He has been the Avalanche’s best defenseman to this point in the season. Bo Byram was showing everybody why he was a lottery pick by the Avalanche in 2019, off to an all-star worthy start. Now, he’s on the injured list again from another unpenalized hit to the head.
The Avalanche’s 7-1 demolition of the Vancouver Canucks Thursday night at Ball Arena was overshadowed by the first-period injury to Byram, who took an elbow to the face from Vancouver’s Bo Horvat and immediately skated off to the dressing room, not to be seen again for the rest of the night.
We’ll all have to wait for official word from the team on his prognosis, but Byram already has a concussion history, so that’s the big worry, that he has another one.
“He’ll get re-evaluated in the morning,” Jared Bednar said. “He left the game after the hit. We’ll see what the symptoms are.”
The Avs went out and got 6-foot-5 Kurtis MacDermid to, if not prevent, at least address this kind of stuff from opponents. Trouble is, MacDermid was in street clothes for this game as a healthy scratch, and nobody laid a hand on Horvat the rest of the way for injuring one of Colorado’s best young players. So, yeah, the Avs won the game, but now they figure to be without Byram for a while, and who knows for how long?
The debate will rage among hardcore Avs fans as to whether the team takes too much bullying from opponents and doesn’t do enough to prevent it – or whether this is just all bad luck. Either way, Avs fans are very frustrated – by the lack of a good physical pounding of opponents and also the lack of justice from the NHL Department of Player Safety, which has not given the Avs a ruling in their favor in quite a while.
I’ll come out and say it: Yes, I think the Avs just take it too much, and don’t fight back enough. And, even in the tamed-down NHL of today when it comes to frontier justice, that just encourages opponents to keep bullying them physically. This team needs more of a Mel Gibson-Braveheart mentality. “You take out one of our guys, we’re damn well going to take out one of yours, maybe two.”
It’s time for this team to get Old Testament.
Horvat should have gotten his tonight, after that elbow – intentional or not. Instead, the Avs just let him have a nice, easy rest of the game.
Nice guys finish last. This team needs to stop being so damn nice.
OTHER NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS
- Devon Toews has made a big difference since coming back. He’s a great player. One goal, one assist tonight, great defense.
- Nice first game back for Alex Newhook. I thought he played well, with an assist and strong skating overall.
- Sam Girard – two assists and a plus-3. Excellent game.
- Byram was a plus-2 in the 4:56 he played.
- The Canucks looked absolutely awful. I’ve heard, from a couple longtime hockey sources, that coach Travis Green is in real trouble if things don’t turn around soon.
- Mikko Rantanen was great tonight. He’s just an elite player when he’s focused and healthy.
Terry Frei contributed to this report