Avalanche Gameday: Surviving Without Makar, Toews To Run Top Powerplay Unit
The Colorado Avalanche adjusted just fine without Cale Makar during the regular season. The playoffs are a different animal, and for one night, they’ll have to play without him. That means their may be adjustments to the lineup in his absence.
“It’s always a possibility,” Jared Bednar said of 11 forwards and seven defensemen. “Am I considering it? Yeah, I’m considering it.”
Jack Johnson took morning skate with the team, but was not available to the media afterwards. Bednar said he’s feeling “pretty good,” but wouldn’t go as far as to say he’s in the lineup. Typical playoff caginess. If I was a betting man, I’d say there’s a good chance he plays, as he started morning skate on line rushes with Devon Toews. It would make sense to dress an extra defenseman if he’s not quite 100%, though. The Avalanche haven’t exactly been using the forwards at the bottom of the lineup a ton, either.
The team, unfortunately, has become very accustomed to playing without key players throughout the year.
“Been doing it all year,” Devon Toews said after morning skate. “The next guy comes in and does the job for us, and that’s what makes us good. It made us great last year, and it’s what we’ve had to do.”
Without Makar, Toews will take over his spot on the top powerplay unit, mostly due to his play down the stretch in that position, but reiterated they feel comfortable with either him or Byram in that spot.
“Finished the year really well there,” Bednar said of Toews. “He’s the most recent guy to play there. He’s the guy we used there at the end of the year when Cale was out, things were going really well on our powerplay.”
It feels like Groundhog Day, but the Avalanche know they can’t come out slow again with the way Seattle has attacked them early in each game.
“Just get to our game quicker,” Toews said. “We’ve shown that when we get to our game, we’re fine. We’re hard to beat when we get to our game and that’s just been the focus of getting there quicker.”
Other Tidbits From Morning Skate:
- Yes, the status of Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin was brought up again to Bednar. But no, there’s no update on his potential timeline. Bednar confirmed the team has remained in contact with Nichushkin during his absence. Bednar also answered with a resounding “no” when asked if it was a legal situation surrounding the winger.
- If you can’t tell, I’m a sucker for little details like defensemen switching to their off-side. I asked Toews if he has had to make adjustments to his game switching sides, as he’s played a lot of the right side of late. “When you first do it as a kid, yeah, but you learn the ways, you learn the routes of it. You know, just being a little bit more inside, I guess, to give yourself a little bit more room. But for the most part, we’ve all played left, right, half of us played forward growing up, too. So you kind of learn those routes as you go.”