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Budaj's strong play giving Anderson time to heal

Wednesday, 11.17.2010 / 3:33 PM / NHL Insider

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

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Budaj's strong play giving Anderson time to heal
Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson is skating and facing shots, and says his return from a knee injury could come soon.
DENVER -- He won't play Wednesday, but Colorado Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson is getting close to returning.

After skating and facing shots at the Pepsi Center during Wednesday's morning practice, Anderson spoke to a handful of reporters for the first time since injuring his right knee during warm-ups Oct. 26 in Vancouver.

"Everyone made it out to be worse than it was," he said. "I knew right from the get-go what it was. I knew it wouldn't be too long. ... Any time you have an injury -- a guy blocks a shot and he gets off the ice -- pain hurts. A guy blocks a shot with his ankle and is hobbling off the ice and you guys all say he's got a broken foot."

Anderson said neither he nor the Avalanche have set a date for when he'll play. Peter Budaj will make his 10th consecutive start in goal Wednesday when the Avalanche face the San Jose Sharks, and John Grahame will be the backup.

"There's no timetable still, but he seems to be back on track and heading in the right direction," coach Joe Sacco said. "He's improving every day, but we still don't have a game set yet."

Anderson played in a franchise-record 71 games last season, posting 38 wins and playing a pivotal role in the Avalanche's return to the playoffs.

"I want to be 100 percent when I step on the ice for a game," he said. "A lot more can happen in a game situation versus a controlled practice. The last week has been great, getting out there and being with the guys and just getting the timing back. A big part is just seeing these guys shoot again versus just having two weeks without seeing anything.

"Peter's been great for us. He played well for us last year. You need two guys to play well to carry a team to the playoffs. By him playing well, it's making me want to get back in there and play better. It's a positive combination."
-- Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson on Peter Budaj

"I'm getting into position and doing all the things that a goalie does. That’s not going to be an issue. As soon as I get a few practices in, my timing will be where it should be. Any time you come back from an injury, it's more mental than physical."

The Avalanche have gone 5-3-1 with Budaj in goal since Anderson left the ice in Vancouver.

"Peter's been great for us," Anderson said. "He played well for us last year. You need two guys to play well to carry a team to the playoffs. By him playing well, it's making me want to get back in there and play better. It's a positive combination."

The Sharks, meanwhile, are on a 4-0-1 roll and have pulled within four points of Western Conference-leading Los Angeles. They defeated the Avalanche 4-2 in Denver on Oct. 21 in the teams' only previous meeting this season.

Defenseman Douglas Murray could return after sitting out Monday's 6-3 win against the Kings. He suffered a lower-body injury Saturday against Calgary after blocking a shot in the third period.
Quote of the Day

With this being the last year [at the Coliseum], we'd love to try to get back to the dance like we did against Pittsburgh and prove ourselves and go even further. It's an important year.

— New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano