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Practice Report 9/26/07

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche

With only one preseason game remaining on the schedule, the Colorado Avalanche is hitting its stride and trying to fine-tune its roster in preparation for the Oct. 3 preseason opener against Dallas.

Milan Hejduk and Marek Svatos both participated in Wednesday’s practice and Avalanche Head Coach Joel Quenneville said he hopes both can play this weekend against Phoenix. Quenneville also commented on a timetable for Jose Theodore’s return, saying that this weekend might be “a long shot”, but that Theodore will try to practice on Thursday.

Defenseman Goes Offensive

Dating back to his collegiate days at Michigan State University, John-Michael Liles has always been known as a defenseman who is more than capable of contributing on the offensive end.

Liles posted a career-high 49 points (14g/35a) for the Avalanche during the 2005-06 campaign and followed that up with a 44-point (14g/30a) performance in 2006-07.

If his play in the preseason is any indication, Liles could be on his way to setting a new career best this season. Through four exhibition contests, the defenseman has recorded six points, including a pair of third-period goals in Tuesday’s contest against the Dallas Stars.

“I have a lot of good players to pass to and to pass me the puck,” said Liles. “That’s been the main thing. It’s always nice to get a bounce here and there, but I have a lot of good guys surrounding me.”

So, will Liles continue on his torrid point-and-a-half per game pace?

“I don’t know about that,” Liles said with a laugh. “Points kind of come and go; it’s not the most scientific thing in the world. As long as I’m playing and helping the team win, that’s the most important thing. We have enough talented guys on this team, so there will be plenty of points to go around.”

Roster Down to 27
The Avalanche announced on Wednesday the reassignment of forward Cody McLeod and defensemen Johnny Boychuk, Kyle Cumiskey and Jeff Jillson to its American Hockey League affiliate training camp in Cleveland, bringing the current training camp roster to 27.

Previously, forwards J.D. Corbin, Dan DaSilva, Eric Healey, Matt Hussey, David Jones, Brent Kelly, Victor Oreskovich, Ken Roche and Chris Stewart; defensemen Mitch Love, Dale Purinton, Brandon Straub and Michael Vernace; and goaltenders Andrew Penner and Michael Wall were reassigned to the AHL camp.

In addition, the Avalanche previously reassigned Nigel Williams to his junior team, the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League.

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