Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, five days removed from sustaining a broken nose and a concussion against Boston, visited with teammates and support staff before an optional practice at Ball Arena on Monday.
MacKinnon, who is pegged to miss three games — plus this weekend’s All-Star Game in which he was selected the Central Division captain — has not yet resumed physical activity. He will not travel to Las Vegas for any ASG festivities.
Avs coach Jared Bednar was in a meeting during MacKinnon’s visit.
“The guys said he was in good spirits. He’s feeling a little bit better. So hopefully he continues to make the progress that he needs to to get back in our lineup,” Bednar said.
Following Tuesday’s game against visiting Arizona, the Avs won’t play again until Feb. 10 against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Ball Arena. If MacKinnon plays against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions he will have missed just three games.
MacKinnon had his nose “fixed,” Bednar said, but he didn’t know if it was a surgical procedure. Winger Logan O’Connor met with MacKinnon.
“It’s nice to see him around the rink,” O’Connor said. “He didn’t do anything today, obviously, but it was definitely nice to see him back in the facilities.”
The NHL on Sunday named Nashville defenseman Roman Josi as MacKinnon ASG replacement and Dallas’ Joe Pavelski will take over captain duties. Avs winger Mikko Rantanen is the NHL’s highest scorer that won’t play in the ASG.
“Roman Josi is also very deserving,” Bednar said. “Mikko is certainly having an all-star caliber year as well, and I’m sure there’s others (snubs) if you kind of dig through it.”
Footnotes. O’Connor, the former Denver Pioneers standout, had his first NHL fight in Sunday’s 4-1 victory over visiting Buffalo Sabres. He opposed Sabres forward Kyle Okposo, a former Minnesota Golden Gopher. “It was good. I felt like it was a long time coming, honestly,” O’Connor said of the tilt that began with a linesman trying to separate the players. “It was nice to just get it out of the way. The linesman sort of gotten in there a little bit so I would have liked for him to give us a bit more space.” … Defenseman Ryan Murray, who has missed the last nine games with a lower-body injury, is scheduled to return to the lineup against the Coyotes. Given that forward Dylan Sikura was reassigned to the AHL’s Colorado Eagles on Monday, defenseman Kurtis MacDermid will likely switch to forward. … Forward Darren Helm has missed the last 11 games with injury but is back practicing and should be activated after the All-Star break, Bednar said.