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Avalanche Skate: Concussion Protocol Questions, Annunen Improving



Justus Annunen Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche will be without Cale Makar for at least two more games. He has, once again, been placed in concussion protocol after temporarily leaving Saturday’s game against the Blues.

As Makar had just returned from a head injury to play the Blues, it should come as no surprise that Jared Bednar had to face a lot of questions about how everything has been handled.

“No question,” Bednar said when asked if they were comfortable with how everything was handled. “We followed the protocol, player comes in and says he’s good. If he’s got tests to do, he does them. He’s cleared, and when he feels good to go back in, then he goes back in.”

Although Makar has to pass protocol all over again, it’s hard not to connect the new injury to the head injury he had just returned from.

“Well, let’s face it: they’re related,” Bednar said. “He comes back in, he feels better, he takes the time he needs, he’s feeling good to play. He’s passed all the tests. He comes back in, he gets bumped again. They’re obviously related. I don’t think that he goes into protocol on the hit in St. Louis on any other occasion, except for the fact that he was just coming out of one.”

The plan was for Makar to play on Sunday against the Oilers. Makar came in that afternoon and said he had symptoms. That’s when he was placed back in concussion protocol.

“We want them to be truthful,” Bednar said. “Because it’s their long term health and short term health involved in it. We want what’s best for our guys.”

Makar will not play this weekend in either game. When he returns will depend on how he progresses through the concussion protocol.

“He’s already in the gym today,” Bednar said.

Annunen’s Game Progressing

After practice today, Justus Annunen was returned to the Colorado Eagles. This could be a paper move to save cap space, because Pavel Francouz has not started skating yet. Or the Avalanche could choose to recall Jonas Johansson instead.

Either way, Annunen is happy with his progress this season. After practice, I asked him how he feels his season with the Eagles has gone.

“I think it’s been pretty good this year,” Annunen said. “I think have been playing better every month or so, so I have been feeling very good down there.”

On Saturday, the Avalanche turned to Annunen to give Georgiev a night off. He stepped in, stopping 19 of the 20 shots he faced on the way to his second career victory in the NHL.

“I felt pretty good,” he said about the game. “I didn’t get many scoring chances, so they (his team) were defending really well and we had the puck most of the game, so that always helps.”

At practice on Tuesday, Annunen was the only goaltender present. Alexandar Georgiev missed practice for dental work. The Avalanche did bring in an emergency goaltender (more on him later) to help out, but Annunen handled a lot of the work. Near the end of practice, he tried to take a break, but everyone told him to get back in net.

It was all in good fun.

“It was a pretty tough deal for one goalie,” Annunen said. “It’s always really hard, those small ice 2-on-1’s, you have to be ready all the time and go side to side all the time, so it was pretty tough.”

The players could tell he was working hard. After some big stops, his fellow countryman Mikko Rantanen came over and gave him a big hug.

Other Tidbits

  • Josh Manson did not practice, as he was given a maintenance day. He’s expected to practice Thursday.
  • When asked if Erik Johnson is done for the regular season, Bednar replied “possibly”.
  • The fill in goaltender’s name is Lyric Black. Pretty cool experience for him. He found my post on twitter and responded…

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