Avalanche Skate: Lehkonen’s Timeline Revealed, Landeskog Arrives

Colorado Hockey Now

There was a familiar face on the bench at morning skate for the Colorado Avalanche.

Gabriel Landeskog, the Captain of the Avalanche, is back in town. We knew he’d be arriving sometime during this homestand, but it sounds like he might be here for good.

“He’ll be around now on a consistent basis,” Jared Bednar said. “He’s in there this morning, chatting with all the guys, seeing how it’s going. Talking to all the staff, so it’s good to have him back. He’s settling in here for the holidays, and working to get the kids back in school.”

That’s very good news for the Avalanche. You can never have too much leadership around the team, and he’s the most important leader in the organization. You’d much rather have him on the ice, but you take what you can get at this point.

Speaking of good news, Artturi Lehkonen hit the ice yesterday at Family Sports for the first time since suffering a neck injury last month.

A few days ago, the Avalanche said there was no timeline for his return. Today, we got a pretty specific timeline.

“I think he’s doing great,” Bednar said. “His injury was a 10-12 week injury, and he’s just past the four week mark. To see the progress he’s making and to get him on the ice, that’s a good sign. Hopefully he can beat that timeline, but we don’t really know just yet.”

Lineup News And Notes

Valeri Nichushkin will return to the lineup tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. He’s missed the last two games due to illness, and his absence has been very noticeable. The powerplay, in particular, has really struggled without his net-front presence.

Nathan MacKinnon and Tomas Tatar were absent from morning skate, but both are expected to play tonight. Tatar missed due to personal reasons, and MacKinnon took a maintenance day.

It also sounds like Sam Malinski will stay in the lineup, while Caleb Jones will sit. I asked Bednar if this had more to do with Malinski’s play, or if he felt there was a dip in Jones’ play.

“I think Jones has been pretty consistent, actually,” Bednar said. “I talked to him about that. I thought he was really good in his first couple games, and then he settled in to a good spot. I don’t feel like there’s been a big dip in his game. We have seven guys back there that can help us. I just feel like Malinski’s game has been really solid, and as a young guy coming in, when you have a guy playing like that, you want to continue to evaluate. I think he can help us win hockey games, and I’ve kind of chosen to go with him over Jonesy right now. It’s a long year, we’re going to need all of them.”

“I just want him to know it’s not a punishment or anything, it’s just kind of where we’re at right now.”

Ivan Prosvetov will start in net for the Avalanche.

Tonight’s game starts at 7 PM MST.

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