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Avs Notebook: Bednar looking ahead on Byram, other injured

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UPDATE

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.

ORIGINAL STORY

So where and how does Bo Byram fit in?

And when?

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.)

Welcome back.

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?

$20 Dollar Bonus Voucher!

“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 (terry@terryfrei.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

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Ricardo

Trying to work out all of the personnel seems more like a game of chess than hockey. There are a lot of options and combinations. I like that the Avs are checking out the combinations now.

gurnblanston

I like MacDermid much more in the D mix where he plays a good, simple game that fits in nicely while being the ever present deterrent. As a forward he looks lost at times and his game is slower. I don’t see a need to put him up front anymore.

Bob Neal

You are getting lots of pluses. I’m sure liking the simple defensive game that MacDermid is playing and hope they continue to play him in this position in the playoffs.

ricoflashback

Where is Bo’s head at? For the sake of his career, do you think he’s capable of withstanding the pressure of the NHL playoffs where it will it get more physical, mean and nasty? OK, I’m not a doctor but wouldn’t shutting him down and letting him get a full training season in complete with a full slate of exhibition games make more sense? Right now, he’s just happy playing hockey. Let’s keep it that way. Enable Byram to fully clear his head and mind for next year.

Matt Briggle

Those are all good questions, and no doubt they have already been asked and continue to be asked by the player, medical staff, coaches, and management. That’s why they had the conditioning assignment and they say they are going to discuss the situation over the next couple of days. Every step of the process they have let Bo and the medical professionals take the lead. I would also be willing to bet that a psychologist or two has been among those medical professionals just to make sure that he is in a good mental state to deal with the pressures… Read more »

ricoflashback

I sure hope so. With what Byram has gone through, I honestly don’t know how he can help the Avs right now. The Byram earlier this year before he was hurt? Absolutely. But it will take multiple games to see where he’s at and how do you do that in a stretch run and not negatively affect team chemistry and what is already working? You can’t baby him and ease him back into the flow of things. Two months ago you could have done that but not now. Besides Bo’s physical and mental health, do you risk upsetting everything for… Read more »

Matt Briggle

I don’t think team chemistry would be that big of a problem with this group. They are in a good enough position right now that they can actually take some time and “shelter” him a little bit over the next couple of weeks and see how things go and make changes on a game to game basis. What I would consider doing is using MacDermid as a floater between 12th forward and 7th D which also gives the team wiggle room if he’s having a bad game they don’t go short on D. Then you start working him in paired… Read more »

ricoflashback

It’s a personal opinion but I don’t think you can afford to spot play him with the final season push for home ice. The Avs don’t need experiments right now. They need to fine tune their play for the second season. Let Bo get his head and body right for next year. If there is an injury, knock-knock, then maybe you try him out. He can still keep in shape. Otherwise, dance with those that have brought you the best record in the NHL.

Charlie Anderson

I’m still trying to figure out how that hit on Kadri went unpenalized. No word from the league on supplemental discipline. Sounds like the Ontario Reign were blatantly trying to hit Byram in the head multiple times his first game back. So, as usual, the NHL will turn a blind eye to attempts to injure the Avs players, it would seem. That bodes badly for the Avs chances in the playoffs, if other teams know they can go for dirty hits and attempts to injure our guys with minimal or zero response from the refs and the league. Kind of… Read more »

dk

Well it appears Bo’s been recalled today. Wonder if he’ll play tomorrow night?

ricoflashback

Well – if the Avs are going to find out, they might as well start now. Move MacDermid up to a forward slot? Sit Compher, NAK, LOC or MacDermid? The Pens were pretty physical at the “Can,” whoops – – Ball Arena.

dk

I prefer to call it the Ball Sack. It’s offensive yet still pays pittance to our corporate overlords.

Seriously though… I imagine NAK sits, despite having a couple of decent games bookending his last scratch. Although that monster slap shot could still be ringing in Bedsie’s ears and he may sit Dermie instead.

ricoflashback

Yeah, NAK might be lower on the scrotum pole. Fits nicely with “Ball Sack Center.”

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