Avalanche rule out Smyth, Forsberg for Edmonton on Thursday night

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DENVER - Ryan Smyth and Peter Forsberg were both kept out of the Colorado Avalanche's lineup for Thursday night's game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Smyth skated effortlessly earlier in the day and showed no signs of the concussion and shoulder injury that forced him to miss five games. Forsberg, out with a strained groin, didn't take the ice at all in the Avalanche's morning skate.

Both players are essential to the Avalanche's playoff position. Colorado entered the game tied with Calgary atop the Northwest Division of the Western Conference. The Avalanche and the Flames were a point ahead of Minnesota in the division.

"My head was cleared a week ago and the shoulder has come along and now it's just a matter of getting into game shape," Smyth said. "Physically I'm feeling a lot better, but I'm not ready for tonight."

Forsberg has missed two games with the sore groin. The injury could be related to not having training camp prior his return to the Avalanche.

"We didn't give him much of an opportunity to work his way into it so maybe that's part of the price today," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "We have to make sure it's ready to go again."

Defenceman Adam Foote is likely out and didn't skate Thursday. Foote aggravated his hip injury in the first period of Tuesday's game in Atlanta and has missed the last two games.

Defencemen Ruslan Salei skated, but his availability was to be a game-time decision. Salei's right eye remained red, the result of a punch taken last Sunday in Dallas.

"My vision in it is almost 100 per cent," Salei said. "I'm going to see a doctor and we'll see what the final verdict is."

Defenceman Jordan Leopold is also out, recovering from a head injury sustained Sunday in Dallas when he took a blow to the head from Stars forward Steve Ott. The NHL suspended Ott three games for the hit.

"It looked like we were through the injury bug, but it's bit us here again," Quenneville said.

When asked if he's coached the entire team at one time in this injury-riddled season, Quenneville responded, "I don't think ever."

"It is closer to zero than anything," Quenneville said. "So it is closer to zero than anything."

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