The Colorado Avalanche are in the midst of a nail-biting playoff race between them and the Minnesota Wild for that precious last wild card position. Recent events, along with this crazy post-season chase has the Avalanche climbing mountains.
Nothing comes easy in this league and Colorado is finding that out in waves at the moment.
The first mountain the Avalanche had to climb was the suspension of captain Gabe Landeskog. He was suspended three games for a careless hit to the head of Simon Despres of the Anaheim Ducks.
Not a good time for the captain to let his emotions get the better of him.
Now after Colorado’s victory over the Calgary Flames last night, Landeskog will have served his suspension. The Avalanche, thankfully, went 2 and 1 without their captain. Four huge points gained on the road so far now sees the Avs three points ahead of the Wild.
Landeskog will be dressed and ready to play tomorrow versus the Edmonton Oilers. A very welcome addition indeed.
All was well until an announcement was made after the game against the Vancouver Canucks, that Matt Duchene picked up a knee injury. The injury apparently occurred late in the game in which the Avalanche beat the Vancouver Canucks 3 to 1 on Wednesday.
Coach Patrick Roy stated Duchene will be day-to-day, and with the Avs light schedule next week, he shouldn’t miss much time.
Last night’s win in Calgary was the first game without their number one center, however the victory came at yet another cost.
UPDATE: Nathan MacKinnon (knee) will be re-evaluated tomorrow.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) March 19, 2016
This time Nathan MacKinnon took a knock to his knee late in the game right after a face-off. MacKinnon did skate a few shifts afterwards, but we are still waiting on word of the severity, as today it was announced the team called up AHL rookie sensation Mikko Rantanen.
Rantanen Has Arrived
So, as we all wait to see how long MacKinnon will be out, Mikko Rantanen has a chance to live his dream. At least in Edmonton.
Remember Rantanen can only play three more games with the Avalanche before his ELC kicks in. He is an enormous talent and seems to have a very bright future ahead with Colorado. Though, let’s hope this call-up is a short one as that will mean MacKinnon’s injury isn’t much to fuss about.
Rantanen has just lit up the AHL with the San Antonio Rampage as a rookie.
ICYMI: With an assist in tonight’s game, Rantanen is the new franchise rookie points record holder with 51 points! pic.twitter.com/GooDmosiu4
— San Antonio Rampage (@sarampage) March 17, 2016
This is an amazing accomplishment for the young man from Finland. Not only did he break San Antonio’s rookie record, he did it while playing in about 20 games less than everyone else because of the IIHF tournament and minor injury.
Rantanen has totaled 52 points in 44 games played, everyone should be extremely excited to see him play tomorrow with the Avalanche, for however long the call-up may last.
The Avalanche can’t get down, it can always be worse, and with Landeskog back and Duchene coming in soon, they can continue to focus on the task at hand, making the post-season. We will have to wait for an update on MacKinnon, but something tells me it’s not too serious.
Sebastian Noble is currently in his third year with The Hockey Writers covering the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers. Liverpool, England, and of course Colorado Avalanche & Florida Panthers supporter. You can follow him on Twitter @SebastianHNoble