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It was a pretty slow at Avalanche HQ down here in Centennial today as the Avalanche practiced and welcomed Alexander Kerfoot back into a regular jersey on the ice. Kerfoot took Nathan MacKinnon’s spot, who took the day off after another night of heavy lifting on the top line.
Following practice, there was no clarity about any of the things we usually like to get into. Kerfoot confirmed he was indeed feeling better as he worked his way back from an unspecified upper-body injury.
“Everything feels good,” Kerfoot said. “Obviously, me not skating for a couple of days, it takes a little while to get back up to speed but I feel good on the ice and it’s about getting the conditioning back and we’ve done a real good job of that the last few days.”
Kerfoot last appeared in the disaster in Tampa Bay where the Lightning smoked the Avalanche in a 7-1 beatdown that triggered the current 1-3-1 slide they’re on right now.
“It was kind of just lingering before that,” Kerfoot said. “And when we got back from the road trip it kind of got a little worse and we just kind of wanted to be cautious with it. Everything feels good now.”
That he was hurting before sitting out the previous four games might help explain his demotion to the fourth line and why he was scoreless in his last seven games. Despite not contributing on the scoresheet since the November 24 home game against the Dallas, Stars, Kerfoot is still sixth on the Avalanche in scoring with 18 points.
Kerfoot is looking to get back into a lineup that could use his injection of offense as all lines outside of the top line have really struggled to generate offense in the last week. In Kerfoot’s eyes, consistency is key for such a young team.
“I just think it’s about consistency for us,” he said. “You obviously talk about that over a long season but it’s not even just game in and game out. Sometimes in games, I think we can be a little bit inconsistent. We’ll have a great start to the game and then we’ll have lulls and let teams back in it or we’ll give up a lead and turn it on in the second half and are able to come back in games. It’s about doing it for a full 60 minutes. Obviously, that’s easier said than done but that’s what we’ve got to focus on.”
Where Kerfoot will slot into the lineup remains a mystery as coach Jared Bednar did not specify any particular lineup changes for tomorrow beyond naming Philipp Grubauer as the starting goaltender. The rest of that information will have to come tomorrow at the morning skate.
In just a quick side note, Conor Timmins skated again before and after practice in a non-contact jersey. He continues to ramp up the on-ice activities he is participating in as he works his way back from a concussion. There is no official timetable on when they expect him to actually get involved in full practices or even games but the steps he’s taking now can only be seen as positive.