Connect with us

Colorado Avalanche

Avalanche Skate: Will Any Injured Players Return Before Playoffs?




It was a full practice for the Colorado Avalanche on Friday afternoon. Sort of.

While most of the team skated, four important players on the squad were not on the ice. Nathan MacKinnon, Valeri Nichushkin, Cale Makar, and Alexandar Georgiev all sat out.

“Some of those guys just needed the day,” Jared Bednar said.

Coming off a big loss to the Minnesota Wild, it won’t get any easier for the Avalanche, as the Dallas Stars will be in town Saturday night. In March, the Avalanche have gone 1-5-1 against playoff caliber teams. Last year, that was not an issue. Coach was pretty blunt about what the difference is this year.

“Different team last year. Deeper team,” Bednar said. “Cooking with gas the whole year. We’re not right now. They’re good teams. We’re sitting right where they are in the standings. Competitive games. I liked what we did for most part of that game the other night, but we handed them a couple easy ones. It’s a difference in the hockey game.”

The depth took a hit over the summer, but injuries have made matters worse.

Before practice, Gabriel Landeskog skated with Shawn Allard, and looked to be testing his leg a bit more. They worked more on stops and starts all over the ice, something that Landeskog has been a little slower with when he has skated. To my eye, he looked better. The one interesting moment was when he went to do sprint to stop conditioning, he did everything on his left side. When it came time to try the right side, he avoided it. But beyond that, he was doing a little more than he has recently.

Also skating were Artturi Lehkonen and Pavel Francouz. Lehkonen is the one predictable injury, because we know what it is. It’s a finger, and it’s just a matter of healing. He’s not holding his stick yet, but once that’s clear, I can’t imagine it will be long before he plays. Francouz did a lot of work with Jussi Parkkila, but didn’t take any shots.

Not skating was Josh Manson. The defenseman apparently took the ice yesterday for the first time since re-injuring himself in early March, but was not out there today.

Time is running out. The Avalanche finish their regular season two weeks from today. I asked Bednar if there’s concern some of these guys will not make it back for the playoffs.

“Always. Always,” Bednar said. “Like to have them back, playing games before we start, get our team together, you know? I don’t know if that’s going to happen or not going to happen. We’ll see. We don’t have timelines on a lot of those guys yet.”

Bednar did say that all of them are progressing, but they just don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s the scary part.

Check out some video I took of Landeskog and Francouz before practice. Stay tuned to CHN for more updates, as a lot of these injured players will likely stay home when the team travels next week.

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

This site is in no way associated with the Colorado Avalanche or the NHL. Copyright © 2023 National Hockey Now.