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Landeskog Making Progress From Injury

Semyon Varlamov out with upper-body injury; Calvin Pickard to start versus Canucks

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

CENTENNIAL, Colo.--Injured Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog skated for the third straight day on Friday and was a limited participant in practice, but he won't play in Saturday's contest against the Vancouver Canucks.

While the Avs captain was out on the ice, be it in a red non-contact jersey, forward Rene Bourque and goaltender Semyon Varlamov were both absent. Bourque was sick while Varlamov has a minor upper-body injury.

"I'm assuming [Bourque] is going to be good to go for tomorrow. Just not feeling well this morning, so we wanted to keep him away from the rink," said head coach Jared Bednar. "Varlamov has an upper-body injury; he won't go tomorrow, so he had the morning off the ice. He should be full practice by Sunday."

With Varlamov out for the second contest of a five-game homestand, Calvin Pickard will get the start versus the Canucks. He is 4-1-0 with a 2.07 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in six outings this season and is coming off a 41-save performance against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.

"I feel good about the start. The team has played well in front of me. We've got some wins," Pickard said. "With that being said it's all in the past now, and I liked what I've done so far but you're only as good as you're last game. I want to get to the rink tomorrow and be prepared and play my game against Vancouver."

Video: Calvin Pickard talks after practice

Bednar said the Avs will recall a goaltender from the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League later in the day to back up Pickard.

Landeskog is making progress in his rehab from a lower-body injury, but he'll miss his fifth consecutive game.

"He still hasn't taken any contact or anything," Bednar said. "He's skated the last couple days, and he obviously joined the group today for part of practice. He's starting to move in the right direction."

Landeskog's return seems imminent as the Avalanche announced Friday the club had reassigned rookie forward AJ Greer to the Rampage.

Video: Coach Bednar's pregame press conference

Greer was averaging 12:30 of ice time and recorded an assist and four penalty minutes in five games with the Avs this season. He was leading all AHL rookies in scoring with nine assists and 14 points prior to his most recent call-up.

"He played well for us," Bednar noted of Greer. "We have enough forwards here now, and hopefully with Landy getting close. We want to keep him going. I think he's progressing."

With Greer down and Landeskog still out, forward Mikhail Grigorenko will likely return to the lineup after a one-game stint as a healthy scratch. He practiced on a line with Matt Duchene and Carl Soderberg on Friday.

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