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Avs Hold Optional Practice After Long Road Trip

Head coach Jared Bednar gives injury updates

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele /

CENTENNIAL, Colo.--The Colorado Avalanche returned home from its 11-day, five-game road trip on Thursday night and held an optional practice on Friday.

After missing the last three games with an upper-body injury, Tyson Jost was one of 13 players participating in the session in a regular-practice sweater, though head coach Jared Bednar said he is doubtful to play when the Avs host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

Also participating in the session were forwards Andre Burakovksy, A.J. Greer, Vladislav Kamenev, Jayson Megna, Valeri Nichushkin, Logan O'Connor and T.J. Tynan, defensemen Mark Barberio, Samuel Girard and Ryan Graves, and goaltenders Pavel Francouz and Philipp Grubauer.

Forwards Mikko Rantanen and Colin Wilson were on the ice as well, but both donned red, non-contact sweaters.

Rantanen has been out since he suffered a lower-body injury at the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 21. He has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in nine games this season. Wilson last played on Oct. 26 and has been out of the lineup since sustaining a lower-body injury at practice on Oct. 29.

"Both of those guys have been skating off and on while we've been gone," said Bednar. "When they feel good they get out on the ice, and there have been some steps forward and backwards. I think Mikko has made real good progress here, this is the first day he is getting out with the group and jumping into some drills so that's a positive sign, but I don't have a timeline on either one of them though."

Video: Avs coach Jared Bednar discusses injuries after trip

Joining Rantanen and Wilson on Colorado's injured list is Matt Calvert (head) and Gabriel Landeskog (lower body).

Landeskog also last played on Oct. 26 and has been out with a lower-body injury and will be reevaluated this week after a scheduled doctor's visit. Calvert has not been on the ice since he was hit in the head with a puck at the end of Colorado's game at Vancouver on Saturday.

"He is feeling a little bit better, he has been getting some workouts in the last couple days," Bednar said of Calvert. "He was in earlier this morning, wanted to come in when it was a little quieter so he can get his work done and get out of here. We will see how things go tomorrow and then hopefully we will be doing a test on him soon to see if he can sort of get out back on the ice on his own and eventually join the group. He is making some progress for sure."

Colorado's game versus Toronto on Saturday will open a two-game homestand and will be its 10th at Pepsi Center, making the Avalanche the third to last team to play its 10th home game in 2019-20. The Avs are 6-2-1 at home this season and 12-2-1 in its last 15 regular-season outings in the Mile High City.

"We love coming home, that was a hard road trip, not just the length of it and some of the teams that we played, but some of the circumstances that our team is facing and some of the adversity that we are facing, I would consider it a successful one," said Bednar. "Looking forward to getting home. Doesn't make the job any easier though with Toronto coming in, as good a team as they are, but we have to refocus and get ready to play tomorrow afternoon."

Puck drop is scheduled for 5 p.m. MT. The contest will be Colorado's Hockey Fights Cancer night, presented by UCHealth, and will honor survivors and help bring awareness to hockey's most important fight.

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