PLAY­ERS SPEND BREAK SKAT­ING IN BACK­YARDS

The Denver Post - - OFF & RUNNING -

The three-day NHL hol­i­day shut­down ended Tues­day, and the Avalanche took full ad­van­tage of the break. Vet­er­ans Jarome Iginla and Francois Beau­chemin skated any­way — in their back­yards.

“We stayed home pretty much,” Iginla said af­ter the morn­ing skate Tues­day. “My in-laws came in, my mom came in, three cousins with neph­ews and nieces, so they played with our three kids and skated on the out­door rink. We did that for a cou­ple of days, so I ac­tu­ally didn’t feel bad this morn­ing. I wasn’t too rusty.”

How many goals did he have in the back­yard?

“Lots,” Iginla said, then caught him­self. “Ac­tu­ally, I had more as­sists than goals.”

Said Beau­chemin: “We had a lot of fam­ily over for the hol­i­days, so we just en­joyed some time to­gether and played on the out­door rink in the back­yard. …I scored a dozen goals, prob­a­bly. I’ll try to get the goals back to the Pepsi Cen­ter.”

Backup.

The meet­ing with the Flames was the sixth time goal­tender Se­myon Varlamov was un­avail­able be­cause of in­juries — groin mus­cle is­sues and a wrist prob­lem — and Jeremy Smith was re­called Sun­day to back up Calvin Pickard. Spencer Martin had come up from the Ram­page to back up Pickard pre­vi­ously, in­clud­ing for the Fri­day night game at Chicago.

“Jeremy got hurt and he’s been back play­ing for San An­to­nio now, and he’s been do­ing a good job,” Avalanche coach Jared Bed­nar said af­ter the morn­ing skate. “Spencer, be­ing up here be­fore the break, he missed a cou­ple of games he could have started down there, so com­ing out of the break, we want to keep him play­ing as a young guy. He’s been play­ing real well for them, so we just de­cided to call Smith up in­stead for the time be­ing be­cause Pick’s go­ing to get the start tonight.”

E.J. update.

Two NFL quar­ter­backs, Tennessee’s Mar­cus Mar­i­ota and Oak­land’s Derek Carr, suf­fered bro­ken fibu­las over the week­end, and that’s the same in­jury Avalanche de­fense­man Erik John­son suf­fered on Dec. 3 against Dal­las.

At the time, the Avalanche said John­son would be out six to eight weeks, and that now seems to have been op­ti­mistic.

“He’s im­prov­ing,” Bed­nar said. “He’s still on the crutches and walk­ing in a boot . ... He’s still not close.”

Scratches.

The Avalanche healthy scratches against Cal­gary were winger Cody McLeod and de­fense­man Pa­trick Wier­cioch.

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