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Liles Out For Road Trip With Concussion

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche skated Monday morning at Family Sports Center prior to embarking on the club’s final road trip of the 2010-11 campaign.

The Avs will face the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night before finishing the two-game road swing with a Thursday night contest in Dallas. Both the Avalanche and the Stars will then hop on chartered flights bound for Denver immediately after the game, as the clubs will conclude a rare home-and-home back-to-back set Friday night in Colorado.

The Avalanche will then put a cap on its season with a Sunday afternoon contest against the Edmonton Oilers at Pepsi Center. All told, the team will play a string of four games in six days to end the year.

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Liles Has Concussion
John-Michael Liles didn’t skate today, and after practice Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco revealed that the defenseman suffered a concussion during Sunday night’s game against the Calgary Flames. Liles will not be joining the team on the road trip.

More information on Liles’ status will be available after the team returns to Denver.

Heading into the final few games of the season, Liles ranks fourth on the team with 46 points and has also established a new career-high with 40 assists. Currently five helpers ahead of Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny for the team lead, Liles is aiming to become the first blueliner in franchise history to finish a season as the club’s assist leader.

In the franchise’s first 30 years, only eight different players have held at least a share of the club’s assist lead at season’s end. That list includes Real Cloutier, Peter Forsberg, Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth, Paul Stastny, Peter Stastny, Mats Sundin and Alex Tanguay, all of whom are forwards.

Back To St. Louis
Former Blues players Erik Johnson and Jay McClement will face their former team for the second time on Tuesday night. In what was a somewhat unique situation, the pair was acquired from the Blues via a late-night trade on Feb. 18 and then had to return to St. Louis as members of the Avalanche just four days later.

“I think it will be a little easier this time, a little more comfortable to go back,” said McClement. “It was so quick last time, kind of a whirlwind. But now I’m used to playing with the guys here. It will be fun, but it will definitely be a lot easier than last time.”

McClement, who still owns a house in St. Louis and says he will spend considerable time this summer taking care of matters on that front, pointed out that his previous visit to Scottrade Center was a bit disorienting, to say the least.

“When you’re on the bench and watching the play go on, you’re so used to watching all the guys you used to play with, and now all of a sudden you’re on the other side,” said McClement. “But it’s been a while now, so things should be easier.”

Practice Notes
Several players took maintenance days on Monday, including Johnson and forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Milan Hejduk, but all are expected to play Tuesday night in St. Louis…Sacco said he has not yet made a decision on which goalie will start against the Blues…Injured Avalanche players Tomas Fleischmann (pulmonary emboli) and Kyle Quincey (shoulder) skated prior to this morning’s practice, but both remain out for the season with their respective injuries.
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