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Newhook will make his NHL debut; MacDonald healthy, returns

May 5, 2021, 4:16 PM ET [1 Comments]
Rick Sadowski
Colorado Avalanche Blogger •Avalanche Insider • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Alex Newhook will make his NHL debut Wednesday when the Avalanche play San Jose at SAP Center in the finale of their four-game set.

Newhook, 20, will center a line with Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky. He was the Avalanche’s second first-round pick (No. 16) in the 2019 NHL draft after they selected defenseman Bowen Byram No. 4.

Here are the GAME NOTES.

“I had an idea yesterday, but I found out this morning,” said Newhook, who is from St. John’s Newfoundland. “It was a pretty cool thing to hear, I’ve been dreaming of this day. I’ve been dreaming about it my whole life.

“I called my parents right away. I called my close buddies at home and they’re all pretty excited. I’m sure Newfoundland will be behind it and stay up for a late game. There’s not too many from Newfoundland who’ve played in the NHL and I’m very proud to be a part of that group.”

It’ll be a late night for Newhook’s parents, who will watch on TV from home.

“My parents, unfortunately, aren’t able to come,” he said. “Long flight out, it’s only a day’s notice, so it’s too bad they can’t come out. With the coronavirus it may have made it more difficult. But I’m excited and they’re excited for me. They’re going to have, I’m sure, some people watching at home.”

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Newhook was recalled Sunday from the Colorado Eagles after he had nine points (five goals, four assists) in eight games. He signed a three-year, entry-level contract March 31 after playing two seasons at Boston College where he had 58 points (26 goals, 32 assists) in 46 games.

Newhook had 102 points (38 goals, 64 assists) in 53 games with the Victoria Grizzlies of the British Columbia Hockey League in 2018-19.

“I want to play Newhook with some skilled players,” coach Jared Bednar said. “Burky’s playing real well right now, Naz is an option to help Newhook in the middle of the ice. We’re going to move him to the wing for tonight because Newhook’s more comfortable at center, see how he does there tonight in his natural position. He’s also going to play on the power play with those guys as well.

“As far as the timing goes, he played on the weekend (with the Eagles), he played back-to-back (games). I wanted to give him a day to make sure he’s got his best legs and also to have some time to brush him up on some video and systematic stuff and then how we want to play tactically.

“I think there’s an advantage there watching the Sharks (on Monday), to sit through a couple pregame meetings and pre-scouts, just try to put him in the best situation to succeed for tonight.

“He looks good in practice, he looks quick, he looks strong, bigger and stronger than the last time I saw him for sure. He’s had a great season, he’s putting the puck in the net, so we’re going to put him in some situations to see if he can help us on the offensive side of things.

“We’ll keep touching him up on the defensive side of things to make sure he’s doing everything right from a tactical and structural standpoint.”

Newhook is excited about playing with Kadri, who ended a 19-game goal drought Monday in the Avalanche's 5-4 overtime win against the Sharks, and Burakovsky, who scored the winning goal.

“For my first game it’s special to be playing with those two guys,” he said. “It’s a lot of years in the NHL for those two guys and obviously (they’re) two really good players, so I’m excited to get out there and play with those guys and it’ll be a lot of fun.”

Aside from giving Newhook skill players to skate with, Bednar said he wanted to reunite Tyson Jost with Valeri Nichushkin and Joonas Donskoi.

Defenseman Jacob MacDonald will return after missing the past seven games with a lower-body injury.

With Newhook and MacDonald in the lineup, Dan Renouf and Kiefer Sherwood will be scratched.

The lineup:

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Nazem Kadri – Alex Newhook – Andre Burakovsky
Valeri Nichushkin -- Tyson Jost – Joonas Donskoi
Carl Soderberg -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – J.T. Compher

Devon Toews – Cale Makar
Ryan Graves -- Conor Timmins
Patrik Nemeth – Jacob MacDonald

Philipp Grubauer
Jonas Johansson

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