Avalanche Notebook: Olausson’s Chance, Makar Doubtful, & Johansen’s Ice-Time

Colorado Hockey Now

When the Colorado Avalanche take the ice against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night, there will likely be a new face on the second line.

Oskar Olausson, he of five goals in 20 games with the Colorado Eagles this season, looks primed to replace Tomas Tatar in the lineup, for at least one night. While Jared Bednar didn’t officially say Tatar is a scratch, the veteran forward stayed out late after practice, which is usually an indication he won’t play.

The 21 year old Olausson confirmed he will be in the lineup, and will get an opportunity to play against his former coach, Greg Cronin.

“It’ll be kind of cool,” Olausson said.

Olausson had a great camp with the Avalanche, but his season in the AHL took a while to get going. In his first 9 games, he picked up just one assist. Since then, he’s got seven points in 11 games, including five goals. What has been the report from the Eagles staff?

“He’s been up and down,” Bednar said. “But he had a great camp for us. Great exhibition. Love his skill-set, his speed, his ability to shoot the puck. I thought he was really committed on the defensive side of it. (He) was real close to making our team, and we have a need for some little added offensive punch.”

With Tatar’s struggles to produce, Olausson has a real chance to make an impression tonight. I wouldn’t expect him to get a ton of ice-time, but he was wearing a powerplay uniform at morning skate.

Injury Updates

It wouldn’t be an Avalanche gameday without some injury updates, although we weren’t exactly given a whole lot of detail on what’s going on.

Valeri Nichushkin is under the weather and did not take part in morning skate. The Avalanche, however, expect him to play tonight. If he can’t, I guess that’s an opportunity for Tatar to step in.

Andrew Cogliano will not play, as he’s dealing with a lower-body injury.

As for Cale Makar, it doesn’t appear likely he’ll play, but you never know. Bednar called him “doubtful” after morning skate. Makar did take part in skate, but didn’t run the top powerplay unit until the final few reps. He had a few long talks with coach, but was not available to the media afterwards.

Colton vs. Johansen?

Ross Colton has been playing more than Ryan Johansen at even strength of late. After skate, Bednar was asked how he reconciles the difference in time-on-ice between the two, and his answer had some juice to it.

“I don’t have to,” Bednar stated. “There’s nothing saying that Ryan Johansen needs more ice-time than Ross Colton. If Ross Colton is playing well, and doing the job that he’s doing, then he’s earning more ice. I don’t have a set limit for our guys. I’m kind of watching them on a day-to-day basis, week-to-week basis, month-to-month, and taking all the information I have and then distributing the ice-time accordingly.”

Makes sense to me, and I definitely think Colton has been the more effective player of the two at even strength. Johansen has four goals and zero assists at even strength this season.

Other News And Notes

  • Look for Kurtis MacDermid to play tonight. Alexandar Georgiev will start in net.
  • I did ask Bednar about Tomas Tatar, and will likely use that for an individual piece. Is it time to cut the cord here?
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