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Duchene Out, Greer Recalled

The Avs are facing some roster changes

by Heather Ward /

The Colorado Avalanche is faced with a few challenges moving forward after center Matt Duchene left Friday's 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in the second period following a hit to the head from Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba.

"He came in this morning and I guess last night he got hit, and it kind of caught him in the eye, so he had some blurry vision," head coach Jared Bednar said after Saturday's practice. "That's why he was off getting evaluated, and then he didn't feel so good so they kept him out."

Duchene will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis and his status for Sunday's game against the Boston Bruins remains unknown.

"This morning he was better, but he's not 100 percent, so he didn't skate today and he will get evaluated again," Bednar said. "He's got concussion-like symptoms, but tomorrow will be a big day. See how he comes in tomorrow and then we can kind of go from there."

Video: Coach Bednar gives an update on Matt Duchene's injury

With Duchene out of the lineup, the coaching staff worked out different line combinations as the team preps for the second half of its four-game homestand.

"We had to shorten our bench there because were missing that centerman," Bednar said of finishing Friday's game without his Duchene. "We were kind of juggling down the stretch and kind of playing three lines and spitting guys in here and there." 

Gabriel Landeskog moved onto a line with right wing Mikko Rantanen and center Nathan MacKinnon at the end of Friday's game and the trio remained intact during practice at Family Sports Center. 

"We're going to be a line that will be relied heavily on as far as offense goes," Landeskog said after the skate. "We got to make sure that we take that upon ourselves and find ways to score goals and find ways to create offensive momentum for our team. 

"Nate in this case, you know he can play both center or wing. So for him, I don't think it really matters playing in the center position. It just means that he's more involved and can be a threat up ice with the speed up the middle, and then Mikko and I will just have to make sure we create ice for him, and we'll work the give and go's on the entry and stuff like that." 

Video: Gabe Landeskog on facing the Boston Bruins

Rookie forward AJ Greer was recalled from the San Antonio Rampage on Saturday afternoon and is expected to make his NHL debut against the Boston Bruins on Sunday if Duchene can't play. Greer has recorded 14 points (five goals, nine assists) with the Rampage in 13 games and is ranked first in points among all AHL rookies. 

Forward Blake Comeau returned to the ice on Saturday for his first full practice after being sidelined for three games with a lingering groin injury.

"I'm starting to feel pretty good. Got to take a pregame skate yesterday and got a little work in," Comeau said. "I was able to do the whole practice so we're getting close, which is a good feeling." 

According to Bednar, Comeau will not play against the Bruins in order for him to get a few more practices under his belt so he can be explosive at full strength. 

Video: Blake Comeau returns to full practice

D-man Fedor Tyutin, who sustained a minor injury to his forearm on Friday, will also be evaluated on Sunday. Bednar said there are no fractures to report. 
Semyon Varlamov will start between the pipes for his second consecutive game after his 18-save performance versus the Jets. 

"He was good for us last night," Bednar said of his goalie. "Start to finish, solid game. We were solid in front of him. Made the big saves when he needed to, especially in overtime. We have a break down, and he saves the game for us. We end up getting the two points." 

The puck drops on Sunday's game at 5 p.m. at Pepsi Center. The contest will be televised on Altitude TV, and AM950 and will carry the radio broadcasts. 


Practice Line Combinations 

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen 
Blake Comeau - Carl Soderberg - Rene Bourque  
Andreas Martinsen - Mikhail Grigorenko - Jarome Iginla  
Joe Colborne - John Mitchell - Cody MeLeod

Nikita Zadorov - Erik Johnson  
Patrick Wiercioch - Tyson Barrie  
Eric Gelinas - Francois Beauchemin  

Semyon Varlamov 
Calvin Pickard

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