer he’s out, the more concern I have about if, when he’s able to come back. If he’s able to come back there’s a conditioning factor, and we’re already halfway through the season now.”
- Avs captain Gabe Landeskog, noted best friend of Johnson, said this: “We really miss EJ. I really feel bad for him because he’s had some of the worst luck the past couple seasons with injury. It just sucks to see one of your teammates go down, especially one of your best friends. He’s really missed around the locker room and on the plane and everything. I can’t really speak for him or reveal anything he’s told me, but I’ll tell you he’s definitely missed.”
- On the note of injured guys, absolutely not update on Goaltender Pavel Francouz
- Landeskog said some nice things about Devon Toews, too: “Toews has been a pleasant surprise…everybody was saying he’s a great pickup and he’s come in and really led our team on the back in. He never gives up on a play; he’s always in the right spot.” Bednar raved about him too.
We’ll know after morning skate tomorrow about the status of Byram, Makar or Compher, and whether or not they’ll be an option for tomorrow night’s game against the Minnesota Wild. My money’s on Byram back in the lineup. I’ll put it at +150 odds.