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Avalanche hit by COVID ready to persevere as season opens – The Denver Post

Minus center superstar Nathan MacKinnon and head coach Jared Bednar, the Avalanche were impatient to open the 2021-22 season at home on Wednesday.

“Ready to rock,” Avs captain Gabe Landeskog said after morning practice at Ball Arena, where the club will host the Chicago Blackhawks at 8 p.m. in a nationally televised game on TNT. “It’s an exciting day.”

The Avs are 100% vaccinated against COVID-19, but Bednar tested positive late last week and MacKinnon tested positive on Monday. Colorado’s bench on Wednesday will be led by assistant coaches Ray Bennett and Nolan Pratt and skills coach Shawn Allard. MacKinnon will be replaced by Nazem Kadri on the first line and Andre Burakovsky on the power play.

Forward Jayson Megna has been called up from the Colorado Eagles to the AHL to replace JT Compher in the fourth line. Compher replaces Kadri in the second row.

“You know me. You probably know what I’m going to say: this is what it is,” Landeskog said of the start of the season with several COVID issues. “There is nothing we can control “Hopefully Bedsy can be back this weekend, and Nate, we’ll see. I spoke to him (Tuesday). He’s asymptomatic. He feels perfectly fine. Hopefully he can test it at some point.”

“But we know we have a good team in (the locker room) and we’re going to try to establish a good advantage on the home ice – being a good home team all season and that starts with the opener at home tonight. “

The Avs will also be without defenseman Devon Toews and goalkeeper Pavel Francouz against the Blackhawks. Both are in the casualty reserve.