Monday morning brought something we hadn’t seen in months at a Colorado Avalanche practice: zero non-contact jerseys.
It was full participation at practice for the Avalanche. Every single player that was on the ice was able to take contact, indicating Jared Bednar might finally have some difficult choices to make when he’s putting together his lineup.
Choices that he isn’t going to share with anyone, maybe not even his family.
“I’m not going to tell you,” Bednar said, when asked who will be sitting on Tuesday night. “I can, but I’m not going to. I’m not going to give you any information on our lineup, whose healthy, not healthy, injuries, none of it.”
We’ll have to wait for Tuesday night to find out whose in and whose out of the lineup.
One player did spill the beans, though. Cale Makar met with the media and said he’s good to go for game one against the Seattle Kraken.
But when asked if he’s 100% right now, he wasn’t quite ready to go that far.
“I’d say I’m as close as I can be, right now,” Makar said. “I’m feeling good. I feel good today, so it’s just going to be getting back into the physicality aspect and making sure I’m ready at puck drop.”
Bednar was asked about Makar’s load management during the season, as the team appeared to just want the star defenseman as healthy as he can possibly be heading into the postseason.
“I think Cale is going to be rested,” Bednar said. “He’s missed a bunch of time. He feels good. He spent some time on the ice over the last week to 10 days, making sure he’s prepared and ready to go for the playoffs.”
“It’s awesome,” Makar said about the healthy defense. “Obviously, getting Manson back, and all the guys there. We haven’t had a back-end like that in a long time, so it’s nice to get everybody back.”
Bowen Byram agreed.
“Yeah, it’s awesome,” Byram told me. “Obviously, you want to have every option available, so to see some guys come back is good news. We’ll just get ready to play tomorrow. Whoever is in will be ready to go.”
The matchup with the Kraken will be a tough one. In the regular season, the Kraken went 2-0-1 against the Avalanche, with every game ultimately decided by one goal. The biggest strength of the Kraken is the scoring up and down their lineup.
“It’ll be a big test. This is a deep team,” Bednar said of Seattle. “Second in the Western Conference in goals. Their defensive metrics are all near the top of the league, so they’re hard to create offense against, and they create a lot of offense on their own. That’s throughout their lineup, with their ‘D’ included.”
Game one between Colorado and Seattle will take place Tuesday night at 8 PM MST.
Evan Rodrigues – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Artturi Lehkonen – J.T. Compher – Valeri Nichushkin
Alex Newhook – Lars Eller – Denis Malgin
Matt Nieto – Andrew Cogliano – Logan O’Connor, with Darren Helm and Ben Meyers rotating in
Devon Toews – Cale Makar
Sam Girard – Josh Manson
Bowen Byram – Erik Johnson
Jack Johnson – Brad Hunt
Pairs rotated as the practice went on, but this is what they started with.