DENVER Gabriel Landeskog stood out on the ice as he skated with his teammates at practice Wednesday.
For the moment, thats simply because his pumpkin orange jersey was hard to miss. Maybe soon, it again will be for his play as he steadily recovers from a concussion.
Although Landeskog skated at the morning practice donning a brightly colored sweater to signify no contact Landeskog will miss his 11th consecutive game night against the St. Louis Blues.
But he hopes he can return to the lineup soon, maybe for a three-game road swing through California that kicks off this weekend. Hes not quite sure yet on timing.
This much Landeskog does know: He wont change his aggressive style, even after the crunching hit thats sidelined him for nearly a month of this lockout-shortened season.
That said, Landeskog insisted he will be better aware of his surroundings on the ice. The forward was concentrating on bringing the puck up the ice at warp speed when he took a blow from San Jose defenseman Brad Stuart in late January.
That hit led to headaches and sensitivity to light. But those symptoms are clearing up, and Landeskog recently returned to practice.
Now, hes trying to round back into game shape after the lengthy layoff.
My hands arent quite there yet, feet arent quite there. My lungs arent quite there, said Landeskog, who was the leagues rookie of the year last season when he scored 22 goals and dished out 30 assists. But Im working on it, trying to get better every day.
Hes watched the video of the hit over and over. Each time he almost wants to scream at his image on the screen to look up, especially with Stuart rapidly approaching and ready to deliver a shoulder into his midsection.
Didnt really see him coming, Landeskog said. I didnt think he was coming at that speed. Youve got to be smart like that. You should know hes a physical player, and hes coming. Part of the responsibility is on me.
Landeskog said he didnt have any dizziness from the hit or any nausea. His memory is perfectly fine, too. But his head almost felt like it was under some sort of pressure.
But Im feeling a lot better now, he said. Its frustrating, and its tough.
Especially since the wallop happened just four games into his leadership. In early September, the Avs made Landeskog the youngest captain in NHL history at 19 years, 286 days. He was 11 days younger than Sidney Crosby when he became leader of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
With Landeskog sidelined, the team has struggled at times to get on track.
Im anxious to get back in the lineup and help the team, take the load off some of the guys playing a lot, Landeskog said.
When exactly that might be, well, its still up in the air. The plan is for him to skate Friday at practice, then reassess how he feels.
The Avs play in Los Angeles on Saturday and again the following night in Anaheim. They close out the trip on Tuesday at San Jose, where Landeskog was injured on Jan. 26.
Theres always a chance he can make the trip with us, Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. Hes in good spirits. He seems very excited out there. His energy level is up. Its a huge positive for our club.
Its great to see him out there.
As for the status of Erik Johnson, Sacco said the defenseman remains sidelined with a head injury. There was no update on when he might return to the ice.
Thats the thing about head injuries: Its simply a wait-and-see approach.
You cant really put a Band-Aid on it and go out there and play, Landeskog said. You only have one brain, and youve got to take care of it.