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Season underway tonight vs Blues; EJ (COVID) could return Saturday

January 13, 2021, 3:50 PM ET [1 Comments]
Rick Sadowski
Colorado Avalanche Blogger •Avalanche Insider • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Here we go, the 2020-21 56-game season gets underway Wednesday when the Avalanche take on the St. Louis Blues at Ball Arena in what will be their 25th season in Denver.

It’ll be the first game in Denver since March 11, when the Avalanche played the New York Rangers in what turned out to be the final regular-season game of the 2019-20 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There won’t be any fans in the building, but the Avalanche are eager to get started on what many believe could be the first step to a Stanley Cup championship.

The Avalanche will honor former president and general manager Pierre Lacroix, who passed away on Dec. 13, before the game. Players will wear PL stickers on their helmets throughout the season.

GAME NOTES

“Different circumstances,” captain Gabriel Landeskog said after the morning skate. “Everything leading up to this season has been different, but that’s what 2020’s been and I think we’ve gotten used to that.

“Very excited to go out and start the season, especially here on home ice. Very excited to get started on the right foot.”



Some news:

Coach Jared Bednar said defenseman Erik Johnson had tested positive for COVID, which is why he missed training camp. If all goes well, Johnson will be permitted to join his teammates on Saturday.

Also, Landeskog and Ian Cole, who are in the final years of their contracts, said they hope to sign new long-term deals.

“I’d like to finish my career here,” Landeskog said. “I’d love to sign another long-term contract with the Avs, no doubt.”

Said Cole, who was sitting at the same table as Landeskog (safely social distancing): “Me too.”

The Avalanche have gone 4-0-0 in openers with Bednar as coach.

As of now, the Avalanche have a 21-man active roster and a six-man taxi squad (all listed below).

2019 first-round pick Bowen Byram has been assigned to the AHL Colorado Eagles, but that could change as early as Saturday after he completes his mandatory quarantine following his arrival from Canada after playing in the World Junior Championship tournament.

The lineup:

LINES:
Andre Burakovsky -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen
Gabriel Landeskog -- Nazem Kadri -- Brandon Saad
Valeri Nichushkin -- J.T. Compher -- Joonas Donskoi
Tyson Jost -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Matt Calvert

DEFENSE:
Devon Toews -- Cale Makar
Samuel Girard -- Conor Timmins
Ryan Graves -- Ian Cole

GOALIES:
Philipp Grubauer
Pavel Francouz

Scratched: None

Injured: None

COVID-19 protocol: Erik Johnson

Taxi Squad: Shane Bowers, Dennis Gilbert, Martin Kaut, Hunter Miska, Logan O'Connor, Kiefer Sherwood



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