Craig Anderson practices for first time since injury

When workhorse goalie Craig Anderson went down with what seemed like a freak injury during a Colorado Avalanche pregame drill, many people (myself included) thought that the team was in huge trouble.

As it turns out, Peter Budaj stepped in and played pretty well. His record (5-3-1) is a little more impressive than his save percentage (a pedestrian 90.7), but the former Avs starter made the team look wise by keeping him around for another season. (Craig Anderson sports an identical 90.7 save percentage with a 3-4 record in 2010-11.)

All that being said, the Avalanche would surely like to have their 2009-10 backbone available to play again. While there is no telling how soon he will be back, Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reports that Anderson practiced and faced shots for the first time since injuring his knee today.

Obviously a welcome sight for Avs fans. I don’t know exactly when he’ll be back in the lineup, but can’t imagine it being much longer than a week assuming he’s back at full practice starting tomorrow.

Naturally, that’s a far-from-official stance from Dater, so we’ll keep you informed as Anderson tests out his knee an nears his return. He might have setbacks or could spend some time on a conditioning stint, but if Colorado can get him back soon, they would greatly improve their playoff chances in the tough-as-nails Western Conference.

Here is a short video of his first practice, via Dater’s blog post.

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.