ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Colorado Avalanche defenceman Colby Cohen skipped practice Wednesday because of a bad cold.
And he’s one of the healthier players.
The Avs have been hit hard this season by a rash of injuries, leading to five players being placed on injured reserve, including top goaltender Craig Anderson (knee) and defenceman Adam Foote (concussion).
They’re tied with New Jersey for most players on IR.
Colorado has another five skaters sidelined with various ailments, giving the team arguably the best lineup in the league that’s unable to play.
The injury situation only grew worse in a 4-2 loss to Calgary on Tuesday night as tenacious forward T.J. Galiardi broke his right wrist on a collision near the boards and recent call-up David Van Der Gulik tore ligaments in his left knee.
“We don’t feel sorry for ourselves. No one feels sorry for us in this league,” coach Joe Sacco said. “We feel that we can compete with anybody. It doesn’t matter who is in the lineup.”
Foote, the team’s captain, has been sidelined since leaving the game in the first period against San Jose on Oct. 21.
He skated up and down the rink, hardly stopping for a breather, for more than an hour after practice Wednesday.
This wasn’t some sort of punishment, merely Foote’s way of increasing his stamina as quickly as possible after missing nearly three weeks of ice time.
“My head feels great. But as far as conditioning, it’s probably going to take a little bit,” said the 39-year-old Foote, who’s in his 19th season. “We’ll see how it goes.”
Foote hopes to be ready Friday night in Columbus but he’s mindful not to rush back too soon even if the depleted defence could certainly use him.
“You don’t want to come back too early, especially with what I’m coming off,” Foote said. “It’s a long year, too, so we’ll have to measure it.”
Along with Foote, Kyle Cumiskey, Peter Mueller and Kyle Quincey also are out with head injuries. Mueller has yet to play this season, still suffering from the effects of a hit late last season that caused him to miss the playoffs.
It’s not all doom and gloom: Anderson and Ryan Wilson (leg) may soon be back as well, each skating before practice. Anderson has been sidelined since hurting a knee during the final warmup drill in Vancouver on Oct. 26. Not scheduled to start that night, he was taking shots from teammates at close range when he abruptly went down and skated gingerly to the bench.
Backup Peter Budaj has taken Anderson’s place, going 3-2-1.
“We’re banged up right now. But it’s not an excuse,” forward Chris Stewart said. “It’s time to show our true character.”