Avs Mailbag: Who’s the better second-round matchup for Colorado? Vegas or Minnesota? – The Denver Post

Denver Post sports writer Mike Chambers responds to questions in the Avs Mailbag. Pose an Avalanche- or NHL-related question for the Avs Mailbag.

Hey Mike, love your coverage! So, without Nazem Kadri, who’s going to be the chippy enforcer for our group? And do you think he’ll be back with the Avs moving forward?

— James, Pueblo

Thank you, James. The Avs can take care of themselves. They are not as rugged as some playoff teams but staying out of the penalty box is more important and that’s their goal. As for Kadri next season and beyond, perhaps the Avs will not protect him in the expansion draft. That’s probably the only way he won’t remain with the club next season.

Mike, do you see the long break hurting the Avs in the next round or will it be an advantage of them getting healthy?

— Jackie, Denver

There is a risk to having a weeklong break while your opponent is coming off a Game 7 less than 48 hours earlier. But I also think the short break for the Game 7 opponent could be a huge challenge. If the Avs had to pick, they’d take the break instead of playing a Game 7. As for health, the only guy who needs to get healthy is Alex Newhook. The other players from the first-round series appear 100% or close to it.

Who would present the most favorable matchup for the Avs in round two, Las Vegas or St. Paul?

— Jack, Hooper

I think Vegas is the better team but Minnesota seems to be more opportunistic. Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is a goalie you’d rather not face in the playoffs. Cam Talbot is solid but Fleury is probably more capable of standing on his head.

What is going on with the new expansion team? Who all do you see the Avs losing to the Seattle Kraken?

–Ryan, Colorado Springs

The Avs will probably lose a good forward (J.T. Compher, Valeri Nichushkin) or defenseman Ryan Graves. I see them protecting seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie (opposed to eight skaters, F/D, and a goalie) and those guys probably won’t be on the list.

Injury updates on EJ and Byram and Calvert?

— Chris Mischke, Erie

Bo Byram is back and practicing with the team. We could see him make his NHL playoff debut at some point. Erik Johnson could return late in the playoffs. No update on Calvert. It appears his career could be over because of concussions.

Is there any possible way that there is a workplace inside of Ball Arena or within the Avalanche hockey club for people with disabilities?

— JD, Morrison

I’m sure there is, JD, but you’d have to contact the arena or the Avalanche.

Has having the fans being back in the stands given extra life to this team? I feel like they have what it takes to go all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

— Alexander, LoDo

Yes, just 4,050 fans made a difference. Then the variance was raised to some 8,000 and now it’s at 10,500, more than half of the 18,007 capacity for hockey. Ball Arena will be rocking for Game 1 Sunday!

Avalanche or Nuggets, who do you see having the better shot at winning a championship at Ball Arena?

— Mike, Centennial

The hockey team. I think the Avs are on the cusp.

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