Cale Makar and Bowen Byram both missed practice Tuesday for the Avalanche, though coach Jared Bednar said he expected at least one of them to play Wednesday night against St. Louis.
Bednar told reporters at Family Sports Center that both players were “banged up” after the game Sunday afternoon in Buffalo. Makar’s ailment was obvious — he crashed awkwardly into the end boards late in the second period. His coach and a few of his teammates did not like how Kyle Okposo’s nudge in the back played a role in Makar’s fall, but there was no penalty on the play.
Makar did come back to play in the third period, but he also went down the tunnel towards the locker room a couple of times and stood instead of sitting at times, clearly trying to work out an issue with his right leg. Makar did say after the game that he expected to be fine moving forward, and felt like he got lucky after the incident.
Byram’s ailment wasn’t as obvious. He did not appear to miss any time in the Sabres game.
The Avs recalled only one defenseman, recently acquired Caleb Jones, from the Eagles in the AHL. If both injured defensemen can’t play Wednesday, they’d need to recall another to have six healthy bodies at the position.
Colorado also recalled Riley Tufte from the Eagles. Tufte was one of the last cuts at the end of training camp and leads the Eagles with six goals and eight points in six games.
Bednar did not tell reporters who could come out of the lineup up front for Tufte to make his Avs debut, but both Jonathan Drouin and Tomas Tatar participated in practice with a fourth-line jersey on, while Tufte skated with the second line and Logan O’Connor bumped to the third.
Tatar has four assists in eight games but played just 10:10 against the Sabres, his second-lowest total of the season. Drouin had an assist on opening night, but no points in the past seven games.
The Avs have used the same 18 skaters for the past seven games, after Andrew Cogliano missed opening night and Kurtis MacDermid replaced him. The club has otherwise been healthy, captain Gabe Landeskog’s year-long absence as he recovers from knee surgery notwithstanding.
Injuries and availability issues were a big problem for the team last season, particularly during the first-round playoff loss to the Seattle Kraken. Improving the club’s overall depth, especially up front, was a top priority this past offseason.
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