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Avalanche encounters COVID-19 concerns to begin on-ice training camp

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Avalanche encounters COVID-19 concerns to begin on-ice training camp

Avalanche free-agent depth signings Stefan Matteau and Roland McKeown are in COVID-19 protocol and did not participate in Thursday’s first day of on-ice training camp, which ended with timed end-to-end conditioning drills at Family Sports Center.

Following the two morning sessions, Avs coach Jared Bednar said Matteau, a forward, and McKeown, a defenseman, both tested positive but are near the end of their recovery.

“I don’t like losing those guys, even for a day or two of training camp, but Matteau is cleared but he hasn’t done anything for seven days so we’re just working him out,” said Bednar, who noted Wednesday that the entire camp roster will eventually be vaccinated. “We’ll get him on the ice and get him up to speed. I hate to put him in the first-day skate like that after seven days off and have him pull something. So that’s more precautionary. McKeown is a couple days behind him.”

Matteau and McKeown both signed modest one-year, two-way contracts in July to help complete the Colorado Eagles’ AHL roster and provide depth options for the Avs.

Top pair in red. Devon Toews and Cale Makar, the Avs’ top-pair defensemen last season, were both in red non-contact sweaters Thursday. Toews, who underwent offseason shoulder surgery, skated with a skills coach while Makar, a 2021 Norris Trophy finalist, partnered with Sam Girard in the full 26-man first session.

Bednar said Makar “had a procedure” to his upper body recently but is not expected to miss any practice or his appointed preseason games.

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