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Morning Flurries: Game Day Again!

After another handful of days off, the Avalanche are finally back out on the ice on Thursday

NHL: Washington Capitals at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

After playing a pair of games overseas in Sweden this past weekend, the Colorado Avalanche got a chance to take a breather and re-acclimate to North America during the first half of this week.

They’ll finally hit the ice again Thursday night, though, looking to snap a three-game losing skid as they face the Washington Capitals at home in Denver.

Although Colorado has technically been without former center Matt Duchene for two weeks now - and have played two games without him already - this will be their first game without him on the ice in some fashion, as their head-to-head series in Sweden was against his new team, the Ottawa Senators. Now, they’ll get their first chance to make a clean break and show what they have to offer without him lingering anywhere.

It’s not just the first game without Duchene, though.

As of Wednesday, the Avalanche were officially joined by 21-year-old Russian prospect Vladislav Kamenev, who played his first four games for the Avalanche organization with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage.

A 2014 draft pick, Kamenev captained the silver medal-winning Team Russia at the 2016 World Junior Championships, then went on to dominate with the Predators at the AHL level last year. Learn more about his recall here. [Mile High Hockey]

Speaking of calling players up, the Avalanche have been hit by the injury bug a bit this year. Has their pair of long breaks surrounding the Sweden Series been a blessing as they recover? [MHH]

The Avalanche received some strong praise from the NHL, as well, who called the Sweden games a success and hope to have repeat events in coming years. [NHL.com]

Back on the east coast, who doesn’t love a good Phil Kessel success story? He’s on pace for 98 points, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. [Pensburgh]

Speaking of Phil Kessel...

Keep this tucked away, as well: Luke Witkowski may be facing a hefty suspension after returning to the ice after being ejected. [Winging It In Motown]

For a closer look at what happened, ah...

Finally, on a serious note:

The Arizona Coyotes saw Calgary-based business leader George Gosbee step in to help get together an ownership group back when they needed it most.

This week, he passed away suddenly - and at his own hands - at age 48, leaving behind a wife and children. The devastating effects of a refusal to talk about mental health show up every day in society, and it’s too hard not to talk about it anymore.

Editorial on the topic of mental health: [The Calgary Herald]

Editorial on what Gosbee meant to Arizona, and the devastating effects of what happened: [Five For Howling]