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News of the Colorado Avalanche - Links around the NHL - May 1st, 2013

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Dustin Bradford

Think the Colorado Avalanche picking Seth Jones is a slam dunk? Hold on.

"There’s a lots to like (about Jones)," said Rick Pracey, Colorado’s amateur scouting director. "His size and skating are two things that jump off the page and are attention-grabbers.

"But his ability to rush the puck and make decisions coming out of the defensive zone and create offence from the back end has our attention. He’s an individual that brings two-way ability and size, the reach, the ability on the back end serve him well in the D-zone. He’s certainly a well-rounded, two-way defenceman that is getting plenty of attention and hype at the top of the board and rightly so.

But Pracey said Halifax Mooseheads forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin are both very much in the picture to be selected first overall in what is very deep talent pool.

Backstrom is injured.

Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom was a late scratch from the lineup for Tuesday’s playoff opener against the Chicago Blackhawks because of a leg injury.

Backstrom appeared to injure his left leg reaching for a puck during pregame warmups and headed to the locker room. He was replaced in the lineup by Josh Harding.

A Montreal prospect is facing some trouble with the law.

Montreal Canadiens prospect Nathan Beaulieu and his father, Ontario Hockey League coach Jacques Beaulieu, are facing assault charges.

Strathroy-Caradoc police say the father and son have each been charged with two counts of assault.

Police say the charges stem from an altercation Saturday at a house party that followed a charity golf tournament.

Two people suffered minor injuries, police say.

The NHL has had a clause in their bargaining agreement since 2005 that a player cannot be discriminated against due to his sexual orientation.

You Can Play representatives will also appear at the league’s rookie orientation program to educate incoming players about the NHL’s inclusiveness policy.

"When an NHL player comes out, we will rely on You Can Play’s expertise in this area in addition the myriad support systems that already were part of our structure and the NHLPA’s to help that player in any way we can," NHL spokesman John Dellapina told Reuters in an email. "Our view is that we would do as much or as little as any player needs or wants. "

The NHL is also being helped by initiatives at the grassroots level.