Avalanche center Paul Stastny (fractured forearm) was on the ice early today at Family Sports Center. Working with assistant coach Dave Barr, Stastny took part in conditioning, puck-handling and shooting drills.
He also participated in the team’s practice, wearing a more traditional gray practice jersey as opposed to the orange non-contact sweater he sported on Saturday.
Avalanche head coach Tony Granato said that although Stastny will not play tomorrow against the Ottawa Senators, the third-year center will join the team on its upcoming six-game road swing.
“He was on a regular line today,” said Granato. “He’ll have a full practice with us on Thursday and we’ll see where he’s at from there.”
During today's skate, Stastny centered a line with Ryan Smyth on his left and T.J. Hensick on the right side.
Tomorrow will mark seven weeks since Stastny’s surgery (performed Dec. 30), putting him right in line with the original six-to-eight week timeframe the team announced following the procedure.
East to West In order to gain ground in the West, the Avalanche will need to first conquer the East.
Colorado’s next seven games will come against opponents from the Eastern Conference, meaning that the club’s hopes of grabbing a playoff spot in the Western Conference may be based partially upon their success against foes from the East.
After the Avs host the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, the club will take to the road for six consecutive contests on the East Coast.
That may not be a bad thing, as Colorado has had some success playing against teams from that area of the country. The Avs hold a 5-5-0 record against teams from the East this season, but were 8-2-0 last year and have posted a 24-10-0 mark in their last 34 games against Eastern Conference opponents.
Rehashing Foote’s Return Veteran Adam Foote made his return to the lineup last night, logging just over 25 minutes of ice time in Colorado’s 6-5 shootout win in Detroit.
“I feel good. It was the type of injury where I didn’t want to come back too early, tear it and then be out for the season,” said Foote. “It was dragging on, but it’s good to be back.”
Granato believes that having the defenseman back on the ice – and in the locker room, for that matter – provided a big boost for his club.
“Adam’s presence yesterday was big for us,” said Granato. “The last few weeks it seemed like he was getting close and practicing with us a lot. Obviously getting him back in the game meant a lot to our team and our locker room.”
Practice Notes Defenseman John-Michael Liles did not practice today. Granato said he was given the day off due to a sore hand and hopes Liles will be able to play tomorrow…Darcy Tucker, who is dealing with a family issue, should be back with the team in a day or two but is not likely to play tomorrow…Andrew Raycroft will start in goal Tuesday against Ottawa.