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Avalanche Rink Notes: Feb. 1

Svatos Available For Tuesday's Game; Hejduk Begins Skating

Monday, 02.01.2010 / 3:04 PM / Features
By Aaron Lopez  - Special to ColoradoAvalanche.com
Having lost three straight games in regulation for the first time all season, the Colorado Avalanche isn’t acting like all hope is lost.

The recent slide has dropped Colorado into the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference, four points behind Northwest Division leading Vancouver, but the club is well aware that all good teams go through rough patches during the course of the year.

“Every team in the league has gone through this this year,” said Avalanche captain Adam Foote. “We have some games in hand but we want to make sure we don’t get too loose, too comfortable, after the stretch we had. No matter who we’re playing, whether it’s from the East or the West, teams are trying to make a push right now.”

The NHL season is a marathon, not a sprint, but a team still needs to bring a sense of urgency to the ice each night.

“We obviously want to stop this slide we’re on, and there’s no better time than right away,” said defenseman Kyle Quincey. “I’m glad we don’t have four days off before our next game. We can get right back at it and turn the ship around.”

On Tuesday Colorado will host the Columbus Blue Jackets, a club the Avs have beaten in each of their three meetings this season.

“We’ve done alright with them this year, so hopefully we can continue that,” said Quincey. “It’s the little details that make you successful. It’s about burying your chances and tightening up a little bit on the other teams’ better players.”

Line Changes
Colorado’s line combinations had stayed relatively the same for the past few weeks, but Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco switched things up a little at Monday’s practice.

“Sometimes when things aren’t going well you try to make a change and just break the monotony,” said Sacco. “When you’re going through a little bit of adversity you just have to fight through it.”

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First, it appears as though forward Marek Svatos could be ready to return from a chest injury when the Avs face the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night at Pepsi Center. Svatos skated on the Blue line with Matt Duchene and Chris Stewart today.

“He’s available tomorrow. I had him practicing on a line,” Sacco said of Svatos. “I’ll make my decision tomorrow morning, but he is available.”

Rookie forward Brandon Yip took Stewart’s former spot on the right side of the Gray line with Paul Stastny and Wojtek Wolski. Ryan O’Reilly centered Cody McLeod and T.J. Galiardi on the White line, while the Burgundy line was comprised of Chris Durno, David Koci, Justin Mercier and Darcy Tucker.

There was no immediate word on any impending changes to the Avalanche’s defensive unit. John-Michael Liles was a healthy scratch Sunday against the New York Rangers, but the Avalanche head coach said he has yet to decide on who will sit Tuesday.

“I’ll make my final decision tomorrow morning,” said Sacco. “We have seven healthy defensemen right now and I’m going to dress six tomorrow.”

Hejduk Skates
Milan Hejduk was back on the ice this morning at Family Sports Center, skating for approximately 15 minutes by himself before practice.

The veteran forward, who recently underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his knee, last played on Jan. 11 at Calgary. Hejduk had the procedure performed on Jan. 20, and the Usti, Czech Republic native was originally given a 2-4 week timetable for a return.

Defenseman Ruslan Salei (back) also skated today while wearing an orange non-contact sweater.



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