Josh Manson has demonstrated his impressive capability to rejoin the Avalanche lineup seamlessly after an injury this season, so it didn’t bode well when he hinted Wednesday morning that his latest return hasn’t felt the same.
“Just trying to still catch up a little bit,” Manson said the morning of Game 5 against the Kraken. “Trying to keep the body going.”
The big defenseman left the bench that night in the third period, not feeling well enough physically to skate in high-stakes minutes, and hasn’t been back since. Manson and center Darren Helm are both officially out for Game 7 of the first-round series, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Saturday.
Helm also returned from an injury during this series, but he played only in Game 2 before a hit from Will Borgen sidelined him again. Manson’s lower-body injury is a continuation of the one he has dealt with since early December 2022.
Without Manson for Game 6 in Seattle, Bednar reunited Devon Toews and Cale Makar on the top defensive pairing after using Makar with Bo Byram earlier in the series. Jack Johnson moved up to the second pair for Game 6 with Byram, who played his off-hand side on the right and had a goal taken away by review.
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The other potential injury Colorado managed to avoid in Game 6 was Andrew Cogliano’s head-first run-in with the wall. Seattle’s Jordan Eberle, who scored the overtime winner in Game 4, crosschecked Cogliano from behind and was called for boarding.
“He’s feeling OK,” Bednar said after the Avs landed in Denver. “Obviously a little bit sore, but I think he’ll be good to go for tomorrow.”
After the officials convened and announced Eberle’s penalty was a two-minute minor, Nathan MacKinnon could be heard on the referee’s hot microphone at Climate Pledge Arena, reacting incredulously: “Two minutes?”
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The NHL Department of Player Safety did not hold a hearing with Eberle on Saturday to review the hit. Hearings usually proceed suspensions, as was the case with Makar after his Game 4 hit on Jared McCann led to a one-game suspension. Cogliano left Game 6 but returned in the third period.
Bednar, asked for his thoughts on Eberle not similarly receiving supplemental discipline from the league, shrugged and laughed. “I don’t know,” he said. “I can’t figure it out anymore. So I don’t even try.”
“I actually haven’t even seen (the replay) yet; from what I’ve heard, it’s not great,” Devon Toews said. “It is what it is. You’ve gotta trust Player Safety to do what they do, as hard as it is sometimes. And you can disagree, agree with what they’re doing. And they make their comments or their intuitions off of it. But maybe if Cogs just stays down, it’s something else. But definitely thought it should have been a major that’s reviewable. That just makes a lot of sense to us.”