Good news on Darcy Kuemper: No concussion, just a sore neck, and assuming he feels the way he does now, he’ll start Thursday night for the Colorado Avalanche in Los Angeles against the Kings.
So said coach Jared Bednar this morning, on his weekly radio show on Altitude Radio. That means Pavel Francouz will get the start tonight against the Anaheim Ducks, as the Avs start the first of back-to-back games in SoCal.
Kuemper, as we all know now, had to leave Monday’s game against Minnesota after he was run into by Wild forward Jordan Greenway, who escaped any further punishment from the league.
Bednar weighed in on that non-suspension as well, to Vic Lombardi:
No punishment for Greenway on the Kuemper hit. Here's what
Jared Bednar told us on @AltitudeSR 92.5.
"I disagree with that. The goalie is supposed to be protected inside the blue paint. Kuemper is inside the blue paint….."
"On this one I'm a little baffled".
— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) January 19, 2022
I saw a couple of pundits say that Greenway was pushed into Kuemper some by Kurtis MacDermid. Um, not at all. Big Mac gave Greenway a little jab in the back with his stick, but well before the actual collision took place. There was no forward momentum from that little love tap, to where Greenway couldn’t help hit him or anything.
The first-place Avs will take on an Anaheim team that is starting to fall in the standings, after a much better-than-expected start. The Ducks have lost three in a row and are 2-6-2 in the last 10. The odds on the game reflect the current trendlines of each team, as the Avs are a -245 favorite to beat Anaheim at SuperBook Colorado – quite a betting line for a road team.
The Ducks have been badly affected by Covid protocols for some top players, however, and that will be the case again tonight, as former DU star (and now NHL All-Star) Troy Terry and No. 1 defenseman Cam Fowler won’t play because of the protocol. Goalie John Gibson should be available to play tonight, though, after a Covid stint of his own.
For the Avs, Valeri Nichushkin remains in the protocol, but he could be available for tomorrow’s game if he tests out.