Few people realized just how frustrated Tyson Jost was with his injury-riddled start to the year.
Almost two months into the season, the 2016 first round pick of the Colorado Avalanche has been limited to just ten games thanks to a lower-body injury that began giving him trouble during training camp. After missing all of the team’s preseason games, Jost was cleared to play on opening night in New York.
Less than a week later, he was hit awkwardly into the boards by Boston’s Adam McQuaid. Jost tried to crawl to the bench but stopped halfway. He was eventually helped to the dressing room where he was evaluated and returned to finish the game where he would eventually seal the win for Colorado with an empty-net goal.
While he continued to play and tough it out, anyone who had watched him before could tell he wasn’t playing to the level that is expected from him. It wasn’t until after the Avalanche lost to the St. Louis Blues more than a week after the hit that the coaching staff decided to put him on IR and let him heal.
That was back on October 19th, and for the first time since, Jost is expected to be back in Colorado’s lineup on Wednesday when they welcome the Winnipeg Jets to the Pepsi Center.
After returning from a short conditioning stint with Colorado’s AHL affiliate in San Antonio, he was back skating at practice on a line with JT Compher and Alexander Kerfoot.
While Jost was excited to be back skating at the Avs’ practice facility in Centennial, he was the first to point out that the eleven days he spent with the Rampage were the best thing for his game and long-term success.
“It’s good, it’s nice to see all of these guys, it was nice to sleep in my own bed last night,” Jost said with a smile. “It was good for me to go down, and get some games. I was obviously out for a month so, it’s a long time without playing hockey. And um it’s hard when you’re out that long to come back and jump back into things so. My first couple games were a little bit slow just because I wasn’t used to be in that game-like situation. I didn’t get to practice too many times either. But it was awesome for me, at the end there I’m starting to get my game back, and my confidence back, I was getting a lot of opportunities and a lot of shots on net.”
Jost posted just one assist in five games in the AHL, and while he was a little disappointed with his production, goals and points weren’t the reason he was there. There’s no substitution for playing in a game, especially when the injury keeps you from being on the ice like his did.
“Yeah, for sure, 100% if I would’ve tried to jump back into the NHL after being out for a month, I don’t think it would’ve been good for me,” Jost admitted. “It was nice to get my confidence there, maybe I didn’t put up the numbers I wanted to down there. But I think when I look back at things, it's not like I wasn’t getting my chances, I was getting six or seven shots a game, and all my opportunities were there, and I was making things happen and I really thought the last two games there, I was really dominating, and getting back to my game and using my down low speed and stuff like that and making things happen.”
Generating shots and playing well down low are things Jared Bednar is going to be looking for out of Tyson Jost now that he is back to full health and playing on a line with his off-ice roommates.
Compher, Kerfoot and Jost all live together and will be looking to channel some of their “roomy chem”, as Jost called it when they hit the ice on Wednesday.
Monday was Colorado’s first practice since the team lost for just the second time at Pepsi Center this season against the Flames on Saturday. Colin Wilson was the only player absent from practice, while Gabe Landeskog skated as the extra forward as he awaited his punishment from the league for his cross-check to the head of Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk. He was later suspended four games.