Abdominal injury improving for center

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche center Peter Forsberg took part in his first full practice in days Monday and said the abdominal
injury that has kept him out of the last 18 games is getting better.

The struggling Avalanche (0-2-3 in the last five games) wouldn't say if Forsberg will play Friday in St. Louis or Saturday at home against Philadelphia.

"It's good, a step in the right direction," Forsberg said
after the 90-minute workout. "We'll see how long it takes, but it
definitely feels better."

Forsberg, last year's Hart Trophy winner, has taken part in
limited drills with the team, but Monday was the first time he took
contact. He also skated hard at the end of the practice.

"Hopefully this was a step in the right direction with this practice and he can get back in there," coach Tony Granato said.

Forsberg has not played since Nov. 9 and has missed 21 games
overall because of the injury. Granato said he doesn't think
Forsberg needs more contact in practice before being cleared to

Paul Kariya, who has missed the last 15 games with a sprained
right wrist, skated alone after the Avs practiced and will not play
this weekend.

Forward Alex Tanguay missed the last two games with a
thigh bruise, but Granato said he was keeping him out of the lineup
to give him a full week to heal. Tanguay will probably play against
the Blues on Friday. ... Forward Jim Cummins and defenseman Martin
Skoula put in some extra work Monday, two days after less-than
perfect performances. Skoula played just 3:24 at Los Angeles after
a slow start Saturday, and Cummins racked up 37 penalty minutes in
the 3-3 tie. Cummins put the Kings on the power play by getting
three 10-minute majors and a two-minute instigator penalty with
4:20 left in the second period, and the Kings took a 3-2 lead less
than three minutes later. "When you take a seven-minute penalty,
that's unacceptable, especially at a key point of the game,"
Granato said. "He knows that, I know that." As for Skoula,
"certainly we'd like to see more consistency out of him. When it's
not there and he has to sit and watch for a majority of the game,
hopefully the next game he responds the right way."