PLAYERS SPEND BREAK SKATING IN BACKYARDS
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.”
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.”
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.”
The Avalanche healthy scratches against Calgary were winger Cody McLeod and defenseman Patrick Wiercioch.