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Avs Notebook: Happy 50th Jared Bednar; Happy 1,000th game, Jack Johnson, Byram update




The Avalanche went through a full practice Monday at Ball Arena — still minus Bo Byram, who skated on his own earlier, but with everyone else on the current roster.

It also was the 50th birthday of coach Jared Bednar, and preparations were being made to salute defenseman Jack Johnson when he plays his 1,000th NHL game on Tuesday night.

What did Bednar have planned for his birthday?

“You’re looking at it,” he said.

My profile of Jared Bednar when he took over the Avalanche job.

Bednar first said there was no update he could provide on Byram, who has been on personal leave since mid-January as he deals with concussion issues.

But later, Bednar added: “He skated this morning. . . He was here this morning for a while, working out and skating. Again, whatever he feels comfortable doing.”

Translation: everything remains up to Byram, as the team is not “pushing” him to do anything.

Jack Johnson has been one of the season’s surprises, making the roster on a professional tryout and carving out a top-six niche in his 15th NHL season.

“It’s pretty special,” Bednar said of Johnson’s 1,000th game. “That’s why every team celebrates its guys that do it. It’s hard to do. Think about it. It’s really hard to do to stay healthy enough with the rigorous schedule that the NHL has. To be able to stay good enough to play for that long in a young man’s game and still make an impact, it’s difficult to do. you don’t see a lot of players do it. It’s a big night for him. Hopefully, he enjoys it.”

The Avs will play the New York Islanders Tuesday at home. Those who want to see Cal Clutterbuck and size him up for yourself, here’s your chance.

ANOTHER SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE?????: Dan Jacobs of FM 104.3 The Fan, the best darned sports talk host-Realtor-judge in Colorado, passed along the news that Magistrate Michael Hegarty has set a second  settlement conference in the Altitude-Comcast lawsuit for March 17th at 9:30am. A first settlement conference last week was not fruitful. Again, even if a settlement is reached, that doesn’t mean the Altitude broadcasts of Nuggets and Avalanche games would return to Comcast. It’s just the first hurdle. 

UKRAINIAN ROOTS: In 2004, I sat down with veteran Avs center Andrei Nikolishin and mostly listened, transfixed, as we talked about his family background, which had been brought to my attention, as in, “You should ask Andrei about …”

Nikolishin was born in Russia and only years later was told of his Ukraine-born father’s courageous battles to survive after a Nazi Germany invasion, time in Soviet gulags and forced labor in coal mines. 

My story ran on January 13, 2004.
It provides a hint, just a hint, of Russian-Ukrainian background, but is a reminder of the complex mosaic that is the NHL’s international cast.
It’s not tweeting the lines from practice or a morning skate.
Terry Frei (, @tfrei) is a Denver-based author and journalist. He has been named a state’s sportswriter of the year seven times in peer voting — four times in Colorado and three times in Oregon. His seven books include the novels “Olympic Affair” and “The Witch’s Season.” Among his five non-fiction works are “Horns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming,” “Third Down and a War to Go,” “March 1939: Before the Madness,” and “’77: Denver, the Broncos, and a Coming of Age.” He also collaborated with Adrian Dater on “Save By Roy,” was a long-time vice president of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and has covered the hockey Rockies, Avalanche and the NHL at-large. His web site is and his bio is available at

His Colorado Hockey Now column archive can be accessed here

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