Veteran defenseman Adam Foote was on the ice nearly 45 minutes prior to Saturday’s skate at Family Sports Center and proceeded to take part in a handful of drills during practice before taking his leave.
The franchise’s leader in regular season (841) and playoff games (164) by a defenseman, Foote hasn’t played since injuring his triceps muscle on Jan. 4 against Minnesota.
Avalanche head coach Tony Granato
noted that even though Foote is getting close to returning, he and veteran forward Ian Laperriere (back) may not see game action until Jan. 27 against the San Jose Sharks.
“Now, with the way the schedule is set up and the All-Star Break coming up, it would be more realistic after the All-Star Break for both Footie and Lappy,” said Granato. “If they make great improvements in the next couple days, it’s possible for Wednesday.”
Second-year winger David Jones
did some light skating before practice while sporting a non-contact burgundy sweater. Jones left Colorado’s Jan. 13 game at Columbus in the second period with a back injury and has not dressed in the Avalanche’s past two contests. Granato ruled Jones out for Sunday’s game, but said he could return on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Kings.
Forward Philippe Dupuis (foot) also skated, albeit briefly, prior to practice. He is doubtful for Sunday, but could return along with Jones on Wednesday.Next Up
Hampered by injuries at the moment – not only those above, but also to centers Joe Sakic (back/hand) and Paul Stastny
(fractured forearm) and forward Cody McCormick (foot) – the Avalanche will attempt to stop a three-game skid on Sunday when Northwest Division rival Calgary visits Pepsi Center.
The Flames come into Denver as one of the hottest teams in the NHL. The club has won four games in a row (including a 3-2 triumph over San Jose on Thursday) and has gone 11-1-1 in their last 13 contests overall. Calgary will face Phoenix tonight at Pengrowth Saddledome before flying to Denver.
“I think it shows in the standings the kind of team they are and how they play,” said Granato. “They’re a very confident team, they work extremely hard, play a physical, intense game and have solid goaltending.”
It’s a challenge the Avs welcome, as every divisional matchup from here on out will be especially crucial in regards to the playoff picture.
“They have some big, strong players that control the puck for quite a while,” said John-Michael Liles. “We have to try to minimize their puck possession time and move the puck as quickly as possible.”Budaj to Start
Peter Budaj will get the starting nod Sunday against Calgary, which will mark his 35th appearance of the season.
“If you look at the big picture Peter’s played pretty good for us this year, as has Rayzor (Andrew Raycroft),” said Granato. “I’m looking forward to getting him in there tomorrow and expect him to play a great game.”