A number of Avalanche players – including Paul Stastny
, John-Michael Liles and Erik Johnson
- took maintenance days and stayed off the ice Thursday morning during the team’s practice at Family Sports Center.
The bigger news was who was actually on the ice.
Avalanche captain Adam Foote (leg) returned to practice today, first skating briefly on his own early and then coming back out and taking part in the club’s practice.
The veteran, who last played on Feb. 7 at Phoenix, has missed Colorado’s past seven games. In 41 contests this season – his 19th in the NHL - Foote has posted eight assists and 31 penalty minutes while averaging 18:03 of ice time per game. He has also contributed 51 hits and 57 blocked shots.
Foote was encouraged with the results following his first organized practice in two and a half weeks.
“It was a good day today, a good test. It’s still lingering a bit, but at least I can condition,” he said, who went on to further explain the injury. “I felt it for two days lingering [before it became worse]. A puck hit the boards and bounced one way it usually wouldn’t, so I adjusted real quick and popped it.”
On Tuesday, Feb. 15, Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco estimated that Foote would miss another seven-to-ten days because of the leg ailment.
While the captain isn’t certain when he’ll return to game action, he confirmed that he will be on Colorado’s upcoming three-game road trip and hopes to play at some point. Right now, he’s in wait-and-see mode while focusing on working up his conditioning.
“I’d like to try, but I have to make sure this is over,” said Foote. “When you get a tear like that, unfortunately, you have to let those heal, especially when it’s in a muscle that you use a lot.”
Foote’s next appearance will be the 1,149th regular season game of his NHL career, moving him past Borje Salming (1,148) for 37th place all-time among league defensemen. He currently ranks third among active NHL blueliners in games played.O’Byrne Update
Avalanche defenseman Ryan O’Byrne wasn’t at practice Thursday, one day after suffering a facial laceration in Colorado’s game against Edmonton.
The blueliner is expected to miss between seven and ten days due to the injury, which required approximately 100 stitches to be administered at a local hospital.
About four minutes into Wednesday’s contest, O’Byrne was behind Colorado’s net when the skate of Edmonton rookie Taylor Hall shot up and caught him in the cheek. Although bleeding profusely, O’Byrne finished his shift before exiting the game and immediately making his way to the locker room.