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Liles, Stastny "Probable" For Wednesday

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
There was some positive news on the injury front coming out of Tuesday morning’s practice at Family Sports Center.

Injured forwards Ryan Stoa (appendectomy) and Paul Stastny (back) took the ice approximately one hour prior to Colorado’s practice and did some light skating, shooting and passing drills.

They were joined shortly thereafter by winger Tomas Fleischmann, who remains out for the season due to pulmonary emboli but has been skating recently. Milan Hejduk (shoulder) also was on the ice about half an hour before the team’s official skate.

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When practice began, both Stoa and Stastny were on the ice and took part in a full practice, as did defenseman John-Michael Liles, who has missed Colorado’s past two games with a leg injury sustained a week ago against the Minnesota Wild.

After practice, Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco labeled both Stastny and Liles as “probable” for Wednesday night’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

“They felt good. I talked to both guys as soon as practice ended,” said Sacco. “Barring any other thing, I’d say they’d both be available for us tomorrow night.”

Hejduk, who didn’t take part in practice today, will accompany the team on the road swing through Western Canada (which also includes stops in Calgary and Edmonton), but the veteran winger won’t play on Wednesday. Sacco said it’s more likely that Hejduk might return to the lineup on Saturday against the Oilers.

Stoa also joined the team on the trip, but isn't expected to play in any of the three games. The forward underwent an emergency appendectomy on March 5, with an estimated timetable for a return of two-to-three weeks.

Brian Elliott will start in goal tomorrow for the Avalanche, which will mark his fifth appearance in an Avalanche uniform. The netminder has faced the Canucks once this season, stopping 26-of-29 shots in a 4-2 loss while playing for the Ottawa Senators.

Upbeat Practice
The Avalanche didn’t practice on either Sunday or Monday following a back-to-back home/road set this past weekend against Anaheim (Friday) and Nashville (Saturday).

After two full days away from the rink, Tuesday morning’s practice was one of the most spirited the Avs have experienced in quite some time.

“There was good zip in our practice today. They were alive in our practice,” said Sacco. “We had a couple of days off since our last game and I told the guys to stay away from the rink for two days. I think that would be beneficial to everyone at this time. It’s been a long season and at this time of the year rest becomes more important. I hope they’re kind of reenergized and their batteries are able to get charged up again.”

At the end of practice, the team even staged a lively shootout that involved plenty of good-natured chirping.

“It was a good two days off,” said Matt Duchene. “For me, I really got to relax and kick back and get a perspective on things. I felt really reenergized, mentally and physically, and I’m sure most of the guys felt the same way.”

Van Der Gulik Reassigned
Forward David Van Der Gulik has been reassigned to the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters. The Abbotsford, B.C. native played in one game during his most recent recall, picking up an assist in 10:38 of ice time and also recording three shots on goal during Colorado’s March 12 contest in Nashville.

Van Der Gulik has totaled three points (1g/2a) in six NHL games with the Avalanche this season. In 36 AHL contests, he has registered 21 points (11g/10a).
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