Gabe Landeskog rejoins Avalanche, doing well after scary injury during playoffs

Avalanche captain Gabe Landeskog is back on the ice and feeling well after a scary skate-blade cut above his right knee during the playoffs.

Landeskog went down in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Dallas Stars last September, ending his season.The Avs were eliminated right after that in Game 7.

“My knee is good. I feel good,” the left winger said in a video conference call Friday. “Obviously, it was kind of a freak injury. Bottom line, I got very lucky. It could have been a lot worse. But I’m ready to rock.”

Landeskog made his on-ice training camp debut Friday at Family Sports Center. He and four other players listed as “unfit” missed the first three on-ice sessions of camp. Goalie Philipp Grubauer and new forward Brandon Saad also rejoined the team Friday. Defensemen Erik Johnson remains “unfit” and Keaton Middleton has left the team, coach Jared Bednar said.  The Avs took Thursday off.

“Per protocol l was told to stay away from the rink for a few days. Only really missed three days,” Landeskog said. “Excited to be back and looking forward to finish off camp in a good way.”

Landeskog is the left winger on Colorado’s second line, which includes center Nazem Kadri and Saad — the two-time Stanley Cup winner with Chicago. Landeskog said the Avs mostly practiced special teams Friday but he expects to work well with Kadri and Saad at even strength.

“I’m excited to get the chance to play with both of them,” Landeskog said. “Obviously, I’ve played with Naz in the past. Played in the bubble together quite a bit. I think ‘Saader’ is going to bring a lot to our team. He’s got experience (and) two Stanley Cup rings and a lot of offensive talent. He’s got speed. He can finish. I look forward to see what we can do as a line.”

On the power play, Landeskog will begin in the same role he played last season and most of his career — a net-front presence. Training camp is closed to the media but Bednar identified his power-play participants Friday.

The first unit hasn’t changed from last year. Cale Makar is the quarterback up top, with Nathan MacKinnon on the left wing, Mikko Rantanen on the right, and Landeskog and Nazem Kadri in interchangeable positions down low.

Seven players practiced in the second unit, including an up-high, puck-savvy tandem of Sam Girard and newcomer Devon Toews. Andre Burakovsky is back on the right wing and Valeri Nichushkin and Saad rotated on the left wing. Joonas Donskoi and J.T. Compher did the same on the right side.

The Avs are scheduled to scrimmage Saturday and Sunday and take Monday off. Their season opener is Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues at Ball Arena.

——————————-
[ source ]