If there is one thing about the Colorado Avalanche and injuries, it is this: If there is no chance of a player coming back for a season, or a series, they’ll say it. And, if they say there is a chance a player could return for a series/season, it’s probably a better than 50/50 chance. So, the fact that Avs coach Jared Bednar today said he and the team are “hopeful” that Nazem Kadri will return for the Stanley Cup Finals was a nice sign for the team and fans.
Bednar said that both Kadri and veteran depth guy Andrew Cogliano had surgeries to their right hands (Nazem Kadri on a thumb, Cogliano to another finger) and that they are both working toward – hopefully – coming back by the Finals, which we still don’t know when will start.
“Both guys are back (around the team). Kadri’s in the gym this morning, doing everything he can to get back to being able to play and hopefully both those guys – we’re hoping, depending on the timeline – that they’ll be able to make their way back into the Finals. We’ll see how it goes about when they get playing and whatnot. But we’re hopeful that that could be an option for us.”
My hunch: you’re going to see both of them out there in the Finals. Just a hunch, nothing more. I mean, it could still be nine more days until the start. My biggest worry, though, would be: the chance for reinjury, especially on such a quick return. Because, you know damn well the opponent is going to target those injuries.
The Avalanche went through a light practice today where some guys took the option not to skate. That will change tomorrow.
“We wanted to get ’em up and moving. Guys were in the gym before practice, they’re in the gym now after practice. But we wanted to get ’em on the ice and get moving, so we can have a really good practice tomorrow ” Bednar said. “Still not sure when our series is gonna start and who it’s going to be against. But it’s important that we put our work in on our work days.”
About the goaltending situation, Bednar said this: “It’s a tough decision. There will be conversations about it. We’ll make a decision and go from there.”
My hunch: Darcy Kuemper will be back in the starter’s net. Just a hunch.
Kuemper was made available to the media today, by the way. He says he’s feeling 100 percent, but wouldn’t get specific about that upper-body injury that kept him out a couple of games the last series.
Asked about how he’s seeing the puck, he said, “Seeing it really good.”
Kuemper had the No. 1 job before he got hurt. He’s fully healthy again. Pavel Francouz also let in five goals in Game 4. I think the No. 1 guy gets the job back when he’s healthy again – and when the backup looked shaky in the last game.
“It’s never fun watching from the sideline, especially in big games,” said Kuemper, whose save percentage in these playoffs is .897. “But Frankie came in and did a great job and it was great to watch guys go out there and get wins. It was nice to get back in the lineup that last game and be a part of it.”
Ryan Boulding contributed to this report