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Avalanche/Predators Notebook

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
In what seems to be an unfortunate trend recently, when the Avs receive a healthy body back, they lose another player.

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The good news was that the Avalanche saw the return of defenseman Kyle Cumiskey during tonight’s contest against the Nashville Predators. The blueliner had missed 35 consecutive games following a concussion suffered on Oct. 30 against Columbus.

But the team also received some bad news just a few hours before puck drop, when it was announced that winger Tomas Fleischmann would miss the remainder of the season due to pulmonary emboli.

Acquired from the Washington Capitals on Nov. 30, Fleischmann had recorded 21 points (8g/13a) in 22 games with the Avalanche, and had also begun building a reputation for his clutch play. Of his 21 points, 14 of those came in either the third period (11) or overtime (3).

Colorado suffered a similar situation two games ago against the Minnesota Wild, when Chris Stewart returned from a lengthy injury absence but the Avalanche lost Ryan O’Reilly to a shoulder injury during the contest.

While the news about Fleischmann overshadowed just about anything else coming out of Pepsi Center on Thursday night, the return of Cumiskey was a significant addition.

Following today’s morning skate, Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco discussed what Cumiskey – who replaced Matt Hunwick in the lineup - would bring to the ice.

“He’s a guy that obviously brings energy and speed to our lineup. The thing I really like about Kyle is his competitiveness. He’s not the biggest guy, but he certainly plays bigger than his size,” said Sacco. “He goes back for pucks, he takes hits to make plays. I think those are the areas where Kyle is going to have to – once the game starts going – get more comfortable with.”

Paired mostly with Avalanche captain Adam Foote, Cumiskey recorded two shots, two hits and a game-high five blocked shots in 19 minutes of ice time.

Stoa Makes Season Debut
Ryan Stoa, recalled by the Avalanche from the Lake Erie Monsters on Wednesday, made his season debut tonight against Nashville.

Now in his second professional campaign, the forward ranked second on Lake Erie in goal (15) and points (28) in 44 games at the time of his recall. He made his NHL debut with the Avalanche last season, collecting three points (2g/1a) in 12 games.

Stoa started Thursday night’s game skating with Matt Duchene and Stewart, but also saw time on a line with David Koci and Philippe Dupuis.

With six and a half minutes remaining in the middle frame it appeared as though Stoa had scored his first goal of the season. At the tail end of a long shift during which the Avalanche sustained heavy pressure in the offensive zone, Stoa corralled the rebound of a Matt Duchene attempt and put a backhander toward Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne. Stationed to Rinne’s right, Stoa’s backhand went just inside the short post and looked like it might have crossed the goal line. However, after a video replay, it was determined that the puck never completely crossed the line.

In a move related to Stoa’s recall yesterday, the Avs assigned forward TJ Galiardi to Lake Erie.

Galiardi’s demotion doesn’t mean the Avalanche has given up on the young player – far from it, actually.

“Haven’t given up on him at all. Not at all. I think this is the best thing for TJ right now,” said Sacco. “At the end of the day it’s really about what’s best for the individual, what’s best for the player. Right now, as an organization and as a coaching staff, we felt it was best for TJ, like I said before, to be playing more, to be playing in different situations, regain confidence in himself and like I said, by no means has anyone given up on him.”

Game Notes
Brandon Yip was back in the lineup tonight after spending the past two contests as a healthy scratch…Cody McLeod had a pair of minor penalties tonight, increasing his season total to 103 penalty minutes…McLeod joined Ian Laperriere (2005-09) as the only two players in Avalanche history to reach the century mark in penalty minutes in four straight seasons…The Avs killed off all four of Nashville’s power plays and went scoreless in their one opportunity with the man advantage.
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