Avalanche Skate: Injured Players Joining Team in California; Will Any Play?
Are the Colorado Avalanche about to get some help on this upcoming road trip? Or are they just trying to bring the team closer together on their final road trip of the season?
Before the Avalanche left for California this afternoon, I asked Jared Bednar a simple question: Will any of the injured players be going on the trip with the team?
“They’re all coming on the trip,” Bednar said.
Yes, all of them. That includes Captain Gabriel Landeskog, who did not skate on Monday morning.
Before practice, Josh Manson, Pavel Francouz, and Artturi Lehkonen took to the ice, most of them working on their own without teammates. Francouz spent time with goaltender coach Jussi Parkkila, while Lehkonen spent the entire session working hard with skills coach Shawn Allard. He looks to be the closest of any of the injured players. With a stick in-hand, he spent a lot of time making and receiving passes to get back into the swing of things.
Josh Manson, on the other hand, looked like he’s still in the early stages of recovery, at least on the ice. He would go for a twirl, mostly working on his edges and testing his legs, and then go back and have a chat with assistant athletic trainer Scott Woodward. He repeated that process for about 30 minutes before heading to the locker room.
Now, are any of these guys actually going to play on the trip?
“We’ll see,” Bednar said.
While all of them are going on the trip, I wouldn’t read too much into it, at least with a few of them. For one, this is the final road trip of the season for the team before the playoffs start. It’s a good time to get everyone together. In addition, I imagine all of the staff is going, so it makes sense to bring everyone, injured or healthy. Might as well keep them skating under the supervision of the team and training staff.
The two I would say it’s most notable for are Lehkonen and Francouz. We saw the goaltender join morning skate the other day, so he’s clearly getting close, and he’s been on the ice for over a week now. With Lehkonen, I imagine it’s just a matter of getting clearance from doctors that everything is healing properly.
There will be obvious excitement over Landeskog and Manson joining the trip, but they’re a bit further off. It doesn’t hurt to have them around the team, though.
News and Notes From Practice
- Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon, Darren Helm, and J.T. Compher did not skate today. MacKinnon and Makar took Friday off as well, and Bednar has made it clear they’ll give Helm days off here down the stretch to manage him.
- Avalanche winger Evan Rodrigues on the intensity of the playoff races at this time of the year: “I think there’s more of a focus on who wins every day and, it’s that time of the year. It’s just the nature of the game and everyone’s kind of getting more and more excited to get in the playoffs.”
- The players don’t seem to love playing two games on the road against the same team, which they’ll do in San Jose. Bednar, though, is a fan. “It’ll be fantastic,” Bednar said. “I personally feel like we should have had, coming out of the COVID break, that we should have kept a little bit of that. Less taxing on the players.”