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Dater column: Avs win, but lose Bo Byram again – and need to start fighting back



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.”

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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.


  • 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

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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Aaron Hinton

“We’ll celebrate goals together, boys, but other than that you f’ers are on your own”


Aaron Hinton

Gutless punks putting a minus beside comments…have a little backbone and respond!


A few thoughts: Avs seemed a little less tense with Mac out. We saw this last year. He’s intense and maybe having him sit lets the team take a breath. But it will get tough once they exhale. Jost just gets rubbed off the play, time and time again. I like his potential, but he just gets pushed around. Logan OC proves tonight that hard work gets results. Toews is more important to the success of this team than maybe everyone but Mac and Rants. Rants has the tools to be one of the top 5 players in the league… Read more »


Toews is hugely important to this team and especially to the defense,, but it’s Landeskog who makes this team go,, more so than Rantanen and MacKinnon… just look at their record when Landeskog isn’t playing.. it’s not particularly good..


Hate to say it but It looked like the elbow was unintentional to me, the puck seemed to be close to horvats skates and he raised his elbow to change the stick angle to get to the puck. He wasn’t even looking at Byram. I think it was just bad luck for Byram and the Avs. I really hope Byram is ok and does not have another concussion. As for the Avs doing some frontier justice on Horvat, who in the line up do you want to step up and do the fighting? Not Landeskog or Kadri, they are quite… Read more »

John Mauss

Hockeyhead, your comments are right on. AD, I agree with the points you make overall, but this incident would be the wrong one to choose to start fighting back. It seems pretty clear to me that Horvat’s hit was unintentional. Poolman’s stick swing to Sherwood’s head–now there is where someone should have fought back.

Yan Girard

Intentional or not, it takes a fighting back to slow down of the opponent. This sends a clear message at all NHL teams. You cann’t let it go. A team not easy to play against doesn’t let it go.


Don’t panic just yet.. Could be just precautionary after having his bell rung..
Let’s see what happens tomorrow..


Horvat doesn’t deserve to be retaliated against for that. There was no intention or malice there. Unfortunately, this time BB was just unlucky.

Yan Girard

I agree perfectly A.D. It takes at least a guy able to play hockey, able to skate and able to fight back without it being Landeskog, Mackinnon, Rantanen and Kadri that are in the fight. Usually, it’s the kind of player that you find on the 3th or 4th line. The problem with Avs, it’s that these players are on the 2 first lines. Moreover, I believe that Byram must learn to better protect yourself in the game. I don’t think that let it be a coincidence this second hit at the head. Byram is very young and starts his… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Alexander A.
Ryan Krueger

Problem is 2 of our most likely retaliators, Kadri and Landy, have a suspension history and should understandably be cautious. I too think the elbow was inadvertent but I agree w/AD that the league hasn’t done the Avs any favors in a long time.


I agree. Landy was just suspended for trying to finish a check on a guy, when the player went down and it looked worse than what the captain intended. MacKinnon never hesitates to drop the gloves, but no team wants their top player in the sin bin for that much time. Kadri had a great hit in the game too. I agree that the elbow was unintentional, and Byram needs to learn to protect himself better .. and you can add Makar to that lesson. It’s great that the boys buckled down and decisively won a hockey game with Mac… Read more »


Beyond frustrated, he is a rare find and will be a star unless he continues to have head injuries. He’s like the little brother out there, tearing it up. Intentional or not, the attitude should be, ‘touch the kid and you will pay a painful price’. Control your elbows, control your stick, dont freaking touch the kid…

Last edited 1 year ago by GWood

This. Don’t touch the Kid!

Bob Neal

Agree that somebody needs to retaliate (I thought it looked like an intentional high elbow), but the only one on the ice capable of doing anything is Jack Johnson. Once again I agree with Yan in that Byram needs to go into a collision a bit more in control. I’d hate to see his career shortened due to concussions as he has such a brilliant future in front of him. However, let’s not lose track of how well the Av’s played and wonder why they looked so much better than in previous games. A bit baffling as to why.

Bob Neal

AD, Editorial comment but you always confuse me when you put a minus sign in front of the players plus/minus rating. Saying the player was “plus-3” always make me think he was -3. Can you say “+3” or “plus 3” to keep the dimwitted from having a coronary?


There’s the big picture too, Adrian. Avs play the Canucks again. And there is no place to hide…

[…] Avs win but lose Bo Byram to injury. The misery continues in […]

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