The Colorado Avalanche got Josh Manson back from injury on Wednesday night.
To say he was noticeable would be an understatement.
“He was a beast in that game,” Jared Bednar said after practice on Friday. “I was a little bit concerned about missing that much time and the injury that he had, but he just went full steam ahead right out of the gate. He made a huge impact on our team immediately.”
Immediately is right. Five seconds into the game, Manson stepped up in the neutral zone and tossed down a Wild forward with a big hit. That’s how he normally plays, so no point in holding back.
“If you’re coming back, you’re coming back ready to play (that way),” Manson said on Friday. “That’s why I wanted to test it as early as I could, so then I knew for the rest of the game that there was going to be no problems.”
One of the biggest hires the Avalanche have made in the last decade was bringing in Shawn Allard as a skills coach. When anyone on the Avalanche gets injured, Allard is the guy that spends the most time with them on the ice, making sure they’re ready to go full steam ahead when they get back in the lineup.
Over the last month, Allard and Manson spent a lot of time together. It paid off.
“A lot of good skating drills, right?”, Manson said about what Allard planned for him. “He does a lot of stability stuff for you. You can hone a couple of things that maybe you don’t have to do during practice of whatever. He worked on a lot of parts of the game he felt I needed help with.”
Makar Will Join Team In St. Louis…Will he play?
Cale Makar was back on the ice in a full contact jersey at practice.
After the game, Bednar announced that he will come with the team to St. Louis. But will he play?
“There’s a chance, yeah,” Bednar said when pressed if Makar would play. There may or may not have been a grin on his face when he said it.
If Makar does play, it will be the first time in over three months that the team will have all of their top five defensemen in the lineup at once. That could drastically change the lineup, to the point where the team goes back to the traditional 12 forward, six defenseman setup.
“We haven’t had those five horses in together,” Bednar said after practice. “The more experienced your ‘D’ core is and the more ability that you have to make a play coming out of the zone to get us moving the right direction, the more you’re going to relieve the pressure. We haven’t had some of the guys that do that for us on a consistent basis.”
We’ll find out tomorrow when the team hits the ice for morning skate if Makar is ready to make his return.
Other News and Notes
- Justus Annunen was recalled, and there’s a decent chance he will play one of the two games this weekend to give Georgiev a break.
- Pavel Francouz’ injury timeline was revealed to be “three weeks or so”.
- Gabriel Landeskog is still not in Denver, but he’s planning on coming back “soon” to start skating. No specific date set yet.