Not many regular players participated in the Colorado Avalanche optional practice today, but Bo Byram was one of them. Byram, in fact, has been cleared to play again for the Avs.
Will he play in Game 2 of the Avs’ first-round playoff series against St. Louis tonight? I doubt it. Jared Bednar usually doesn’t make any lineup changes after his team wins, and throwing Byram in for a Game 2, when the last game he played was March 25 against Vegas, might be asking a little too much.
Yet, it’s got to be nice for Bednar to know he has the fourth overall pick from the 2019 draft at his disposal if the need arises. Conor Timmins only played eight minutes, 44 seconds in Game 1 and he’d probably be the guy I’d say would come out of the lineup in favor of Byram, 19.
But, again, I doubt Bo Byram plays in Game 2. Timmins is a right-hand shot, and I know Bednar likes to have a couple of them in his lineup. Timmins has played pretty well of late, too, though there were a couple of hiccups in his game last night. Timmins threw a blind, backhand pass up the middle from behind his net in the first period, which was picked off by the Blues and led to a good scoring chance. That might explain why Timmins’ playing time seemed to lessen after that.
Here’s Jared Bednar on Bo Byram: “He’s cleared to play I guess, and he’s an option to play whenever we want to use him.”
Byram’s absence was always listed as because of an “upper-body” injury, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce he probably had concussion symptoms after a leaping hit from Vegas’ Keegan Kolesar in that March 25 game. Just like Matt Calvert was doing, Byram is wearing a pink-tinted visor, designed to act as a bit of a sunglasses type of protection against the glare from arena lights, which can aggravate concussion symptoms.
NOTEBOOK: Bednar said he wants to see his team get out to a better start than in Game 1. “Bit of a slow start, gave up a couple of good scoring chances.” That goes for overall too. “Last half of the second period, I didn’t like our game at all. We didn’t manage the puck well enough. There’s some adjustments and corrections that we have to make. Hustling back for pucks, we kind of wandered back and invited pressure and then didn’t get out of it. I think you have to have a little more urgency going back for pucks and making sure that our puck play is cleaner. … Blues coach Craig “Chief” Berube said David Perron remains in Covid-19 protocol. He’s not expected to play in Game 2. Many believe, in fact, he is in St. Louis, in quarantine or close to it. … Bednar said while Patrik Nemeth had a couple of turnovers last night, he remains solidly in the lineup because of his work on the penalty kill. “He does things on the PK that none of our other D do.” … Said Alex Newhook of his first NHL playoff game: “The intensity level definitely rises. … I’m pretty focused on what the task is right now. It’s really, only hockey. Just want to do what I can to help the team in the playoffs.” … Timmins on the crowd last night: “It was definitely noticeable for us as players. I think it gave us an edge against them.” … Cale Makar said it felt like it was “packed” in the building last night.