MONTREAL--After weeks of donning a red, non-contact sweater, defenseman Mark Barberio finally put on a regular practice jersey and skated in a full team session.
Barberio joined also previously-injured forward Colin Wilson in contact drills on Friday during the Colorado Avalanche's practice at Bell Centre.
"I'm feeling better," Barberio said to ColoradoAvalanche.com afterward. "It was a tough injury. Things in hockey happen, these injuries happen. Just try and keep my conditioning up while I'm out and I just want to come back in and play some solid hockey for the team."
For Wilson, it was his second full-team practice after also participating in Colorado's last group skate on Monday. Barberio had a partial contact practice on Monday, as he started the session in a red jersey before switching at the end to the typical black sweater that is worn by team defensemen.
While Barberio has been out since suffering an upper-body injury on Nov. 28 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he has been able to continue skating for most of the past six weeks.
"It's definitely not great that I had an injury, but the fact that I was still able to skate and keep that conditioning up and skate every day I think was huge in terms of my recovery," he said. "I think it will just help transition me back into game play."
Barberio was one of five blueliners that were on the ice on Friday and appears to be getting healthy at the perfect time. He is from Montreal and played 56 games for his hometown Canadiens prior to his time in Colorado.
"Having family and friend at every game is a pretty cool feeling," Barberio said of playing for the Habs. "I loved my time here, and I have good memories. It's always nice to come back and get to see family and friends."
Wilson has been out of the lineup since Dec. 21 against the Chicago Blackhawks with an upper-body injury as well after getting hurt in a weird way. He tripped over Chicago's Andreas Martinsen in that contest after the Blackhawks forward lost an edge.
"Did a good job with the trainers, I think we got it back quicker than what we thought," Wilson said. "I'm feeling good, and it's been a good process."
Three Avalanche players didn't skate on Friday as right wing Mikko Rantanen and defenseman Tyson Barrie took maintenance days, while D-man Patrik Nemeth is a bit under the weather. Barrie and Rantanen should be able to play in Saturday night's contest against the Montreal Canadiens, but head coach Jared Bednar said that Nemeth's status is still up in the air.
"We had two hard-fought games, and we just want to make sure that we do what is best for them so they're at their best tomorrow night," Bednar said of Barrie and Rantanen.
Colorado announced after practice that it had reassigned forward Logan O'Connor to the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League. It is a move that is likely to make room on the Avs' 23-man roster so they can activate both Barberio and Wilson from injured reserve.
As the Colorado's practice was wrapping up, the NHL announced that Gabriel Landeskog was the "Last Men In" fan vote winner from the Central Division and will represent the club at the 2019 NHL All-Star Game in San Jose later this month.
"That's very exciting. Obviously the All-Star Game is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a really cool experience," Landeskog said to ColoradoAvalanche.com. "To be voted by the fans means a lot. It's something I'm really thankful for and very thankful for the opportunity."
Landeskog will be joined in San Jose with fellow linemates Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, the former of which was voted captain last month in a fan ballot.
This is the first time that Landeskog has been named to an All-Star Game roster in his eight-year career. He did attend the 2012 All-Star Weekend in Ottawa as a rookie, but he only took part in the skills competition as Colorado's lone representative at the event.
For the Avalanche, it's been 15 years since the team had three players heading to the mid-winter showcase. Rob Blake, Joe Sakic and Alex Tanguay all competed for the Western Conference in 2003-04 at the game in Minnesota.
Samuel Girard had some supporters of his in the Bell Centre stands during practice, as the defenseman is one of three Colorado players who are from the province of Quebec.
At least two Girard Avalanche jerseys were spotted Friday as the blueliner was preparing for his second-ever contest at the home of the Montreal Canadiens. His first game came when the Avs made their only visit to Bell Centre last season on Jan. 23, 2018.
Girard is from Roberval, which is roughly a five-hour drive north of Montreal, and he played his junior hockey two hours away from the province's largest city in Shawinigan.
In addition to Girard and Montreal native Barberio, forward Gabriel Bourque is the Avs' third Quebecer. He is from Rimouski, which is also about a five-hour drive, but that city is located more northeast of Montreal where the St. Lawrence River meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Head Coach Jared Bednar on the start of the road trip: "Our last two games have been really hard-fought games on our side. I thought we were even better in Calgary than we were in Winnipeg. We limited a lot of those big mistakes. Created a lot of chances to score goals, we just didn't get the result that we wanted."
Video: Avs coach Jared Bednar after practice in Montreal
Center Nathan MacKinnon on the Avs' play: "We've given up those big chances. We have to help out our goalies more, [with less] breakaways and 2-on-1's. We're scoring more goals now, we got our confidence back. We were scoring one or two a game, but our power play could be better."
Video: Nathan MacKinnon talks to the Montreal media
Left Wing Gabriel Landeskog on going to the All-Star Game with linemates Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen: "That is going to be extra fun to go with those guys and share the experience with them. For Mikko and I, being our first time, we'll be able to go through it together. Nate has been there a few times, and we'll rely on him on what we're doing out there."
Video: Landeskog part of Last Men In to 2019 All-Star Game
Defenseman Mark Barbario on returning to the lineup soon: "I just want to come in and play my game. I just want to get to pucks quick and get pucks to the forwards' hands and just play solid all-around hockey. Be solid defensively, and I need to chip in more offensively when I'm in the lineup. Give the coach some solid minutes."
Video: Mark Barberio a full participant at Avs practice
Left Wing Colin Wilson on the Avalanche's recent play: "I think the team has played pretty well the last two games. Really outshooting the opponents. It's been good games, something to build off of, but bottom line we have to get the win."
Video: Colin Wilson getting healthy
PRACTICE LINE COMBINATIONS
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Colin Wilson
Tyson Jost - Alexander Kerfoot - J.T. Compher
Matt Calvert - Carl Soderberg - Matt Nieto
Gabriel Bourque - Sheldon Dries - Sven Andrighetto
Erik Johnson - Samuel Girard
Ian Cole - Ryan Graves