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Pickard To Start Vs. San Jose

by Samantha Poulos / Colorado Avalanche

News and notes from Colorado Avalanche practice.

Calvin Pickard will get his ninth start of the season on Wednesday when the Colorado Avalanche hosts the San Jose Sharks at Pepsi Center.

Head coach Patrick Roy practiced with the team on Tuesday, not just to prepare for Friday’s Alumni Game at Coors Field but in place of goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who was out with the flu. Nathan MacKinnon was also sick and did not skate.

“I think both will be there tomorrow,” Roy said of MacKinnon and Varlamov’s availability for Wednesday’s game. “MacK should play. On Varly’s side, because he didn’t practice and Pick played really well in Edmonton, I’m comfortable going with Pick. He’ll be more fresh, and it will give Varly a chance to skate tomorrow morning, have a good practice Thursday and then be ready for the outdoor game.”

Shawn Matthias, who was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday, has yet to arrive in Denver and therefore did not practice with the team.

“As soon as his [immigration] status is completed, he will be on a plane coming to play for us,” Roy said about his estimated arrival.

Roy added that his plan is to play Matthias on the left side with Carl Soderberg at center and Blake Comeau on the other wing. Alex Tanguay will continue to skate with Gabriel Landeskog and MacKinnon.

“I really thought that the line of [Mikhail] Grigorenko, [Matt] Duchene and [Jarome] Iginla played really well,” he said. “We’re going to have [Cody] McLeod with [John] Mitchell, and we’re going to alternate [Jack] Skille and [Andreas] Martinsen.”

While excitement is mounting for the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series games this weekend, the team remains focused on its mid-week contest.

“We have a game before the outdoor game, and it’s an important one for us,” Roy said of the first of two home games this week. “I read in the paper this morning and [thought it] was pretty clear from our players’ point of view that the focus was on tomorrow’s game.

“I like that, and that’s what I mentioned to them this morning. I said that I was happy to read that we’re focusing on winning, even if it’s tough. I know it’s a distraction, but this is a big game for us.”

Jarome Iginla also spoke on the importance of taking on San Jose before putting any focus on Saturday’s opponent, the Detroit Red Wings.

“If we can find a way to win against San Jose, we will have won three out of four. That’s a good pace, so that’s starting to build in the positive direction again,” he said. “That’s got to be our focus, and as much as the outdoor game will be fun, it’s still going to be very important when that comes too.”

This will be the fourth and final time these two teams meet, with San Jose leading the series 2-1.

After practice, the Avalanche announced that Martinsen was reassigned to the San Antonio Rampage and Matthias was added to the active roster. Matthias will wear number 18.

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