Avs Notebook: Bednar looking ahead on Byram, other injured
The Avalanche didn’t announce the move, but the blabby AHL transaction log showed that Bo Byram was recalled from his conditioning loan to the Colorado Eagles Monday.
So where and how does Bo Byram fit in?
If you haven’t yet read Adrian Dater’s chronicles and commentaries from Ontario about Byram’s Friday and Saturday games with the AHL Colorado Eagles, go here and here.
I’ll wait. Let me know when you’re back.
(Final Jeopardy theme.)
After the Avalanche’s Sunday optional practice, Jared Bednar discussed Byram and the bigger-injury pictures heading into Tuesday’s game at Pittsburgh and beyond as Colorado looks ahead to the opening of the playoffs in a month.
First, Bednar clarified Byrom’s status, saying the conditioning loan to the Eagles — said to last a max of three AHL games or six days — did mean he could again play next Friday against the Bakersfield Condors in Loveland. In other words, the “three games” takes priority.
“Joe (Sakic) and Bo are going to talk and we’ll make a decision here in the next day or two,” Bednar said. He added that there are “two options. Recall him right now, he rejoins us right now; or he can be with the Eagles all week and play one more game.”
What kind of report has he gotten on Byram’s play in the two games against the Ontario Reign?
“I didn’t see last night’s game at all,” Bednar said. “It sounds like he made it through good. His play was OK. So we’ll see. It’s going to be Bo and Joe’s decision on what they want to do, what Bo feels most comfortable with and Joe will talk to him and then we’ll make a decision in the next couple of days.”
On defense, the Avalanche still also are without the injured Samuel Girard, who has been on the ice in a red no-contact jersey, and Ryan Murray. In line with the absences, Kurtis MacDermid has been among the six D in the lineup, but it seems a safe bet that if Girard, Murray or Byram — one or more — are available, McDermid would be a 12th forward in the postseason, if he suits up. That would depend on the opponent and situation.
“Girard’s getting better, but Murray’s going to miss some time,” Bednar said. “His target date’s playoffs, kind of the same thing as [Gabe Landeskog]. Hopefully, earlier. But we still have a lot of hockey to play before they’re ready.”
The ABC Saturday telecast of the Avs’ win over Pittsburgh left the impression that Landeskog was unlikely to be ready for the playoffs.
“I’d like to see him get back,” Bednar said. “That’s his timeline.”
Bednar said the Avalanche hadn’t gotten additional word on Nazem Kadri, who suffered an upper body injury Thursday against San Jose and missed the Penguins game.
“Kadri’s just going to miss time until he feels good enough to play,” Bednar said. “I don’t know how long that’s going to be. We don’t have a specific date on it. It’s not like we’re saying, “A week, 10 days.’ We don’t know.”
Bednar noted that his manpower situation has been up and down — in line with the NHL norm.
“Once Landy left, things changed,” he said. “Since, we’ve added new players in. It gives us time to evaluate those guys, see what they’re going to be able to do for us, so we have a good idea what our lines are going to be, see how they handle some of the tougher matchups and can they still produce offense against top players. So we’re getting a pretty good feel for that now while looking forward to adding those [injured] guys back in and having a full roster. We’ll slowly start trickling guys back. It’ll be Byram, Girard, Kadri and then hopefully we get Landy back sooner than later.”
NOTES: Six hearty skaters plus goalie Pavel Francouz were on the ice for the Sunday optional practice. The Avalanche won’t practice Monday before boarding their flight to Pittsburgh. . . Nathan MacKinnon was not among the players made available to the media Sunday — Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Mikko Rantanen were — so MacKinnon still has not taken questions from or commented to the local media since his fight with Minnesota’s Matt Dumba and his one-game absence, presumably with an injured hand. MacKinnon had challenged Dumba after the Wild defenseman’s hit on Rantanen. . . “I think he’d done it before,” Rantanen said, smiling. He added: “It’s kind of my fault. He’s intense so if he wants to fight, he can fight.” . . . Recently acquired Artturi Lehkonen has played stints on the top line with Rantanen and MacKinnon. That raised the question of whether Lehkonen and Rantanen — friends since pre-teen years — communicate in Finnish or English when together on the ice. “English,” Rantanen said. “Because 29 wouldn’t be too happy, I don’t think.”
Terry Frei (email@example.com, @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