Gabe Landeskog will embark on his first major locker-room challenge as the NHL's youngest captain Saturday when Ryan O'Reilly rejoins the Avalanche 19 games into a lockout-shortened season. Landeskog needs to make sure there is no lingering resentment among teammates concerning O'Reilly's contract holdout.
"I'm ready to handle that and I know we have a lot of veteran guys in here that have been through the same thing," Landeskog, 20, said of O'Reilly's return. "We're ready to handle that as a group, handle that the mature way.
"I understand if guys would be bitter about that. But I think all I care about, and most of the guys in here care about, is this logo, and he's going to help our team. It doesn't matter, to me, how much he's making. He's going to help our team. That's the bottom line."
Added center Paul Stastny: "It may be awkward the first day for him, but all the guys here know him and respect him and are excited to have him."
Nobody can argue that the injury-plagued team could have used O'Reilly from the start, particularly after Steve Downie and Landeskog were injured and the forward corps was crippled before the fifth game.
O'Reilly, 22, traveled from Ontario to Denver on Friday and passed a team physical. He is scheduled to practice with the team Saturday morning before it heads to Columbus for Sunday afternoon's game. O'Reilly, who is expected to be in Sunday's lineup, has been practicing with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, part of the Canadian Hockey League's major-junior system.
Read more: Ryan O'Reilly in fold, key part now is meshing with Avs teammates - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/avalanche/ci_22700393/ryan-oreilly-fold-key-part-now-is-meshing#ixzz2MPCjsWld
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Ryan O'Reilly in fold, key part now is meshing with Avs teammates
Denver Post | Mar 2