was among a handful of Avalanche players who took part in an optional practice Thursday, not that it was a traditional practice.
The on-ice session was supervised by Shawn Allard
, a “skills” coach who has worked with the Nashville Predators and over 200 NHL players, according to his PERFECT SKATING
Allard, 43, was a right wing who played three years at St. Lawrence University and seven years professionally, most recently 10 years ago with Epinal in France. He’s on the ice occasionally and does video work with players.
Allard is a skating specialist, and on Thursday players skated and stickhandled through an obstacle course that included long pieces of foam padding and tires.
“I love it, it’s awesome,” said Jost, adding he is “right on the cusp” of returning to the lineup after missing four games with a head injury.
“The season is a grind and it can wear on you and sometimes you get a little rusty with your skills because you’re always playing games, so I think it’s an awesome refresher. He’s been great with us so far this year.”
Asked if playing against the Jets is a possibility, Jost said: “The way I feel now, yeah.”
Coach Jared Bednar
was cautiously optimistic about Jost’s return.
“We’ll see how he gets through today and what he feels like tomorrow,” Bednar said. “He might be an option for us.”
Forward Sven Andrighetto
isn’t on the trip. He’s missed three games with a lower-body injury.
Bednar said goalie Semyon Varlamov
will start Friday “and then we’ll decide on Edmonton after the game.”
It’s been a difficult start to the season for Jost, a first-round pick (No. 10) in the 2016 NHL draft. He began the season on the second line and eventually was dropped to the fourth line.
Though Jost has played better than his statistics – one goal, one assist in 11 games, averaging 13:52 in ice time – he and the Avalanche expect more.
“I’m a guy who wants to put up numbers,” said Jost, who as a rookie last season had 12 goals and 10 assists in 65 games. “I just got to keep playing and stick to the process, do the right things, play my game, and things will come.
“I’m confident in my abilities, I know I can play in this league. I just got to keep working hard, play to our systems, play to our identity, and things will come.”
Jost was injured Oct. 26 in the Avalanche’s 6-3 win against Ottawa. They’ve lost four in a row (0-3-1) since that game.
“It’s always tough watching and you never want to do that,” Jost said. “It’s been a time for me to reset, get some positive thoughts. Obviously, I want to get healthy, that’s everyone’s No. 1 goal, but you can definitely be a student of the game and learn things from watching.”