With the NHL trade deadline at that point a little more than two hours away (full covered here), the Avalanche went through their game-morning skate Monday with Bo Byram in a defenseman’s black full-contact jersey.
Byram finally had shed a red no-contact jersey, but coach Jared Bednar told media members to hold their horses about its significance.
At first, Bednar said there was no update on Byram’s timeline and prognosis in the wake of his concussion issues, saying he still was considered on “personal leave.” But Bednar did agree that Byram’s switch to a full-contact jersey was a positive sign.
“Yeah, for sure,” Bednar said. “Moving in the right direction. I just don’t have a new update besides that.”
When I tried to press him, Bednar said the color change “means he went from red to black. He’s taking contact in all situations. Red, it was ‘be careful around Bo. He’s only taking contact in the drills he wants to take contact in.’ Now he’s taking it in all drills.”
On Monday afternoon, when he addressed the media after the deadline, Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said of Byram: “It’s a great sign. He was in a regular jersey today, so he’s progressing. He’ll let us know when he’s ready to play, but I know that’s his goal, to be able to come back and play. He needs more practice time and games, and it’s all positive right now.”
Also on the injury front, Sakic said the Avalanche were cap-compliant after the various deals of the last week, meaning they won’t have to pounder using Long Term Injury Reserve to clear cap space temporarily or until the playoffs start.
Sakic also noted of Gabriel Landeskog’s knee surgery: “He’s progressing. He looks good. I mean, he’s doing rehab every day. And like I said, we’re hoping he’s back before the playoffs. . . Hopefully he can be ready for two or three games before and have a couple games before the playoffs start. We’ll see. We’re still a ways out on that, but surgery went well and he’s doing good.”
Bednar said Darcy Kuemper would be in goal against the Edmonton Oilers Monday night, and that the rest of the lineup would be the same as for Friday’s win at San Jose.
Terry Frei (firstname.lastname@example.org, @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 www.terryfrei.com and his bio is available at www.terryfrei.com/bio.html
His Colorado Hockey Now column archive can be accessed here